Friday, May 14, 2010

"Things can only get better" all over again

With the media en-masse comparing the new government to sunshine and blue skies and the Labour Party still stunned, Britain is currently almost without an opposition.

It must be human nature. The so-called "honeymoon period" that follows every new government has begun and the Lib/Con coalition is no exception.

Just like in 1997-98 when, barring a bitter old grannie or two with pictures of Maggie hanging in their bedroom and the Sun going on about a Gay Mafia running the government, it was virtually impossible to find a single person not mesmerised by Tony Blair, "the Third Way" and "things-can-only-get-better", Britain enters the first weekend under a new government with practically no official opposition.

Take a look at the media.

The Murdoch machine is in genuflection-mode. Yesterday's Sun (BRING US SUNSHINE on the front page, New Politics as main article) was soppier than a Wet Wet Wet hit and today the paper is plastered with pictures of smiling David (Mr Blue Sky) and "lovely" Samantha.

The Times too. Their leader yesterday was also called New Politics (what else) and oozed more optimism than a weather lady uttering the words "glorious" and "sunshine" on the BBC. Take this, for instance: "The generosity and optimism of Mr Cameron’s acceptance speech and the remarkable sight of Tories and Lib Dems lauding each other was a signal that the expenses scandal has changed politics for good, in both senses of that word".

Then there's the Express. The normally superbitter, rabidly right-wing tabloid had the words IT'S LOVE on its front page. "Dave and Nick's brave new world" is how they called it, next to the two leaders' smiling faces, making Eric Clapton's Wonderful Tonight sound like Napalm Death by comparison.

The Telegraph seems to have buried its initial doubts and is now fully endorsing the coalition: Out of confusion comes David Cameron and clarity, they wrote. Key words again: optimism, dignity, coolness, leadership, maturity. Unlike, of course, Labour which "was true to its tribal, scheming self".

Unconditional support also comes from the Daily Star (see here and here), while the Guardian, which famously endorsed the Lib Dems a week before the election, is also going incredibly soft on the coalition. Yesterday's editorial oozed positivity and was rounded off by the words "right now this government deserves its chance".

The Daily Mail too.

Put aside the fact that Littlejohn found room for pre-pubescent playground homophobia (comparing Cameron and Clegg to Brokeback Mountain, absolutely vile even for his own standards) and that Jan Moir and Stephen Glover (the latter made indeed a couple of good points) highlighted the two leaders' similar background.

Overall, even the Mail has officially endorsed the coalition. In an editorial, they dubbed it "our only hope of stable government", while another comment yesterday mentioned "a word or two of caution", while spelling out: "Let the Mail say at once that we join in welcoming this auspicious start to the coalition, which raises real hopes of a stable Government with the authority to tackle our nightmare deficit".

This officially leaves two critical voices: the Independent (with the excellent Johann Hari explaining today exactly why this coalition is potentially poisonous) and the traditionally pro-Labour Mirror.

This is possibly unprecedented. Not even in the days of Blair enjoying Murdoch's support was there such an overwhelming support for a government.

Initial critics within the LibDems seem to have realigned themselves and those who haven't are being locked in a cell with the refrain "there-was-no-alternative-there-was-nothing-else-we-could-do" being played on a loop.

Britain's main left-of-centre blog, Liberal Conspiracy, is even calling for a soft approach on the LibDems ("Do not vilify the Lib Dems" and "Let the press do your work for you").

Add to the equation the fact that Labour are still leaderless and directionless (an interesting activity could be that of counting hollow articles that are being penned daily by Labour MPs calling for "renewal" and "listening to people") and we can safely say that, barring a handful of MPs, this country is currently without a proper opposition.


Mr S. Pill said...

True enough, hopefully when the inevitable shit hits the fan the traditional voices of opposition will start piping up - right now as you point out it's only Johann and the Mirror (and the far-left) pointing out the obvious fact that the coalition has no clothes.
I would love to hear Napalm Death cover Wonderful Tonight, though ;)

Chris Baldwin said...

So is The Guardian going to support this government now? That's a scary thought.

claude said...

So it seems, Chris.
When you get the Grauniad and the Daily Fail supporting the same government, then it really means something doesn't add up.

Anonymous said...

The Sun yesterday was actually sickening. No wonder more and more LibDems are quitting and either joining the Greens or Labour.

donpaskini said...

True, but it has only been a week! Quite effective opposition over the 55% rule - things will really get going once they set out their emergency budget.