The Cat-Flap Coalition

Cat-flap coalition

Forged in the white heat of opportunism, the cat-flap coalition has ended the year with more resilience than we ever expected. Back in the summer, we talked about how long it would last. We underestimated the lure. We thought that Cameron had put out a saucer of milk, but it turned out to be goose liver pâté. And we seem to have lost our cat.
Hollywood screenwriters say that the first act ends when the protagonist passes the point-of-no-return. In this film, that happened when Dave held back the pâté as the reward for Nick committing to £9,000 tuition fees. Nick licked his lips and agreed. Now he is stuck in this movie, and, for him, there is no return.
Well before the election, Cameron told us that he planned to screw the students. But we did not listen. Each time that he accused the Labour party of creating a generation of debt, it seemed like just a rhetorical attack on Labour. Now we know that he meant that the young would pay for the deficit. It was not rhetoric. It was policy.
When we see the Tories bat away the students’ anger, towards the sandal wearers, we do not just see the stupidity of Clegg, but also the trickiness of Cameron. This is what we are up against. Tricky Dave is not to be underestimated.
It is often said that Cameron is hated by his own party. However, they cannot help but admire him. After all, there is nothing a Tory admires more than a bastard. And he has certainly proved his mettle as that. He represents the Darwinian philosophy that they wish to impose on us all: the rights of the individual over the community, the strong destroying the weak, the winner taking all.
The word “coalition” makes this bastardised amalgamation of right-wing ideology and cat-flap Liberals sound nice. Reasonable even. Well done Greg Beales, Ed Miliband’s chief wonk, who told the shadow cabinet to stop using the word. It makes them too cuddly, he reckons.
But his alternative is to call them the “Conservative-led government”. But this does not capture the true character of this bread-roll thrower and his sandal-wearing apprentice, this “cat-flap coalition”.
It is surprising how hard a time the Tories get when they go on Question Time and blame the deficit on the previous government. Whether you like it or not, it was us who created the deficit. But when the Tories point this out, they get booed. Because people just do not like them. They are not sure why. But they do not.
With us it is different. They did not vote us out because they did not like us. They generally do like us. They voted us out because they saw that we were tired. In last year’s election, plenty of people said they would like Labour back after the Tories had sorted out the deficit. They wanted the Tories to come in, do the job, and then leave.
This is the problem of “nice-guy Dave”. Once people got to know him, they saw him for what he is. If he had presented himself as a good old fashioned “I just want to cut your taxes” Tory, then people would have had a grudging respect for him. As it is, he has always tried to be something that he is not: “nice-guy Dave”.
Let us bring down his paper thin, but deeply cherished, image. Let us call him “tricky Dave” every time we can. Let us help people to better understand what exactly it is that they do not like about him. Let us call him “tricky Dave”, again and again, until it sticks.
And let us call his alliance with “honest” Nick Clegg by its proper name too: the cat-flap coalition.
Dan McCurry blogs here

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