At this rate, I think I'll emigrate...
The coalition recently reached the half-way point in its five year term, and in that time it's seen a plethora of bickering, U-turns and disagreements
Ed Balls | 12 December 2016

The coalition recently reached the half-way point in its five year term, and in that time it's seen a plethora of bickering, U-turns and disagreements. However, the government can be credited with cutting £375 billion of 'Westminster waste', carrying out the biggest increase in statepension since 1948 and employing 3,500 more doctors and 5,500 fewer managers in the NHS. So, overall, not bad going. My concern is for where British politics is heading come the next general election. 


A likely outcome of this election is that the Liberal Democrats will be hammered in the polls; UKIP will see another increase in voters; the Tories will come close to a majority but not close enough; and we'll end up with another Labour government. Should this happen, Clegg and Cameron will probably be replaced as the leaders of their party and we will be bowing to Mr Ed Miliband as our prime minister. Frankly, if this happens, I think I'll emigrate (Australia seems suitably far away). Miliband has had no senior cabinet post, which is worrying, but then again neither did Tony Blair. What he does have is the personal charisma of a sandwich past its sell-by-date. Ed Balls is one of those public figures who people don't even love to hate (like Piers Morgan or Bieber), but just plain hate. Combine this with a 'poor employment policy...funded from money that had already been spent' (according to Greg Clark MP, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury) and you have a shadow chancellor who would do about as good a job as Kermit the Frog.


This being said, living under the Labour party might not be as much as a living hell as it might seem. Honestly, there are far worse alternatives. Imagine that the Tories lose the next election (quite badly) and they desire a new leader. George 'Gideon' Osborne seems like an obvious replacement, except that he seems about as popular as Colonel Gadaffi these days, with Bob the online blogger (who is a real person) stating that 'the proper place for Osborne's head is on a spike on Traitors' Gate'. Perhaps not an ideal prime ministerial figure. So who else do the Tories choose? The Tories would need a leader who has what most politicians can only dream of: public support.


One Tory figure springs to mind: Boris Johnson. Could he be a future leader of the Tories as well as future prime minister? If he is, I think I'll head to Australia after all. Yes, Boris has a sense of humour and tries to woo us all with getting stuck in harnesses waving Union Jack flags, but is this a man you would trust with nuclear weapons? If he had made an excellent Major of London and demonstrated the necessary ability, I might sympathise with him. However, I don't think 'Boris bikes' alone give him a shot at the Tory leadership. Look instead at how Boris reacted to his biggest crisis as Mayor of London: the riots of August 2011. When the riots started, Johnson was on holiday -- nothing wrong with that. When the city began to go up in flames, however, you would expect his immediate reaction to include cutting his holiday short and booking his flight back to London. ASAP. Instead of this, Boris continued his sun-soaking and lilo-lounging. In fact, he didn't return to London until threats by David Cameron and pressures by senior Tories forced him to reconsider. Theresa May, for example, saw it fit to return, and kudos to her...but everyone knows that flight by broomstick is faster than by plane.


If Boris had taken suitable action on his return to London then I might still sympathise. But I suppose that's just too much to expect. His actual response was shown very clearly on the news that day: shots of him wandering around London streets, waving a broom in the air. Strangely, I don't think the nearby Londoners whose homes and shops had been crippled by the looting found this action very amusing. So, the worst crisis he faces as mayor and his reaction is an absolute joke (and no, not the hanging from a harness kind).


Obviously Boris is nothing like the fool he pretends to be, he is certainly a competent politician, but his problem is in the fact that he is an ambitious megalomaniac. Rest assured, his only long-term policy is to get into No. 10. And all his short-term policies are designed to help him get there.


Is there an alternative to any of the aforementioned disasters? Well yes. You may be pleased or horrified (depending on your political preferences) to hear that it's probably the Tories being re-elected. Frankly, I would feel much better about Cameron being back in No. 10 than watch Ed Miliband or Boris Johnson step through the most famous front door in the country. Given that Clegg has about as much chance as I do of winning the next election, and Nigel Farage (UKIP leader) appears in 'Have I Got News For You' more than the real news, there currently aren't many alternative outcomes...except for Miliband.

James Routledge 2016