The 2015 British General Elections will be held next month. Without carrying out (or having read) any opinion polls I can confidently predict that (a) it will be (once again) a hung parliament and (b) either the Tories or the Labour would form a coalition government.
With whom would they form a coalition government? The discredited Liberal democrats, I am sorry to say, might once again be the bedfellows with either the Tories or Labour, although in order to form an alliance with the Labour they would have to get rid of the discredited Nick Clegg—who, during the recently broadcast televised debate of the party leaders, showed that he is utterly without any introspection or shame—and pick up someone who is left of the centre. Since the Liberal democrats have never, in my living memory, been able to make up their minds as to whether they want to be more like the Tories or the Labour, they have always had a chancers in their party, who, while sharing the theme of being totally useless binding them together, hold political views that are very different. So it should not be beyond their powers to get rid of the rat Clegg if they get so much as a whiff that there is a chance that they can cling to power closer than a porus plaster, this time round with Labour. Perhaps the good people of Sheffield, the constituency from which Clegg won comfortably last time, would do the job for the Liberal Democrats. According to some opinion polls Clegg is trailing his nearest Labour rival by two points (OK, I’ve read some opinion polls). That does not sound like much, and the Tories have apparently made it a bit easier for Clegg by not campaigning too much in the constituency, although the Tory candidate in Sheffield is going around declaring to whoever prepared to give him an ear (not many, one hopes) that he intends to make Sheffield a Clegg-free zone.
I watched the live debate of the seven party leaders, not because I was interested in what they were going to say about the policies: they were not going to say anything that I didn’t expect them to say (Cameron was going to dis Miliband; Miliband was going to dis Cameron; Clegg was going to be revoltingly smug; Nicola Sturgeon was (also) going to look smug (and, unlike Clegg, with good reasons—her nationalist party is going to decimate Labour in Scotland, thereby vaporising any ambitions Miliband might have to form a majority Labour government); Farage was going to dis all of them; Natalie Bennett—from Green party—was going to say bat-shit mental things the loonies from the Green party are renowned for; and Leanne Wood from the Welsh regional party was going to moan about everything); but because of the same reason I listen to weather reports on the BBC (I am not really interested in the weather—it is the bloody same most of the year): it is a habit.
I was a bit surprised that the Greens and Plaid Cymru were even invited for the debate. It is not as if they are going to win any appreciable number of seats in the elections to make any difference; the Greens, in particular, would be lucky to hold on to the solitary seat—the first ever in their history—they won in the 2010 general elections. Both Natalie Bennett and Leanne Wood did not have anything inspiring to say (although, in their defence, they were not as stupid as the clownish Farage; but then again, it would require a superhuman effort to be as asinine as Farage, or as obnoxious).
Cameron was pretty uninspiring, too. He spoke in his customary manner, attempting to say unpalatable things in a way that was assuring. He gave a good performance of appearing slightly flummoxed when others were criticising the policies of the coalition government he has led for the past five years, as if he could not quite understand why he was being criticised. (Cameron’s message? Stick with the Tories. We know what we are doing. The economy is on the mend; and that is because of some tough (but fair) decisions we took. Don’t trust the Labour. Miliband and Co. represent a clear and present danger to country’s economy and stability. You’ve got to be out of your mind to be voting for these nincompoops who destroyed the country’s economy and are entirely to be blamed for the global financial crisis (unless you were so far gone that you had decided to vote for Farage’s UKIP, which would be even worse, as voting for Farage means bringing Miliband into Number ten by the backdoor; so, yes, under no circumstances vote for Farage; sorry, Miliband; urm . . . both actually . . . Yes that’s right: stick with me and my mate Osbourne.) Amazingly, Cameron had the cheek to say (again and again) that his government had invested in the NHS, a claim which even the super-mendacious Clegg, Cameron’s deputy for the past five years, impossible to support. Time and again Cameron fell back on the time-tested tactic (perfected by BLiar) of not answering difficult questions (OK, accusations) thrown at him by his debating opponents, and repeated the scripted speech, obviously a believer in the dictum that bullshit, when repeated ad nauseum, will baffle brain.
Farage. What can one say about him? It’s just as well that he and his odious party are not going to form a government; you might as well make Toot the Clown Britain’s prime-minister. However, underneath Farage’s (like Boris Johnson’s) jolly, buffoonish exterior—the man is a hectic, non-stop monologuist, and, in a different setting, nay, different reality, it would almost be a privilege to be loused by him—lurk views, which, if they were not so vile (and Farage’s party did not have the support of 16% of population according to various opinion polls), you would dismiss out of hand. All of his utterances had one thing in common: pure, unadulterated antipathy towards foreigners; they are not welcome in Britain. The guy is about as subtle as a dog turd in a cream-bowl.
