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The Coalition partners are at each others throats again. And, as always, there is no need for you to get up from your seat. This time it’s the royal yacht. Cameron and co. believe that the queen should get a new yacht for her diamond Jubilee. Clegg meanwhile, has made headlines by saying that she definitely shouldn’t get a new boat to play with.
We’re becoming used to this kind of coalition playfighting. On all big decisions taken by this government – the decimation of the public sector, cutting in a downturn, remaining intensely relaxed about mass unemployment – Clegg and Cameron stand completely side by side. Aside from the fact that Clegg is a free market Gladstonian, the Lib Dems are utterly in the pockets of their more powerful partners. They know that should the coalition breakdown, they would face electoral wipe-out.
Nonetheless both parties feel the need, from time to time, to reassert their particular political – or more accurately, cultural – identities. As such they try to have a bit of a punch up on issues that are of very marginal importance – like for example the royal yacht.
Last time around it was tax breaks for married couples. Cleggy got to show how very 21st century he was, when he poo-pooed the idea. “We should not take a particular version of the family institution, such as the Fifties model of suit-wearing, bread-winning dad and aproned, home-making mother, and try to preserve it in aspic”, he boldly asserted.
And thus Clegg gets to appeal to the only constituency he has left, namely lightweight metropolitan types – the kind who couldn’t care to much about dreary issues like unemployment, but who know that they hate “Daily Mail Readers”, and who think that Richard Dawkins is a hero.
Time to put this poor man out of his misery.
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