The leaders’ debates: a very British kind of revolution

“They were downloading not debating” was Simon Hoggart’s snap verdict tonight. The snap polls average out at about 30% all round. Clegg holding, not running away with it. Cameron showing recovery.  Brown halts slide but still coming last. My mind wandered to a lateral thought of our time, prompted by the unexpected question: Will you still welcome the Pope to Britain?

Even in these cynical times how many have dreamt that so many elites would have made such a tremendous cock-up as our politicians over  expenses, bankers over bonuses and bishops over basic morality – simultaneously? Managementspeak diagnoses like “lack of accountability ” and ” transparency” just don’t cut it.

Not so long ago, in Lenin’s Russia or Franco’s Spain the lynch mobs and the firing squads were out. Nowadays there’s hardly a Marxist peep. And more: no one’s even noticed the absence of ideology. People’s rage and frustration is channelled through mild questions before an obediently silent audience in the Leaders’ Debates. The topmost elite is still in charge, though they’re about to shuffle the pack..

Society hasn’t collapsed. The UK unlike Ireland hasn’t suffered welfare cuts and even those aren’t 1931-type cuts right up to the breadline. Our equivalent of revolution is guarded talk of coalition, something that has never before been the outcome of a British election. I suppose that’s progress of a kind.

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  • fitzjameshorse1745

    There will be welfare cuts when/if a National Coalition is in place.
    To some extent the “Establishment” NEEDS a Coalition. It needs a period without an Opposition.
    Scary thought.

  • Cynic2

    “something that has never before been the outcome of a British election”

    Oh dear or dear Brian. I see you and keeping up your usual journalistic standards

    ‘never before’ except (just in the last century)

    * World War I

    * the National Government of 1931-35 under MacDonald following the financial crisis

    * the National Government of 1935-40 under Chamberlain

    * World War 2 under Churchill

    If you add that all up you will find that for 17% of last century the UK was governed by coalition. Still with all that left wing BBC training never let the facts get in the way of spin

  • Brian Walker

    Wrong by your own evidence cynic. The two coalitions of WW1 and the WW2 coalition did not emerge as a result of elections. Neither did the coalition of 1931 which was confirmed in the 1935 election.

  • As one blogger to another

    Could it be that we are turning Italian, and just accepting that minor corruption is the norm, bureaucracy has to be the way it is, organised crime must be tolerated, politicians put self before country and party, the system is there to be milked and that only fools put in less than they take out.

    More to the point, in my absence picking up a traveller from a foreign land, I missed the two debates on TV. On radio 4, in the half hour I heard, Brown clearly won but you pundits say it was a more even affair, I will catch up over the weekend. But now I am going to watch a re-run of the UTV special in which I gather in the view of Ken Reid that Gerry Adams had the upper hand. How is this possible? Was he asking his own questions?



  • Cynic2


    Sorry but you are totally wrong. I cant do any better than quote Wikipedia – which states that, immediately after agreeing to form the 1931 National Government

    ” It was eventually agreed that the government as a whole would seek a “Doctor’s Mandate” to take a free hand and that each party would issue its own manifesto. Supporters of MacDonald formed National Labour and the parties agreed to allow their local organisations to agree whether or not to oppose each other. The government was opposed by the Labour Party, Lloyd George and his Liberals and the New Party of Sir Oswald Mosley, while within the parties there was particular conflict between the Conservatives and Liberals.

    The result of the 1931 general election was the greatest landslide ever, with the National Government winning a total of 556 seats and a Parliamentary majority of 500.”

    This was the election where the British definitively rejected fascism.

    Baldwin then led the Government into another election in 1935 with international issues dominating the agenda

  • Chips