A much better title for Andrew Rawnsley`s article would have been "How ridiculous can British politics get?" (Why all three leaders reach the end of the year sighing with relief,22/12/13)The party leaders may, indeed, be relieved, but it`s shame they should really be feeling.
We have a duplicitous coalition government, with each of its member parties vying with the other for votes, whilst the opposition does nothing, hoping a general policy of silence, allied to one of wait and see, will enable it to scrape through to electoral success. The most recent example of duplicity comes from Vince Cable, who now claims to be concerned for the "social fabric" because of the scale of the public spending cuts, which he and his fellow power-desperate Lib Dems voted through parliament!
He is merely following the example set by his leader; Clegg`s major u-turn on university fees at the start of the government`s tenure is now being matched by his sudden dislike for Gove`s education reforms which sadly was not apparent when it came to voting in the Commons.How anyone with an iota of liberal political principle can ever think of voting Lib Dem again, after over four years of the most disgraceful abandonment of party principles witnessed in modern times, is beyond me.
The Tories, whose leaders` deceit appears to know no bounds, seem content now to compete with Ukip for the anti-immigration vote. This doesn`t prevent them from claiming to be the party of the family, despite the immigration law which they sneaked through parliament just before the summer recess,and which is about to,on their own admission, break up 17,800 families. Hardly surprising from the party which is so committed to advancing social mobility, it deemed it necessary to end the Education Maintenance Allowance as soon as it possibly could!
Meanwhile, the Labour party does as little as possible, largely, it seems, because it can`t decide on the best approach. The new leader, whose first pledge was to ensure his party was different from the others, refrains from adopting policies which would attain that goal; the one exception to this rule, the freeze on energy prices, not only proved so popular with the voters, it seems to have emptied the party`s policy box. Rather than making more pledges which would win ex-Lib Dem votes and those of the increasingly alienated working class, Labour remains quiet. No progressive tax policies which would attack the rich and go down a bomb, as Margaret Hodge`s aggression in the Public Accounts Committee has shown; no original ideas on tax avoidance, and not even pledges to reduce even some of the deplorable coalition cuts; nothing, in fact, which will win them new votes and retain old ones.
Voters will spend the next sixteen months listening to the parties blaming each other, and watching them behave like out-of-control bottom set year tens at PMQs. Is it any wonder that pantomime buffoons like Johnson and Farage win popularity?