So, Great Britain's constitutional reforms lose the Olympic Gold for "Not Crashing and Burning", narrowly surprisingly clearly pipped by the American Mars Lander "Curiosity".
Curiosity, equipped with LASERS to kill any SPIDER-CAT-MONSTERS-FROM-MARS it encounters, succeeded in making the tricky descent through the Martian atmosphere.
Lords Reform, equipped with KNIVES for stabbing Captain Clegg in the back... didn't. Instead it descended into chaos and recrimination.
Wooden Spoon goes to Ms Louise Mendacious, for "spending more time with her family" (surely the Murdochs don't have something on her after all!). Did she get wind of a non-promotion in Mr Balloon's reshuffle?
NO ONE comes out looking good.
Mr Balloon has lost control of his Party. Mr Milipede would rather score tactical points than stand for anything. And we look like we've thrown our toys out of the pram.
There are two fundamental failures here:
First, the failure to deliver on ANY constitutional reform beyond fixed term parliaments. We are the party of change, the Conservatives the party of the status quo – the clue is in the name, really – and no change is a WIN for them. Not good.
This should leave us seriously questioning our place in the Coalition. We may well end up deciding that we can still do more good IN government than out, but we NEED to have that debate.
Second, there is the failure to COMMUNICATE just how important it is to lift the dead hand of the establishment, and to give real power to people to make a difference. Our opponents in Tory and Labour Parties have been able to play the “why now” card and cash in on public apathy because we have failed to make the link between the establishment and the economic disaster clear. Power in the hands of the few is what allowed the bankers to gamble away our money and allowed Gordon Brown to double-mortgage the farm without anyone to stop or even question him.
We should have been saying "fix government or the crash will happen again". We need to spell out that the real price the Tories have exacted is another round of boom and bust.
I tried to express this to a senior MP last night, and I'm sorry to say that they just weren't buying it. "Doesn't make the direct connection to people's lives" and "we look like constitutional obsessives" were the grumbling excuses.
WELL THAT JUST WON'T DO.
It is the JOB of our MPS to communicate WHY our policies DO have a direct relevance to people's lives. WE are NOT in the business of asking what people want like some kind of Parliamentary SANTA CLAUS; we are in the business of PROPOSING SOLUTIONS and EXPLAINING why they are needed and will work.
START with this justifiably FAMOUS post by Mr Mark Reckons – showing that there is a LINK between SAFE SEATS and EXPENSES SCANDALS.
And STOP with being EMBARRASSED to be a LIBERAL!
It is in the INTEREST of the ESTABLISHMENT that we be "embarrassed" to be "constitutional obsessives" – and for FAR TOO LONG we have allowed GREEDY PIGGIES, squealingly-eager for the rewards of PATRONAGE, to dictate the LANGUAGE of the debate – we really need to TAKE IT BACK:
Why do we bang on about changing the constitution?
Because our government IS A JOKE, a BAD JOKE.
Ask ANYONE – ANYONE AT ALL! – do they think that this country has a good system that serves its people well, and they will TELL YOU it is a JOKE!
If an interviewer sneers at reforms, turn it back on them – ask THEM why THEY are defending the system? Do THEY say we have the finest government that delivers the goods? Tell them they would be LAUGHED at for suggesting such a thing and THEN ask them why THEY are shilling for the establishment.
"The economy is more important" people will cry – tell them: "How can Parliament fix the economy until Parliament itself is mended?"
The debacle has exposed that the Conservatory Party ITSELF is a COALITION, and one that Mr Balloon cannot hold together. Ninety-one GREEDY PIGGIES – too LAZY to stand up for their principles, they'd rather coast into the Commons on Mr Balloon's Etonian coat tails than tell their constituents the TRUTH about their REAL manifesto; too eager to get their SNOUTS in the TROUGH of ERMINE to support their own Leader, putting SELFISHNESS ahead of Conservatory VIRTUES like LOYALTY and HONOUR.
The behaviour of Mr Milipede, Leader of the Opportunists, is as much a SYMPTOM of this as it is a CAUSE. He claims to support reform... but he won't back it. In fact, he COLLUDES with the greedy piggies to score some kind of political "point" as though embarrassing the government in today's papers – tomorrows chip wrappings – is in the long term good of the country.
Mr Milipede MAY or MAY NOT be a progressive, but he is TRAPPED in the body of an ESTABLISHMENT MAN doing the ESTABLISHMENT'S dirty work.
He has ACTIVELY HARMED the good of the majority and supported the corrupt establishment for chip wrappings.
That is CONTEMPTIBLE. Not to mention DEEPLY STUPID.
Cap'n Clegg may have been defeated, may have tried and failed, but Mr Milipede WENT OVER TO THE DARK SIDE!
To paraphrase the Grauniad: "For the sake of the NATION, Ed Milipede Must Go! "
(I really DO NOT recommend reading the CiF comments – shrill, self-satisfied and smugly revelling in the fact the Coalition hasn't yet solved the economic chaos wrought under their new best friends in Hard Labour, the sort of people who call the Lib Dems "spineless" and then vote to support an electoral system that means ONLY conservatives can ever win power just to SPITE the progressives for being weak when that very system makes them weak... that's when they aren't calling for the overthrow of democracy itself... it's not a place to seek wisdom – but if you want a FRANKLY UNEDIFYING look into the minds of so-called Lefties who are SO STUPID that they support the Establishment merely because it lets them be snide about Cap'n Clegg, then you know where to look. Clue: it's above the line.)
GENUINE progressives – and, who knows, there may even be some inside Hard Labour, there may EVEN be some at the Grauniad – must, must, MUST break with the past, the old push-me-pull-you game of Labservative BUGGINS' TURN.
Because when our system rewards OPPORTUNISM, how can people be even remotely SURPRISED when BANKERS behave OPPORTUNISTICALLY to make their bonuses?
And when our system rewards SHORT-TERMISM, why is it not OBVIOUS that companies will SUFFER from SHORT-TERMISM because no one want to invest for strong, stable growth, only a quick profit, a fast buck?
And when our system rewards WEASEL-WORDS (or what I would call DOWNRIGHT LIES by those Conservatories who stood on a manifesto promising their constituents they were in favour of reform when in fact they were in favour of making sure their comfortable retirement club was kept exactly as it is), when our system REWARDS these things, then you cannot express SHOCK that corporate lawyers use weasel words to avoid their obligations; that litigation replaces taking real ACTION; that compensation culture flourishes; and all the "jobsworths" and "health and safety gone mad" consequences of people being rewarded for covering their FLUFFY ARSES rather than offering a helping fluffy-foot!
The Government and Opposition benches in the House of Commons are separated by TWO SWORD LENGTHS PLUS A FOOT.
When you build your government on a PLAYGROUND BRAWL not a HANDSHAKE then you really can't expect it to be anything other than CHILDISH.
The problem with Britain at the moment, and it's what is underlying the failure of recovery, is a LOSS OF TRUST. Credit, as in "credo", "I believe", is LITERALLY and METAPHORICALLY in SHORT SUPPLY. George Osborne's political, tactical, omnishambles Budget; two years of Hard Labour shrieking TRAITOR whenever they draw breath; Liberal Democrat compromises – yes, that damn Tuition Fee pledge again – ALL driven by our stupid constitutional arrangements and ALL contributing to the breakdown of TRUST.
Great Britain is NOT Broken. But it IS POISONED. And we won't get better until we address the SOURCE of the poison.