Natalie Bennett spoke like a (stern) dinner lady calling errant children at dinner time, her facial expressions suggesting that she had drunk something she thought was coffee but was in fact someone’s vomit. Relentlessly grim and dour—supply of human milk short by several litres. Bennett launched (like the other two women in the debate) a scathing attack on the austerity measures, and shouted till she was hoarse that austerity had made things worse (yes, for benefit fraudsters), and that was not the answer; however, (like Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru) she successfully avoided the temptation of suggesting an alternative. (Farage, on the other hand, declared that Cameron had wasted money, and if he, Farage, were the prime-minister, he would sort out the country’s deficit in a jiffy. How? Simple: he would slash the overseas aid budget; he would deprive the HIV-sufferers from treatment if they did not have British passport (even if they worked and paid taxes), and, continuing merrily in this spirit of xenophobia, he would also make NHS unavailable for the EU citizens unless they had health insurances. And one more thing—he would get Britain out of EU by the midnight of his election victory. That ought to save Britain hundreds of millions of pounds we pay every year to the EU, and would also bring to fruition Farage’s long-standing dream of preventing free movement of EU citizens, focusing specifically on the former Eastern Bloc, Soviet-controlled, countries. What about the negative impact on the job and businesses in Britain if we walked out of the EU? Just tosh! Scaremongering by the Labour and Lib Dems. Trust uncle Farage. Nothing of the sort would happen. Look at his ill-fitting pin-striped suit. If that doesn’t inspire confidence in you then there really is nothing more to say. Vote the f**king Labour then. You’ll then deserve everything that came your way. The problem with this f**king country is there are too many people with ethics and scruples.) On the positive side Bennett did not go on about some of her party’s entertaining ideas about what can be done for the climate change
Leanne Wood spoke in a high, shrill, strained and querulous voice that made my back teeth tingle. She started hyperventilating when Farage and Cameron talked about EU referendum and wanted assurance, there and then, that Britain would not walk out of the EU unless all four ‘nations’ agreed to and voted for it. You almost wanted to tell her, “Calm down dear; have a cuppa.”
Clegg’s performance reminded me of a character in Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses. He lacks the necessary moral refinement to fully appreciate the true sense of tragedy, and, for that reason, does not understand the concept of shame. His act of trying to put to people in staggeringly simplistic manner (with a smug smirk draped across his face as a gaudy curtain) that Tories and Labour were extremes in their policies and his despicable party offered the reasonable middle way worked five years ago when nobody really knew much about him and he was—prior to elections—an outsider, for all practical purposes. If there is one thing the British public have cottoned onto during the five years of the coalition rule, it is what a shyster Clegg is. His charade of appearing reasonable was never going to work the second time round; and it did not work. That didn’t stop him from preachifying. (To avert the danger of having a cardiac arrest from indignation and incredulity, as the man spoke with the smoothness of a con-artist, I had to walk out of the room from time to time.) Clegg bleated about giving parity to mental health, on par with physical health. For five years the Lib Dems sat in the same government as Cameron’s as Cameron carried out a demolition job on the NHS, leave alone mental health, and did sod-all; and now he is inviting people to put their faith in him because he is going to treat mental health on par with physical health. Clegg is also going to discover 8 billion pounds that NHS apparently needs in the next three years unless we are prepared to go to India on health tourism (what would Farage think of it?). As they say, you can fool some of the people all of the time, you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. The man, to paraphrase Nabokov, is an elephantine tic, a king-size botfly, a macro-worm.
Finally, Ed Miliband. Poor Ed. Where does one start? The man has the personality of a dishwasher. He also has a natural aptitude for making people bleed tears of boredom (the man can give you an eye-witness account of the crucifixion and still put you to sleep), matched equally by his predilection for pulling (inadvertently one hopes) funny faces when in public. And the voice! Again, it is not his fault—none of this is; this was the hand he was dealt with—but can’t he, like, get his sinuses checked by an ENT specialist? (Perhaps he has booked an appointment, but, thanks to Cameron's destruction of the NHS, the appointment is not until 2017.) As you watched Ed trying to mouth (like Cameron) his scripted answers (but far less convincingly than the Teflon David) it was a bit like watching a lion tamer put his head into the open jaw of a lion. You admired his courage but were also desirous of witnessing a calamity. Unconvincing does not even come close to describing Ed Miliband. He was not as revolting as Farage (very difficult, as we have seen), or as smug as Clegg, or as mendacious as Cameron, or as whiny as the Plaid Cymru woman (but as boring as Natalie Bennett). Trouble was: he was nothing. Based on his performance in the live debate the man would struggle to get a job as a classroom assistant in a failing primary school, let alone Britain’s prime-minister.