If UK politics were Tottenham Hotspur, then coalition government would be David Beckham

If UK politics were Tottenham Hotspur, then coalition government would be David Beckham: it may have worked well under different conditions in the past, but everybody knows deep down that it’s already past its peak. It turns up, looks pretty, basks in the hype for a while, but never really delivers – then succumbs to its inevitable shortcomings before limping off back to the Never-Never Land of world football.

LeftCentral reported a few weeks ago on the gradual desertion of Lib Dem luminaries from the government camp. Since then, Vince Cable has been humiliated around the Cabinet table after being left armourless in his war on Murdoch, and Simon Hughes has been getting increasingly anxious about the direction of health and welfare reforms. We may well be witnessing the beginning of the end of the new politics.

And if yesterday’s panicked announcement on the bank levy was George Osborne’s way of getting tough on the institutions that brought the UK economy to the brink of collapse, before demanding the kind of hand-outs that are now being stripped from their victims, then surely one or two more Liberal Democrats will be getting twitchy. They won’t be pleased to hear that the Conservatives receive more than half of their donations in the City of London – the Tories and the City are the real coalition governing this country.

Major League Soccer in the US might be the Never-Never Land of world football, but it can also be compared to the prospects of minority government in UK politics. No matter how hard you try, no matter how big your society is, or how fat your cheque book, it just isn’t going to work. So Becks may well be back in a few months, wearing a different strip perhaps.


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