Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tercio de muerte

Nick Clegg, the leader of Britain's Liberal Democrat junior partners in the Coalition of Evil with the Conservative Party, has threatened us all with "muscular liberalism" over the coming year.

I can't avoid the image of a skinny man in a white t-shirt and 501s edging daintily around the sweaty dance-floor at Amsterdam's celebrated "Love Girder" club on "Tower of Power" night. Whatever happens, he's going to get hurt and it'll be available on the Internet.

It's really not good enough. Once you could vote for the Liberal Democrats and thrill a little at the frisson of cost-free rebellion. Now they're in government, hobbling along on their knees with Mr Cameron's crop and ashtray balanced on their heads.

Who's to blame for this? Now, I don't want to sound like one of the lipless witchfinders who populate The Guardian's online comment site, but personally I blame The Guardian.

That newspaper has an impeccably liberal tradition of lecturing voters on their vulgar failings between elections before inching its slack, exfoliated buttocks onto the Fence Post of Indecision come polling day.

But the General Election of May 2010 was different. On 30 April the paper's editorial "enthusiastically" and at great length endorsed the Liberal Democrats under the banner "The Liberal Moment Has Come".

Foreign readers, most Britons and, as they realized with a corretto jolt on 10 May 2010, loyal Liberal Democrat voters, had no idea what this panto-horse party stands for.

The Liberal Democrats are like an episode of the moreish "X-Files" spin-off "The Lone Gunmen", but without the sexy lady. Imagine a windowless rabbit run filled with trolls, gabbling geeks who've never met a barber, and sad-eyed men with peppery beards, jackets made of car rugs and no friends, and you have a vision of the Lib-Dems' annual conference.

It is a grim statement about the Conservatives and Labour that literally millions of otherwise sane Britons prefer to vote for these Airfix models and "Internet researchers" than for the grown-up parties.

It is an even grimmer statement about The Guardian that it chose the 2010 election, the only one seriously flagged up to produce a hung parliament, to back these sagging wifeswappers as the Queen's Champions.

It is the grimmest statement of all that no one noticed the near-Ickean truth about the Liberal Democrats, namely that above the human spam of their membership there rules a caste of reptilian posh people. The Astors, Jo Grimond, Jeremy Thorpe and Nick Clegg - they may have had their shortcomings, but their socks are clean and they've never had to buy a pair themselves.

Furthermore, a glance at the parliamentary constituencies the Lib-Dems represent - shrill suburbs, offal-mulching Celtic counties, Liverpool - would suggest that, manifesto pledges apart, they're not much bothered about people who enjoy ITV or work for a living in places without water-coolers.

It should not require excessive analysis to conclude that, given a choice between the cleft-scratching Labour frontbench and the languid Tories with their toothsome Mrs May, Mr Clegg would opt for people who don't buy their suits off costermongers.

The Tories and their Liberal Democrat appendix are like Stalin, but in a good way. Back in the 1930s Stalin decided that he wanted to make the Soviet Union a powerful force for wrong in the world, and that he would need flinty engineers, massive tanks, and strong-jawed men to fire both.

What he did not need was tens of thousands of wispy-bearded feuilletonistes in peasant smocks, lippy lorgnette-dipping bluestockings, bolshy trade unionists, pitchfork-wielding mobs, cleverclog Israelites, trainee Napoleons and people who had known him at the seminary.

The problem was that much of the Soviet Communist Party and ruling class was made up of precisely these groups. The ferocity of the purge in which they were subsequently purged was such that the word "purge" doesn't really convey it. Imagine pigbreathed men wandering blindfolded through the crowd at a Coldplay concert, swinging chainsaws, flamethrowers and yetis about in a random but deadly fashion, and you're getting close.

Those who survived were a red-eyed phalanx of psychos who snorted vodka, smoked trees, dammed rivers with human heads, played Poland like an accordion and parked their tanks on top of Hitler's house. Not pretty, but more effective at getting rid of Nazis than Futurist poetry, innovative camera techniques and endless speccy speeches.

On the other front of the class war, the Tories and Liberal Democrat leaders now face a similar problem. They ache to turn Britain into a country fit for Baroness Thatcher to die in, but have to overcome two groups - the core Liberal Democrat membership, and the people who voted for them in May 2010 after reading that Guardian editorial.

The methods at the disposal of Mssrs Cameron and Clegg lack Stalin's plebeian vigour and, thanks to Baroness Thatcher's economic policies, industrial machinery, but they found their way:

1. The slow, gleeful tearing up, non-acidic recyclable page by page, of the Liberal Democrat manifesto over the course of a whole year has deprived the most mole-like party activist and low-wattage Guardian reader of any grounds to believe that anything they think or do has any meaning.

2. The appointment to visible but powerless ministerial posts of preachy MPs from the Lib-Dems' ample, dun-clad array. Chris Huhne accepted the post of Secretary of State for the Environment, knowing full well that Tories think the environment is what they drive their Jags over at 120mph on the way home from regular acts of drunken indiscretion.

3. Giving a few competent Liberal Democrats impossible jobs like restraining the flashing blade of Chancellor George Osborne or deputising for men who would think nothing of cuckolding them and their sons-in-law, at the same time if possible.

But the estocada that felled the stumbling Lib-Dem oxen was the Alternative Vote campaign. This dispelled any doubts about their leaders' determination to slip the bonds of surly supporters and touch the sac of power.

