view from the side: David Cameron – Not So Much Moving The Goalposts As Smashing Them
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As the election approaches, and it becomes apparent that we’re looking at a hung parliament, the media and the Tory spinners are hustling up something that Owen Jones has described fairly accurately as ‘a very British coup’. The issue lies in the fact that whilst the Tories might – only might, mind – win more seats than Labour, they still won’t win enough to command the majority in the house required to form a new government. Even if they chum up with the nutters of UKIP (who, despite the lunatic, echo chamber predictions of Kippers, are on course to get round 3 seats), and they pull Northern Ireland’s homophobic DUP onboard, and Nick Clegg continues to prove keen on taking a good seeing to for 5 more years, they still look likely to have less seats than a Labour, SNP, Green, Plaid Cymru coalition. In which case, the Tories lose.
As a result this fascinating, sinister thing has happened. The UK establishment’s mask of “fair play”, and being a “good sport”, and “may the best man win”, and all that bollocks that’s been spouted through the centuries as our rotten aristocracy has robbed and slaughtered their way to wealth, has slipped to the side. The right wing newspapers, acting as an explicit mouthpiece for the Conservative government (or, more accurately, for the donors to the Conservative government) have been cooking up a whole load of porkies, implying that any coalition led by a Labour government who hadn’t won more seats than the Tories is ‘illegitimate.’ Yep. They're going to try and cheat.
The choice of term is telling – ‘illegitimate’ is a word heavy with suggestion of hereditary, of who does get the family jewels and who doesn’t. It’s the kind of thing you’d expect a party that represents embedded wealth and social inequality to gravitate towards. Nick Clegg, always a useful idiot, has actively, and completely inaccurately, used the word to describe the SNP’s involvement in UK government. David Cameron was on Radio 4 this morning, again seeding the idea that any coalition that wasn’t his coalition was in some way against the rules -despite precedent (Anthony Eden in ’55, fact fans) – and for no reason, other than he says so. And in his mind he’s absolutely right. There’s a reason for this. Cameron comes from a long aristocratic line. His family made a fortune in compensation from the public purse when they finally had to give up their slaves- just one incident in many to show that his relatives have long understood the way England works; whatever you think the rules are, whatever you may have agreed the rules are, they are always, always beaten by one unspoken master rule: the toffs win. They're less about moving the goalposts, more smashing the goalposts, stamping on the ball, and concreting over the pitch. Then building some luxury flats on top.
Cameron will have learnt that the ultimate rule is ‘we win’ thoroughly in Eton, and had it reiterated in his years demolishing restaurants with the Bullingdon Club. He will have picked it up in hushed conversations and nods and winks and slaps on the back and trips round the globe funded by apartheid apologists. He will have noted how Sir Mark Thatcher tried to steal a whole fucking country and only got a fine, how Douglas Hogg scabbed expenses to clean his moat with zero real consequence, how ranks have closed to protect some truly nasty nonces in the House of Lords. He will have had it fully confirmed in 2010 when he became PM without any majority of people really, actually wanting him to be.
In a recent Sunday Times conversation between Cameron and his cousin Harry Mount, Mount related an incredible anecdote, telling how at a family wedding following Dave’s 2010 power snatch, none of the Cameron clan talked about the fact that one of them had just become PM. “It was terribly British” wibbled Mount. For me, this just speaks volumes of the sheer entitlement of these people, so, yes I suppose it was terribly British. Imagine being so assured that your class owned the keys to parliament, so certain of outcome, that the subject wasn’t even worthy of comment at a family occasion.
The birth of a new royal only serves to highlight England’s true structure. This baby has been born winning everything, for literally no reason other than the royals have convinced a nation that the country will collapse if we don’t keep paying them their immense scrounger benefits. Never mind that every other country in the world who booted out their monarch parasites is doing just fine. Wouldn’t work here you see. We have a deeply embedded serf mentality, so it's little surprise that a cossetted shit like Cameron will assume he should win an election by birthright rather than democratic process.
This sleight of hand, this ability to reframe the rules to whatever suits is largely enabled by our crazy, skewed media. As I’ve said before, this mainstream media is losing its grip by the second- and those old narratives of power and control are fading. Whether Cameron pulls off a second shameless none-victory will be dictated in no small part by who owns the conversation after the election. But with the internet offering a far more complex range of political thought than the newspapers basic establishment arse kissing, there is some chance that the right wing may find itself out-manoeuvred, and David might end up doing that red sweaty faced thing that happens when he gets told no. Perhaps for once the rules can be as they are presented. I doubt it, but you never know.
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