Friday, 22 September 2017

Yellow Belly Laughs

When Jess Phillips was on Any Questions?, then Matt Zarb-Cousin also had to be on it, in order to represent the Labour Party. When she was on last night's Question Time, then Paul Mason had to fulfil the same role.

But the real story of last night's edition was the agreement that, in the event of a hung Parliament, Vince Cable would become Prime Minister. "He would insist on it," said everyone else. "Yes, I would," he as good as confirmed.

The mistake was to imagine that that would be as part of some "Progressive Alliance". The Conservative Party has won an overall majority at only one of the last six General Elections. Yet its only ideology remains as it has always been, that it is the natural party of government.

It will bear any burden and pay any price in order to fulfil that Manifest Destiny. Knowing that, Lloyd George insisted on being Prime Minister, Nick Clegg could have insisted on being Prime Minister, and Vince Cable would insist on being Prime Minister.

As for the new "centrist" party for which no one in the real world is crying out, just as no one in the real world is crying out for a party to the right of the Conservatives, well, consider the life story of Vince Cable.

The last attempt was set up, again with little regard to so much as the existence of the Liberals, by three former Cabinet Ministers of whom the Leader was the most influential post-War British politician never to have become Prime Minister.

An erstwhile Labour Councillor, and Special Adviser to John Smith as Trade Secretary, Cable was in it. But he is now the Leader of a party that looks, walks and quacks more than a little like the Liberal Party.

The Liberals had the last laugh then, and they would have the last laugh again.

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