Making sense of the Westminster Muppet Show

So Gordon Brown is to go, and in a few months someone will emerge to lead the Labour Party until the next disaster to befall that once august institution. In the meantime, the number one priority, at least as far as public politics is concerned, is for the key players in this game to sort out the government of our Disunited Kingdom.

Spare us the English commentariat’s take on yesterday’s earth-shattering political news. Observer columnist and celebrity decent-leftist Nick Cohen wasn’t too bad last night on BBC News 24, but then he was poring over the first editions of today’s newspapers together with some barely whiny, chubby arse in a suit from the Conservative Home pseudo-blog, and so could talk any old crap while making it sound reasonably intelligent. Generally, though, the analysis of Gordon Brown’s resignation, and the news that the Labour and the Liberal parties are in formal negotiations to form a government, has been piss-poor. And the BBC doesn’t help by plonking in front of the television cameras such ridiculous extremes as hard-right Tory absolutist John Redwood and old-Labour thug John Reid.

If it wasn’t bad enough listening to shite from commentators who make a living from this kind of thing, there is no shortage of amateur punditry in the aftermath of a general election in which no one party was given a democratic mandate. It’s worth remembering here that virtually all of this insightful political analysis is based on little more than conjecture and shallow rationalisations of tribal-ideological prejudice. What is being played out in London this week is a political and personal game involving individuals with many and various personal motivations. Untangling such motivations is well-nigh impossible.

Personally, I despise the Tories so much that I hope the Labour and Liberal parties, together with other centre and left forces represented at Westminster, can put together a government that keeps the Conservatives in opposition throughout the lifetime of the parliament, and can mitigate the negative effects on ordinary working people of current and coming economic austerity. If such a government is to succeed, however, the parties will need to be ambitious, and not just cobble together a wonky coalition that survives a year at most.

It is a high risk strategy for all concerned, but what is the alternative? Spare us the wibblings of the chatterati, but we can also do without bullshit talk of ‘decisive’ action and manifesto pledges; like the rest of us the politicians will have to wing it according to circumstance.

As for the people of Britain, they have as a whole decided nothing by their voting behaviour. That would imply coordinated action on their part, and ascribing collective will to tens of millions of souls is silly beyond belief. But the electorate have as a mass of individuals voted in such a way as to render all but hopeless any attempt at single-party minority government.

Nick Clegg may be a bit of a muppet, but I wish him well, as I do the rump that is Her Britannic Majesty’s Government. Give them a few more days, and they might just come up with something vaguely workable. A little patience on our part would go a long way.