Soon enough, recess will be over and all the politicians will come sauntering back into parliament. Tanned, relaxed, glowing examples of how “in it together” we all really are.
The thing is, I’m wondering if they ought to bother?
Hasn’t it been nicer with them away? A relief not to have to see too much of Cameron’s smug, podginess all over the telly? Hasn’t it been like stepping off a roller-coaster for a bit? I’ve certainly enjoyed reading a paper without peeking through my fingers at the day’s car-crash policy announcements.
When Theresa May and Boris Johnson came scurrying back to “deal with the riots” most opinion polls agreed that we were managing just fine without them – in fact that when they did come back, they made things worse, really.
If, like me, you’ve spent months of precious energy fighting a particular cause, hasn’t it been a lovely kind of limbo? OK, things won’t get better, most of the laws we’re trying to oppose will pass, but this pollen-fuelled hiatus has at least meant that for a few weeks, things won’t actually get worse.
Well, apart from the economy of course, that grinds on relentlessly wherever Osborne is. And defence. And International crises….. but you get my point.
Is there an education policy that could not be improved by removing Gove from the equation? Ditto culture and Mr Hunt? (say it carefully now…)
Now then, the LibDems, I’ve forgotten what they’re doing anyway? Anyone? Which ministerial posts do they hold again? Oh yes, Vince making a pig’s ear of business, Alexander working towards his cognitive dissonance PHD in economic u-turns. Yep, don’t think we need them either.
And Labour. Well, I’m sad to say, I haven’t noticed any difference really. I wondered where they all were when parliament was actually sitting. Prizes to anyone who isn’t an uber-geek who can actually name the shadow health secretary? Anyone? Even if you are an uber-geek I bet you can’t name the shadow business secretary? Recess has seen the same robotic press releases, the same dribble of bored “opposition.” Except of course when it isn’t opposition at all and they sound exactly like the Tories. Ed did a particularly good job of this I thought, over the riots. Nothing is more depressing than hearing the same predictable knee-jerk reactions from both sides of the fence.
Special dispensation goes Harriet Harman, who seems to have been manning every TV show, every interview and every radio phone-in all summer. She’s made a pretty good stab at it on the whole. Her last-stand against a breathtakingly obnoxious Gove on Newsnight was class. Also Andrew Mitchell, who has done a wonderful job in Africa and elsewhere with cool competence and compassion.
Otherwise, I think I’d prefer it if they all just stayed on holiday. We’re all doing fine. Twitter is the new Dept of Justice, Facebook is managing the NHS, the Mail and Express are making sure that we all hate scroungers just as much as usual and The Guardian are running education. The Telegraph is handling defence and Europe and anything else has an e-petition to tie up the loose ends.
Slightly less encouragingly, Guido’s bringing back hanging and I think there might be an e-petition calling on us to rip rioters limb from limb, but on the whole this democracy lark is working out quite well for us all.
On balance, I think things are quite bad enough and since last May, politicians have just made the whole tangled mess very much worse. So Dave, George, Ed, Nick, Vince, Theresa, Michael, Boris? Really don’t worry, book an extra few decades away. I have a feeling we’ll all chip in.