Will the Coalition ever find respite from the deluge of bad news?
The sun has finally started to shine in Britain but the coalition government cannot seem to shake off the black clouds that are still circling above, indeed they have been getting a solid and unrelenting drenching for weeks. Leaky metaphors aside, the polls they are a changin’ for David Cameron and co as figures published recently in a YouGov/Sunday Times survey have Cameron’s overall approval rating at -31 having previously been floundering at -23. I don’t fully understand these figures but minus 31 strikes me as being bad…and cold? Much like George Osborne’s heart.
The deluge of calamity the government has faced has been almost relentless. Revelations at the Leveson enquiry that Jeremy Hunt has essentially been acting as Rupert Murdoch’s evil BSkyB pipe-cleaner coming hot on the heels of Pasty n’ Petrol gate and a ‘cash for access’ scoop suggesting you can go round Number 10 for a ‘policy influencing’ tea if you have £250,000 burning a hole in your back pocket. All this set to a backdrop of a budget which gave tax breaks to the wealthy, reduced welfare and child benefit whilst also ruthlessly targeting pensioners for light relief like a ‘horned up’ Wayne Rooney.
This culminated in Cameron and Osborne being besmirched as “two posh boys who don’t know the price of milk” by a member of their own party, Nadine Dorries. Dorries then appeared on ‘Have I Got News For You’ and poked further fun at the big hitters in the Conservative party as if she is somehow detached from the measures that her party are putting in place,
“Ho Ho Ho, we just shut another library, Ha Ha Ha look at us grinding the NHS into the dirt, what ARE we like, LMAO !!!”
Good one Nadine. I preferred you when you were in Girls Aloud.
The Leveson Inquiry is the major albatross around Cameron’s neck, especially as the weeks go by and it keeps squawking and defecating down his back. Events have taken quite a dramatic turn recently with Rebekah Brooks’ appearance resulting in her and a few close cronies being charged with conspiring to pervert the course of justice, thus meaning that they will subsequently face a trial in front of jury at Westminster Magistrates Court. How the mighty have fallen, there is a somewhat grim irony that Brooks is now being subjected to the sort of intrusion and ridicule that she sanctified at News International.
The Queen of Impropriety, Brooks’ striking looks and resemblance to King Charles the 1st has been mentioned, I wouldn’t care to comment but I hear that certain betting shops are taking odds on whether Brooks will wear two shirts to the trial…(That joke requires a working knowledge of English Civil War period history which I assume we all have. Yes? Good) Brooks’ appearance has drawn many unfavourable comments which on the grand scheme of things is a bit superficial and probably detracts attention from the really awful things that she has done. No matter what she looks like the truly bad bit of her is unquestionably on the inside, her skewed moral compass and willingness to exploit almost anything and anyone for a scoop to turn a tidy profit.
Saying this, it was rather titter-some when her husband Charlie, a man often simply described as ‘race horse owner and close friend of David Cameron’ which does not paint the greatest impression of the chap, made an impassioned statement describing the whole situation as nothing more than a ‘witch-hunt’ whilst all the while his wife looked on beside him looking every inch the harangued sorceress. As I say, there is a danger that Brooks is increasingly seen as a cartoon figure but she even seemed to be getting in on the act herself stating that the case held against her was “an expensive sideshow and waste of public money”. Yes, she said the word ‘sideshow’ and she is a dead ringer for Sideshow Bob from ‘The Simpsons’. She was not particularly yellow-bellied, though, when hacking phones, paying the police for information or ‘naming and shaming’ suspected sex offenders in the national press.
Brooks, her husband and a few select others in their inner sanctum are accused of destroying seven files worth of information between the 6th and 9th of July 2011. Although the files doubtless contained some pretty incriminating information that may never see the light of day I am at least comforted by the thought of these highly feared and powerful people scrabbling round like rats on a sinking ship. It made me think of when Alan Partridge is expecting a visit from the Inland Revenue and in a panic he puts his receipts in a shoebox which he reveals to have thrown off a ferry “That was a low point”. Alan was concerned about a receipt for a dressing gown that Bill Oddie had brought him as a Christmas present; I doubt the information in Brooks and co’s boxes was as trivial. Or as warm.
The Leveson Inquiry is rumbling on and there can be no doubt that it is damaging to the government, this week alone Theresa May, Ken Clarke, Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove have had the heat turned up on them by ‘grand inquisitor’ Robert Jay QC. This was particularly unfortunate for Gove, who already resembles a melting ventriloquist’s dummy.
Having received a bit of a kicking in the recent local elections and fresh scandal or embarrassment seeming to beset them each day (at time of writing Conservative party chairman Baroness Warsi is accused of diddling her expenses and the proposed tax on caravans and pasties is being re-jigged in an embarrassing budget U-turn) It seems that it doesn’t rain but it pours on the coalition Government. All the while the Lib Dems are used as a loathsome umbrella by the conservatives, flapping in the breeze but currently quite effective in soaking up the great big sploshes of electoral repulsion and scorn. Surely it is time for Clegg and co to ‘do a Winslet’* and cast the Tories into the murky abyss of their own making.
* Metaphorically it is a logical progression, Clegg has already done the bit where he lies seductively on a chaise lounge, topless, imploring Dave to ‘draw him like one of his French girls’, the Iceberg has struck, now its time to let go.
James Wallace is a graduate from the University of Leeds. Currently in possession of a quite devilish tennis serve. (1st serve only, the 2nd is timid and needs work) He enjoys writing but sees his future eventually lying in racquet sports.