Monday, May 10, 2010

Scenes from a Westminster with no government

I had dinner in Hampstead last night with Disgruntled Radical and am now writing this from the Lib Dem News office in Cowley Street.

When I got to Westminster this morning I went first to the Pass Office to see about renewing my Commons press pass. It was not the best day to choose, because there were several eager new MPs there.

There was general agreement amongst them that there is currently an unreal atmosphere at Westminster. And one new Tory said: "No one knows what's going on. No one knows anything."
Then I walked across College Green where the journalists and TV cameras are assembled. Iain Dale was being interviewed live as I walked past the BBC News people. I was polite and did not heckle him.

Then to Cowley Street, where I was greeted by outside broadcast vans and a throng of journalists. I took some pictures of them in case I never see such sights again. (I'll add one to this post when I get back to Leicestershire.)

Security at Lib Dem HQ now turns out to be in the hands of a couple of gorillas in suits. One of them had a fit when I tried to take a picture of the journalists from inside the building.

Welcome to the political big time.

Later. As I was leaving Cowley Street, Adrian Slade was coming in. He kindly gave me a CD of some of his recent songs (the David Cameron Song is one of them).

Then crossing College Green again I met Flick Rea. She pointed to a familiar figure being interviewed by some television station of other.

Lembit Opik.

Even Later. The photograph above shows the scene on College Green. The ramshackle structures are temporary studios for the television companies.

The photograph below, taken through a window at Cowley Street and showing some of the loose maul of journalists outside, is the one whose taking so annoyed the goons there. If anyone employed by the party can explain why my taking it was remotely a problem, I would be fascinated to hear from them.


James said...

There was general agreement amongst them that there is currently an unreal atmosphere at Westminster. And one new Tory said: "No one knows what's going on. No one knows anything.

So no change there then ;-)

Rosko said...

We've got two boarding school toffs and their cronies in secret meetings to decide how they're going to reconcile two diametrically opposed set of poltical principles and sell it to the public. We'll call that a real victory for democracy. Oliver Letwin smiling back at us "Don't worry plebs, we'll deal with ruling, you just concentrate on working." - if the federal conference gets conned into this they are signing their own death warrant - all of your centre left voters will leave the party and never return, and there's a hell of a lot more of them than the fiscally conservative liberals.

Rosko said...

by the way, there's a few facebook pages opposing the deal - one of them picked up something like 46,000 members in 2 days - just incase you don't believe that their is anger out there - that's just a sample. All of the young voters that Clegg brought on board will turn their back on the party or just stop voting. You can't fudge the fact that fundamentally, the conservative party are opposed to mass democracy movements and will only except very limited reform.

Brett - Chorley said...

Backing the losers?

You FOOLS. You'll NEVER recover in England from this.

Lavengro in Spain said...

It looks to me, after Brown's speech, that they've been stringing the Tories along in public so as to deal quietly with Labour in private. Brown's announcement looks like part of the timing of that.

I remember February 1974. I was IVC of NLYL. All of the party was opposed. Thorpe had to go through the motions and got an attractive offer (Home Office for him and Scottish Office for Grimond) but in the end he had no choice.

Dave said...

"And one new Tory said: 'No one knows what's going on. No one knows anything.'"
But we DO know what's going on! We may not know who's said what or is about to decide what, but we pretty much know what's going on, rather unusually. Isn't it wonderful?

Anonymous said...

As an English Tory voter, I can honestly say I have rarely felt so angry as I did on hearing about this undemocratic Lab / Lib / SNP / etc. etc. stitch up. I can (with heavy heart) accept Labour government when they have won an election but this is outrageous and could presage the break up of the UK. Thousands of others will feel the same.

Brett - Chorley said...

So, after all that, when all is said and done, let me re-post my post of Friday. If it was so obvious to me, an ordinary voter, why was it not to the LibDem leadership? They have now stupidly undermined their entire argument on coalition Government and ended up looking craven and unprincipled. This will play VERY badly for the Liberals in England in the next election AND in any referendum on voting reform....

Here it is


Anyhow, just wanted to say that "I agree with Vince".

Vince Cable pointed out this morning that the electorate had delivered a "perfect snooker". That's correct. So, let's examine it.

1/ Try to play the red ball? No chance. You'll hit the yellow and be docked points. That's inevitable. Despite the thousands of column inches and millions of TV words, this is all but impossible and at least Nick Clegg seems to know that well.

2/ Don't play the ball at all? In 9 out of 10 cases, this might be possible. However, "what's best for the country" means that today (if you take that course), you'll be mullered in England in the next election for sure. It also entirely negates the cause of coalition Government - a sensational double own-goal. The ball has to be played. There is no choice.

3/ So, you have to play the blue ball. In the perfect snooker, the question then is, what sort of shot can be played? The truth is that if you play anything less than a fully committed strike, you'll miss. Above everything else, you need to hold out for a LONG agreement because a short term agreement will kill you. You need time to make it work and you need to avoid a no-win short-term re-election. Be clear, PR CANNOT be delivered. It doesn't matter who promises it, it can't actually happen. Cameron won't promise it because he knows his back-benches won't deliver. Brown promises it anyhow EVEN THOUGH he knows his back-benches won't deliver. Aditionally, no moral imperative can be claimed because the truth is the PR Party was CREAMED in the actual election (there's no getting away from this). I reckon the top LD brass know this right well. If this is a deal-breaker, you're truly snookered.

Don't forget, there's a huge penalty to pay for not playing the ball.


Unknown said...

Well it's certainly given the media lots to talk about and kept everyone on the edge of their seats. But there are plenty of other interesting things going on in politics that are being missed. For example, I’m surprised that there hasn’t been more discussion about the major transition between generations we are witnessing in the leadership of our country. After years of Baby Boomer Prime Ministers, and a Boomer-dominated Parliament, we now have a new generation in charge: Generation Jones…the previously lost generation between the Boomers and Generation X. We’ll probably have a GenJones PM in Cameron, or ultimately in David Miliband or Jon Crudas and Parliament now as more Jonesers than Boomers. Similar transitions have happened in other Western countries and it provoked a lot of media interest. In fact, it got so much media buzz after Joneser Barack Obama came to power that the associated Press labelled Generation Jones as the #1 trend of 2009.
This commentary about GenJones in The Independent last week has a very interesting take on the meaning of Clegg and Cameron’s identities as GenJonesers:

I also found this site worth looking at to get a quick sense of GenJones in the UK: