The papers are snowtastic this weekend, informing us helpfully that it’s er, been snowing. It had passed me by here in sunny Dee. But buried beneath the fall is the crumbling political elite. The Sunday Times (who’s sheer ridiculous bulk suggest they are trying to single-handedly complete global deforestation) suggests that “David Cameron fears his deputy prime minister may now struggle to hold his seat at the next election and may offer him EU commissioner in Brussels.” Exposed as an opportunist liar? Spectacular political failure that managed to disillusion and alienate a generation between summer and Solstice? Have the top job in Europe.
It’s not just the ConDem’s who are struggling. Labour’s efforts to re-birth after the New Labour coup is in deep disarray. Peter Kellner writes: “If we look below the surface, we find that Miliband has made no progress in persuading voters that he is honest, strong, decisive, in touch with ordinary people or a natural leader. On only one of those characteristics — that he is in touch — does he lead Cameron. On most characteristics he lags by miles… In short, a critic of Miliband could argue that Labour’s narrow polling lead has come about despite his leadership, not because of it… The big reason why Labour has gained ground is that Liberal Democrat support has collapsed. Left-of-centre Lib Dem voters have returned to Labour because they are repelled by Nick Clegg, not because they warm to Miliband.”
While we’re trawling the lower reaches of Sunday dead-tree-media, you’ve got to love the Mail on Sunday which describes how “George Osborne and Education Secretary Michael Gove both enjoyed the splendour of their own £800 boxes at Covent Garden for the new production of the Wagnerian masterpiece Tannhauser”. Ah Wagner! £800 to see the guy off-of the X-Factor!? We are indeed all in this together.
Scotland on Sunday’s Eddie Barnes predictably flabs about the Green Paper on university funding claiming that Scottish ministers “face a growing backlash over their failure to provide cash to solve the funding gap in the sector” before citing two predictable complainants. Grapple with the issues and the options he does not. For a different take on the Greeen Paper read Mike Small’s piece on Newsnet here (Educational Apartheid), or over at the Sunday Herald where Ian Bell (The Tory Dream: Degrees for Sale) writes:
“It counts as a small tribute to devolution. The argument over the funding of university education does not yet resemble inter-generational warfare. No nostalgic, superannuated radicals have yet typecast “the kids” as proxy class warriors. Scottish Liberal Democrat unity, such as it is, has not been put at risk. No-one proposes to dismantle – or not quite – the entire third tier of scholastic tradition. Scotland is not, so to speak, where England is.”
Finally Iain Fale, ex-blogger now penning for the Daily Hate Mail writes the biggest load of pish you’ve ever read about Wikileaks here: “He preaches openness but demands privacy. He reveals ‘secrets’ but 99% are prurient gossip. He’s accused of rape but won’t face his accusers. Why do the Left worship the WikiLeaks ‘God’?
What’s the upshot of all this? The editors’ great idea that I do a weekly column along the lines of ‘I read the papers so you don’t have to’ has one crucial failing: I have to read them.
Most of these papers are best for lining wellies, under the kindling or wrapping the pressies that haven’t arrived from Tesco. While we’re on the subject of snow, presumably now it’s arrived doon sooth Christmas will be cancelled there too?