Sunday, March 09, 2008

Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

It is fair to say that Matthew d'Ancona is not our most favourite columnist, but his portrayal of the referendum stitch-up is definitely one to savour. Try this for size, on the media:

When the Prime Minister and his allies looked ahead to the referendum vote in the Commons, not in their wildest dreams could they have imagined that the headlines the morning after would focus on Nick Clegg and the Lib Dem split over Europe. Talk about missing the big picture: it was as if the press the day after the storming of the Winter Palace in 1917 had led on drainage problems in Petrograd.
Then, on the effects of the "betrayal", he writes:

Osmotically, this latest betrayal will compound the question that all voters now ask about all politicians: why can't they keep a promise? Why has the Government that came to power 11 years ago with a pledge card become a gang of card sharks?
Great minds, think alike, it seems.

And then, for a conclusion, d'Ancona adds:

In his book The Politics of Consent, Francis Pym, who died on Friday, wrote "the politics of consent are neither a luxury nor a soft option. They are the only form of democratic politics that will ultimately work or that can have a moral basis." He was right, and it is a shame that this principle, so scandalously breached last week, has come to mean so little to those who govern us. They must be very proud.
We never thought we would we quoting Francis Pym, or applauding someone who did, but we would certainly agree with the sentiment that, "the politics of consent are neither a luxury nor a soft option.” But it is more than a shame that the principle has come to mean so little to Brown and his cohorts. It is a dangerous abnegation of the fundamentals of our society.

At the risk of sounding like a cracked record, we have to repeat that the reckoning will come. It always does. In the meantime, have a look at the article – for once, it's worth reading.

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