The Jeremy Clarkson Distraction

That Jeremy Clarkson should be fired is pretty much indisputable, The Guardian’s Owen Jones explains why here. Clarkson’s continuing employment with the BBC is not, however, what this article will be discussing.

The Clarkson debate came out of nowhere to dominate the news cycle and political discourse since details of the fracas emerged on the 9th of March (Derailing coverage of a major Ed Miliband interview). His list of supporters include David Cameron, and now apparently his hunger striking daughter Nancy, not to mention the million plus people who signed the petition calling for his reinstatement.

But where did this petition come from? A right-wing blogger called Paul Staines, better known as his pseudonym Guido Fawkes. The self-confessed anti-establishment blogger, who incidentally is better connected to the Conservative Party than your average Daily Mail journalists, created and publicised the campaign for Jeremy’s reinstatement. The campaign has dominated the hearts and the minds of ordinary voters for the past fortnight, it has distracted attention away from David Cameron’s cowardly refusal to engage in a leader’s debate, it has distracted attention away from George Osborne’s vote buying budget. In the midst of the most important general election campaign for a generation the biggest discussion taking place in the United Kingdom is whether a talentless middle age man should keep his job after conducting a racially aggravated assault on a co-worker.

The campaign of distraction, led by Paul Staines, culminated in a former vice-president of Conservative Future, the youth wing of the Tory Party, driving a tank across London to BBC headquarters. This blatant headline grabbing act happened before the petition had reached the one million signatures mark Staines said would trigger the stunt.

In short what we have is a Troy outlier, obstinately crusading on behalf of the common man, getting his Tory mate to drive a tank across London to stop a rich toff losing his job. Meanwhile Staines’ friends in government poll rating spike after a budget giveaway, with the public to distracted by Clarksongate to properly see the budget for what it is. So much for being anti-establishment eh Paul?

 

Liberal Democrats – Clinging onto Power

Nick Clegg has attempted the few Liberal Democrat loyalists left by claiming his party “stands up for the moderate majority” and “If you want a stable government that won’t lurch to the extremes of left or right, then you have to vote for it.” In a rather Machiavellian move Clegg is angling to position himself as Kingmaker after the election on May 7.

How Nick Clegg feels a government propped up by his soon to be resoundingly rejected Lib Dems will confer any legitimacy is a mystery. Current projections put the Lib Dems on course to win as few as 19 seats[i], down from their 2010 result of 57. The party has consistently polled below the incipient Green Party, as well as seeing the Green Party over take his Lib Dems as the third biggest party in England & Wales, yet Clegg still sees his party as fit for government.

Happily the obscenely undemocratic prospect of Nick Clegg the perpetual Deputy Prime Minister is remote, much to his chagrin. 19 seats is unlikely enough to push David Cameron’s Conservatives over the finish line. While the Labour Party would surly turn to a progressive alliance first, only landing on the Liberal Democrats as a last resort and probably with the condition of Nick Clegg’s head. Given Cleggs demand for Gordon Brown to quit during talks over a Rainbow Alliance in 2010 the chance of seeing Nick Clegg’s face in government again seem slim, even if he does manage to hold his Sheffield Hallam seat.  

Nick Clegg wishes you wouldn’t keep taking his stuff, and then when he comes to get it back, throwing it to someone else so he can’t have it back.

[i] http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/ukpr-projection-2