A spectre is haunting Britain - the spectre of cynicism
Tomorrow, Labour will be first to launch its manifesto. The nation will pick through it with a fine tooth comb, certain in the knowledge that it will shock, excite, bamboozle and bore. Ed Miliband wrote it. But tomorrow, will the voters of Britain write it off?
On this site you will find a real-time analysis of the lies as they come in. And of course, we'll be asking the most important question of all: Who reads this shit anyway?
Sunday, 11 April 2010
(This is the transcript of a secret meeting between the Conservative and LibDem leaders. They are discussing what will happen in the event of a hung parliament.
The meeting between David Cameron and Nick Clegg is held on neutral territory - a well known restaurant in West London. Team Cameron has booked a private room and the Conservative leader greets Clegg at the door as he arrives.)
Cameron: Nicholas. Lovely to, er.
Clegg: Hi, David. Good to.
Cameron: Yes. Good to...
(They both take seats opposite one another at a round table.)
Cameron: I suppose that before we get down to biz I should order you a latte or something?
Clegg: Latte? Why's that, Dave? I'm the sort of person who?
Cameron: Who what?
Clegg: I don't know. Westminster? God knows. Bet Etonians don't do lattes
Cameron: What are you talking about, Nicholas? Nothing to do with Westminster, Eton. As it happens I'd be delighted to do lunch, if that's what you'd prefer. I just thought, you know, negotiations and all that. I thought, I thought...
Clegg: Thought what?
Cameron: Golly, latte, Nicholas? Everyone drinks latte nowadays. That was no judgement on Westminster. Westminster's cool. Cousin Wonk went there. Before your time, needless to say.
Clegg: Wonk? Cousin Wonk?
Cameron: Nicholas, please. Can we just, you know... It really shouldn't be this awkward. This meeting... this "meet", as it were.
Clegg: Yeah, of course, Dave. After all, you and I, we went to the best public schools in the country, did we not?
Cameron: No, Nicholas! Not that... Really! Not that at all.
Clegg: So then what, David?
Cameron: Well. You... you and I... we shouldn't be so uncomfortable about... you know?
Clegg: You know?
Cameron: Yes. You know. The class issue, the class thing, whatever you want to call it.
Clegg: Class? Who's worried about class? I'm not worried about class.
Cameron: Well, nor am I, Nicholas. But, I don't know, let's face it... I'm not the awkward one. I'm not all er... flustered. No chips here, not on this shoulder, matey.
Clegg: You went to Eton, matey.
Cameron: Oh, come on, Nicholas. Hello? Westminster isn't exactly slumming it.
Clegg: (Impassive) Right, so, anyway, you were going to say?
Cameron: Okay. So, the thing is, there's clearly - you know this yourself - an issue... we both know that... about class. Not, you know, the way that Brown and the papers would like to portray it, not that class war nonsense... But.. Well, lets just say... let's say, its like this. When I was talking to Pickles the other day... Chairman Eric, he was saying that it wasn't the old Lib-Con pact that was likely to be the issue, it wasn't elites, it wasn't workers versus public school... After all, we're all liberals nowadays. Right?
Clegg: Yes. Liberals. Right. I suppose we are... ALL liberals.
Cameron: Yes, we sort of are really.
Clegg: Fine. So what? What are you trying to say, Dave?
Cameron: What I am trying to say is this... It's the fact that... well, you know.
Clegg: I know?
Cameron: Yes, you know...
Clegg: What do I know?
Cameron: For crying out loud man. Can't you see? Eton, Westminster carving up the, you know... the er... whatsit?
Clegg: The whatsit? What are talking about? You're starting to sound like Boris Johnson, man.
Cameron: No... The, you know... the whatsit. Speaking the same kind of, carving up the.. you know, the language. It's the language for God's sake! What I'm trying to get at.
Clegg: Carving up the language?
Cameron: Exactly, you and I carving up the...
Clegg: (Thinks, then a spark of recognition) Oh, right, I'm... kind of with you. I think I might see where you're coming from now.
Cameron: Do you, old boy? I sincerely hope so, because I think it's kind of... you know, kind of
Clegg: Kind of?
Cameron: Yes, exactly. Kind of.
Clegg: So, hold on David. Are you basically saying that its not the, you know?
Cameron: Exactly. Not the, you know.
Clegg: Not the, you know, backgrounds, as such, that pose the problem.
Cameron: Yep, yep
Clegg: Rather it's the language that you and I... you know.
Cameron: Yes, exactly, its the language that kind of emanates from... that, I don't know, derives from those backgrounds. At least as far as the electorate are, you know, concerned.
Clegg: Right I see. (Reflects) Although, of course Gordon Brown and his crew - his tribe - also speak a totally different language to most of the... you know.
Cameron: Yes, of course, Nick. But he, they can kind of get away with it. He has been getting away with it. Even though he has more friends in the City of London and high places than you or I put together. Ordinary folk still buy into this idea that he speaks a language that's closer to theirs. God knows why. But that's what really worries me. The fact that they think he speaks their language.
Clegg: Okay, okay... I can see what you're getting at now, mate. And you're right. It could be a problem... This language issue, this language thing.
Cameron: Or it could be THE problem
Clegg: Yes, could be THE problem. I totally see where you're coming from... But, but you know what's strange, Dave?
Clegg: I'm now thinking... Why didn't you just say this at the outset, mate... about this language issue, that it was kind of ... the problem? You should have said that's what was on your mind. Then we wouldn't have spent so much time, you know, beating about the whatsit.
Cameron: Well, I sort of did, matey. Or at least I meant to... It was just... I don't know. When you walked in like that, you know, through the door, and there was all that latte routine, that chip on shoulder thing... I just couldn't.... er, like, I just couldn't find the right words, I suppose... If you know what I mean.
Clegg: Yeah, I do now, matey. Totally...Totally know what you mean.