The Best of Friends
Since its conception I cannot but help find something strange about the relationship on display between the Prime Minster and Deputy Prime Minister.
Since overcoming their differences – and forging their new love in the Number 10 rose garden – it seems that Cameron has allowed Clegg to take on an unexpected role, i.e. a prominent one.
Cameron’s conciliatory acts towards Clegg were always to be expected, but a sort of wet, over-zealous, corny comradery has developed on the part of the two men, and frankly it is has started to become unbearable.
The press conference within the rose garden of number ten could only have been completed by a holding of hands, and Clegg’s jaunt down Downing Street to be greeted by Cameron at the door of number ten (apparently budget cuts have run so deep that the PM must open the door himself) as though to welcome him to his tea party was unnecessary and actually quite nauseating. It’s as though Clegg specified this as a condition to the coalition, “and I want a nice picture outside number 10”. More of this odd behaviour was to be seen as the two love birds left Downing Street together and made their way to parliament on foot for the Queen’s speech.
It’s not the coalition itself I have trouble with, in fact I think the two parties bring a number of excellent policies and initiatives to the table (which of course is one of the great things about coalition-governments). But I cannot for the life of me understand why the two party leaders feel they must feign this ‘best of friends’ routine. Do they expect us to believe it? Do they really expect us to believe that two parties with such ideological differences can obtain such cohesion; well we need only look to the back benches of each party to see that they cannot, and one feels that no amount of repeating the words ‘Change’ and ‘New’ over and over again, until they become worn out cliches, will disguise this fact. And was it not only a few weeks ago that they were throwing insults at each other? The particular favourite being Cameron’s calling Nick Clegg the ‘best joke’ he knew.
One expects that where you have a system of politics built on adversary (particularly on the run-up to elections) there is always going to be red-faces of embarrassment after any election that results in the need for a coalition, perhaps even a little grovelling. In the back rooms of ten downing street, amongst the inner circles, does Mr Clegg really hold as much prominence as this public facade would depict? And if so, that leaves us wondering; who is really running the show?