Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Lib Dems Last Chance in the Coalition of the Corrupt

"We both want a Britain where our political system is looked at with admiration, not anger. We have a shared ambition to clean up Westminster..."

These words were the ringing declaration by David Cameron and Nick Clegg in May last year, hailing the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government as a new start in British politics, jaded by the scandals of MPs expenses and the banking crisis. But tonight, they ring truly hollow.

After revelation upon revelation in the last fortnight of the incestuously close relationships between News International, the Metropolitan Police and the highest echelons of the Conservative Party, including - perhaps especially including - David Cameron himself, the idea that this can ever be a Government capable of reforming and cleaning up its own mess is beyond risible. Again and again, Mr Cameron has been compromised, whether in his hiring of Andy Coulson, his friendship with Rebekah Brooks, or his courting of Rupert Murdoch (even having him round for a "thankyou" cup of tea when the ink was barely dry on the Coalition Agreement). His actions in the Commons today were evasive to the point of being pathetic, like a childish schoolboy caught red-handed in the tuck shop, but denying he ate the chocolate smeared all over his chin.

Shapeshifter: like Star Trek's Odo, Cameron ultimately reverts to type..
It would be laughable were it not so deeply, terribly serious. Serious not only from the perspective of the victims of phone hacking, nor from the alleged payments to corrupt policemen, nor even the jobs offered by the Met and Cameron himself to former hacks and their family members. But even more so from the perspective that News International owned the two biggest circulation newspapers in the UK which, along with the prestigious Times titles, switched from supporting Labour to nakedly partisan advocacy for the Conservatives at the last election. And, given the nature of the reporting in The Sun and News of the World, these papers have substantially added to the atmosphere (or atmosfear) of xenophobia, disablism and paranoia that informs swathes of our society, while unquestioningly pursuing a right-wing agenda that entrenches the power of Murdoch and the Establishment.

Tomorrow's Morning you can trust!
Cameron should resign. There is no question of that. He is a disgrace to his office and, as we saw with him having to red-faced hurry home from South Africa earlier this week, he is a shame on our country.

Of course, he won't go. Like many power-hungry men in his position, he will cling by his fingernails to the varnished surface of the Cabinet table until his grip is prised off.

But by who?

Many Tories have long been suspicious of Cameron, but for now there can be little doubt that most will close ranks around them - the entire scandal has tainted their party and their class; so they will not relish removing him if he can ride out the storm.

Yet of course, this Government is not a Conservative one alone. Cameron holds office thanks to the support of 57 Liberal Democrat MPs and their leader, Nick Clegg. To date, they have been untainted by the scandal - they were not wined and dined by Murdoch and his lackeys - and Clegg claims to have warned Cameron about appointing Coulson as his Press Secretary, although evidently his words fell on deaf ears and he meekly went along with the appointment, the need to clean up politics quietly forgotten.

So, the question now has to be this - how long will the Liberal Democrats continue to sustain this man in office? How long will they permit him to be evasive about his appointment of Coulson? How long will they ignore his meetings with Murdoch's men - 26 in just over a year - at a time when News International were seeking Government approval to buy BSkyB outright? Do they seriously think the public will buy the idea that Cameron's links with NI were unknown to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who was to take the decision?

Before the task fell to Hunt, the duty of ruling on the takeover bid was in the domain of Business Secretary Vince Cable. The Lib Dem big wig was infamously stung by two young female reporters, the "middle aged" Minister effusively showing off by declaring himself to be "at war with Murdoch", thereby disqualifying himself from being allowed to take the decision. In spite of claiming he could nuke the Government because he was so important and powerful, he only just kept his job.

But if Cable's injudicious remarks compromised him, how much more compromised is the Government by the insidious, obsequious relations between the Prime Minister and these people?

So, for Mr Cable and his boss Mr Clegg, already reeling from the hostile reaction to their support for a range of neoliberal policies, the question now surely has to be is it not time to do the decent thing and pull the plug on their Coalition? When you have a Prime Minister as weakened as this one now is, surely it is time to ask the People who they want to govern? And don't they realise that, if they are indeed at war with Murdoch, they are also at war with their Coalition partner, who, more clearly than ever, is nothing but the parroting placeman of the moneymen who are trying to buy up our country and put paid to our democracy?

Time for Vince to push the button...

No comments:

Post a Comment