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Jerry Hayes

Barnsley was a horribly predictable spitoon for saloon bar gripes with Old Labour values of the Jurassic era. Ed should be troubled.

March 4th, 2011 by Jerry Hayes

In Downing Street the thick bullet proof curtains of the Prime Minister’s study are closely drawn. There is hardly a noise save for the muffled screams of right wing backbenchers being ruthlessly beaten with rubber hoses deep in the Downing Street cellars and the brave cries of the people’s heroine, Laurie Penney, who has chained herself  to the railings in a life and death struggle to remove VAT from women’s sanitary products.  In a corner, a crumpled foetal shape is sobbing uncontrollably. David Cameron, sitting at his desk, surrounded by framed photographs of  the President of the European Commission , Cathy Ashton and a prized copy of the European Convention on Human rights lovingly embossed on human skin, strokes Larry the cat. He looks with disdain at the snivelling creature before him.

“For God’s sake Cleggers, stop blubbing. It was only a by election and it was in the frozen north. They’re all dreadfully working class up there, no woman over twenty five has her own teeth and all the men wear cloth caps, breed ferrets, race pigeons and keep dogs on pieces of string. Worse, they are all very, very right wing.”  At the words, “right wing”, Larry the cat, greatly perturbed, coughs up a fingernail that had been slowly extracted from Douglas Carswell the night before.

“Why do you think those nutters at UKIP did so well? Why do you think the knuckle draggers of the BNP managed to get 25 per cent of the vote at recent ward elections? Barnsley is one of the last outposts of Neanderthal Labour, you silly boy. Just thank your lucky stars that you didn’t have the Loony Party against you”.

At this the snivelling turns into a shreik. “But they did.  Howling Laud Hope was only 800 votes behind my candidate”.

“Oh, dear. How unfortunate”, condoled Cameron barely suppressing a grin. “It could be that you are every so slightly fucked. Well, not to worry. Now back to sorting out AV and the reform of the House of Lords theres a good chap.”

I am afraid that the Barnsley by election was a bit of a ball clenching, spincter rattling, China Syndrome of a meltdown for the poor old Lib Dems. Yet it shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise for anyone. It’s the sort of place which is culturally dependent on state handouts, wedded to Old Labour values of the Jurassic era  and is a natural feeding ground for the BNP and UKIP. Yesterday it became a spitoon for every saloon bar gripe: Europe, immigrants taking our jobs and the cuts. It is a Barking in the making. Once the Euphoria has died down and the statistics analysed, Ed should be rather troubled.

If this result had been replicated in a seat representing swing voters it could be said that the tectonic plates of politics were shifting. This is merely a minor shock wave rather than an earthquake. Of course, it was predictable. Why do you think Cameron or Clegg didn’t go near the place?

But it will cause short term problems for both party leaders with their grass roots. The good result for UKIP will send a chill down the spine  for those in marginal seats and will put pressure on Cameron to do be more robust on Europe. The fact that “Europe” doesn’t even register with swing voters is always ignored by the right. But it will cause Cameron problems at the Conservative Spring Conference in Cardiff tomorrow.

Clegg’s problem is more acute and ironic. Whilst Cameron is being accused of giving too much ground to the Lib Dems, Clegg is accused of betraying his principles by rolling over to a Tory right wing agenda. That both accusations are hogg whimperingly wrong, is irrelevant. It is the perception to those who stand to lose their council seats that matter. And the Liberal have more to lose than the Tories.

The answer is simple and difficult. Both leaders must be robust and honest with their grass roots.The message must be clear and simple. The Coalition is here to stay. It is in the interests of the country. The reduction of the deficit is challenging yet paramount, and must be enshrined in fairness. The path to recovery must be through growth. There is no plan B. To listen to the siren voices of both the left and the right is a distraction.

Dog whistle politics should be left to the dogs. Yet I suspect that there will be a few bones being thrown around this weekend.

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Comments [ 6 ]

  1. Rod Jamieson Rod Jamieson says:

    I think perhaps the coalition is finished. The only course of action is to sit back with a pack of jaffa cakes and a cuppa, turn on the tele, and watch the dreams of these polititions be washed away like tears in the rain.

    • Jerry Hayes Jerry Hayes says:

      Nicely put, it is in both parties interests for it to continue so I think it will. If an election was called it would be mutually assured destruction.

  2. Christopher H Christopher H says:

    While I hope their will be a general election sooner rather than later.A friend of mine made a good point, and he believes that,because the Lib Dems are going to loose a hell of a lot of seats,at the next election.Lib Dem MP’s will say to themselves,well I am going to loose my seat at the next election,I may as well stay put,and cash as much as I can while I am here.Because I may not be here again for a long long time.

    I fear their may be some truth in that.

  3. simon simon says:

    I’m booking my ringside seat at the Sheffield Hallam count tomorrow..

    • Jerry Hayes Jerry Hayes says:

      My piece was meant to be a bit of a spoof. But did you read Dominic Carmen’s piece in the MOS yesterday? They are more Neanderthal in Barnsley than I thought possible!

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