Afetr George Osborne defended his current economic policies on the radio this morning, it was pointed out that he kept using the word “credibility” when explaining his course of action. What this transaltes as is: “I am trying to establish credibility with the markets that we we are taking the economic problems we face seriously”. What this in turn means is- “I am trying to appease and reassure the very people who got us into this mess, and not frighten them with the prospect that they might never again be able to cock up the entire economy.”
The irritable smirkster also talked of his “mandate” to solve the country’s problems. This is a strange choice of words for a government which finds itself in power only thanks to a bit of flagrant bed-hopping with a political party that is the ideological opposite of themselves. Whatever Clegg might profess about the similarities of the two parties, or however much Call-Me-Dave might extol their willingness to work together, the core supporters of the two parties are, of course, fundamentally different. The Liberal Democrats actually propsed at a party conference some years back to de-criminalise certain drugs. You would be more likely to see Ken Clarke in a Mankini on the sea-front at Brighton than see a Tory politician propose this at Conference. There was no mandate, only an undignified scramble to get into power, following the sorry realisisation that the Conservatives had somhow during the election managed to miss the biggest open goal since Diana Ross skied one over the bar during the opening ceremony of the 1994 World Cup.
There was much talk by the coalition after the election that the country had actually got the “government they voted for”, that somehow people thought when casting their vote that what they were actually doing was skilfully creating a period of political uncertainty which would result in a hung parliament, which in turn would create the dream unification we’d all talked about so much before the election- the utopian, rainbow alliance of Conservatives and Liberals, hangers and floggers joyfully embracing drug-decriminalisers and Guardian readers. This conveniently forgets that people voted Lib-Dem in the election because they seemed to represent change from the the two-party system and were seemingly well-placed to do better than they ever previously had; they also didn’t turn out in large numbers to vote Conservative because they’d seen what happened last time anybody did. The irony is, the notion that the electorate somehow “voted-in ” the subsequent coalition is exactly the kind of result we would have had under the AV system which Call-Me-David had so whole-heartedly attacked. The AV system would enable exactly the kind of extended choice which the coalition was implying the electorate had made in delivering a hung parliament in 2010 and which it was so keen to acknowledge.