9 May 2010

Political naïveté

Maybe it´s just the blogs I follow, but a carping anti-Cameronism appears to be widespread among those who should be celebrating the annihilation of the NuLabour project. It should be possible to combine an outsider's distaste for professional, principle-lite politicians like Blair and Cameron with recognition, however grudging, that they are good at what they do.

What they do is win power, to be able to dispossess their opponents and dispense favour to their supporters. The most dependable supporters, in turn, will be those who see politics as a step up in social status, band-wagon jumpers who thirst to seem important, to wallow in other people's money, and to be fellated - literally in some cases, metaphorically in all - by the political groupies.

To such people, proportional representation (PR) is enormously attractive. Under PR, Cameron would not now be lamenting that so many of his 'A-listers' failed to win seats. The hung parliament does, however, give ample scope for the sort of high level stitch-up that is a characteristic of the PR system.

Blair was able to reshape the Labour party in his own image because he offered it electability. Cameron has done the same, which I am quite sure was what he had in mind when he proclaimed himself 'the heir of Blair' in contrast to the graceless class warrior Brown.

Right now, with the prospect of office mouth-wateringly close, the  only dissent Cameron will face within his party will be from those who know they have no hope of favour. Ditto, in spades, Clegg and the Lib Dems, none of whom has ever had any realistic prospect of office before now.

Amusingly, both Blair and Cameron have posed as 'modernisers', whereas what has emerged is a reversion to pragmatic factionalism held together by patronage, the default setting of politics through the ages.

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