1. Electoral-reform martyr Roy Jenkins himself described AV as "vile stuff, sort of thing they sell in boxes in supermarkets", and the Liberal Democrats' sole identifiable policy for 40 years has been to call for Proportional Representation, so this was bound to dismay the besandled masses.

2. The "face" of the campaign was comedian Eddie Izzard, whose previous achievements included promoting the euro, portraying a German, and speaking French in public. In particular, he looks better in a frock than most voters' wives. A poor choice to win over bluff patriots.

3. With Daily Mail and Telegraph readers it's best to say everything twice, so the campaign made sure AV was put to a referendum. Referenda are intrinsically European and suspect, being associated with Napoleon III (not even the proper Napoleon), Hitler, the Common Market and the Swiss.

4. What makes Britain worth living in, apart from Bettany Hughes, is that fabled sense of fair play. There's an altruism that neither state dependency nor Mrs Thatcher could banish, and when it looks at AV it sees benefits for one party alone - the dastardly Liberal Democrats. Pipes are tapped out and wirelesses retuned to the cricket.

5. Finally, the Celtic nations of Britain held elections about the same time under a form of real proportional representation. The referendum might as well have said "We Liberal Democrats think you English are dimmer than a Manxman. Would you like to keep us in power forever?"

A question remains as to why The Guardian decided to boost the Liberal Democrats at the 2010 election, leading as it did to a Conservative government, the comic emasculation of the Liberal Democrats themselves, and an end to hopes for proportional representation.

Readers of this web blog will be familiar with the long struggle of Wales to destroy anything that looks like giving England a break. So, were the Learned Elders of Capel Seion behind it?

As with "Operation Clark County", there is little evidence of Cambrian cupidity in this case. Instead I'm reminded of those cosy Catholic apologists who reach their mid-fifties and suddenly run off with the chambermaid. Glimpsing America surge past into the heroic age of Obama, The Guardian abruptly spat out the snaffle and raced for the finishing line, only to fall flat on its face. Both of them.

What next for the Liberal Democrats? Mr Clegg is a student of German politics, and hopes his frumpish footsoldiers will squelch off stage left to give Labour a hard time. This will allow him to fashion a British version of the Free Democrats - people with expensive cars and even dearer doctorates, undemanding constituents and the occasional foray into the Privy Council.

But we Welsh haven't finished with the Liberal Democrats yet. As I wrote back in October 2008:

"The Liberal Democrats have not been doing badly of late, but that's largely because we've transferred our Silurian attentions to the major parties. Watch out for adopted Welsh Lembit Öpik, though. He's bidding to be President of the party, and owes us one after the way he treated the lovely Siân Lloyd."

The Montgomeryshire Candidate need only relax with a game of Romanian strip poker for the Lib-Dems' true nightmare to begin. Not merely a nightmare, but a Nightmare of Horror.


Francis Sedgemore said...

"We Liberal Democrats think you English are dimmer than a Manxman."

And the thing is, it's true. This is the only rational explanation for the state of the British polity.

After the best part of a millennium, revenge is ours, and it be sweet.

No Good Boyo said...

Right said Frank. The only danger is that the Iranians will recruit Lembot for their Press TV farrago and we'll have to get Ron Davies to join them.

I don't use the word "sober" lightly, but it's a sobering thought that Wales has a fairer electoral system than England, a sounder economy than Ireland and a good chance of blundering effortlessly to independence in the Scotchmen's slipstream. Then we need only rescue our Cornish kinsmen. Do the UN still do mandates?

Gorilla Bananas said...

Didn't Lembit Öpik lose his seat because he dumped his Welsh fiancé for a cheeky chick from the Balkans? I think his political future depends on making Miss Cheeky an honorary Welsh. There must be some sort of event she could hand out leeks at.

Gadjo Dilo said...

As you righly point out, "muscular liberalism" is clearly a sodomists' charter, but the oxymoronic aspect of it bothers me as much. An alternative to "like Stalin, but in a good way" is of course "like Lavrenti Beria, but in a good way, i.e. Stalin".

No Good Boyo said...

You're right about his treatment of la Lloyd, GB, although I suspect the ruddy squires of Montgomeryshire ditched him for his asteroid obsession. They're firmly Flat Earth folk around Llanfair Caereinion, and if you visit those domed hills you'd understand why. It's wistful wishful thinking.

Gadjo is the expert Daciologist around here, but I'm pretty sure Mr Optik has dumped both or either of the Cheekies, and is now slithering around some other biped.

As Viz sagely pointed out, the Cheekies now inhabit the twilit world between novelty singles and Internet porn, so those leeks may come in handy soon.

Stalin was 15 times the man Beria could ever have dreamed of being, Gadjo, if only because he had a butch name. Lavrenti Beria sounds like an Italian clothes designer or some sort of orchid. Josef Stalin is the sound your head makes as it bounces off the wall.

Ian Plenderleith said...

Grade A rant - nice work.

Muscular liberalism sounds as convincing as compassionate conservatism. Or free-spending Yorkshirism.

No Good Boyo said...

Thanks Pop. The only muscle they exercise is their sphincter, which must clench every time their squirmworthy leaders speak.

Rod Warner said...

Have the language poets discovered your blog - re last comment?

No Good Boyo said...

I enjoy a good bit of spam, Rod, like any fan of the Dunkirk spirit. When the Internet has crumbled to dust, all that will remain are these friendly chaps sending one another keyboard tips and stuff to swell their knobs to near-Welsh proportions. Let's just hope there's enough porn left for them to access and process.

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