Ménage a deux….

May 14, 2010

Maybe the paucity of some journalists imaginations meant it was inevitable that post election negotiations between political parties would be represented as a dance of courtship. Wouldn’t haggling with a spiv over a crash-damaged second-hand motor have been closer to the mark? Or an eBay auction?

The lazy-option analogy was taken beyond any notion of straightforward dowry bargaining intended to yield a Commons majority and threw up some dire sexism, well highlighted here by Libby Brooks.

In what may have been a pointed reference to Cameron’s heralded post-S.28 modernisation of the Tories or perhaps just a prod at Clegg’s, would-you-guess, liberalism, the Evening Standard went beyond the rollercoaster courtship.

“A VERY CIVIL PARTNERSHIP” was their headline of 12 May with the principals looking, apparently, “boyish and relaxed” as they announced the new politics of their coalition government. I know, I know.

Like me, I suppose many folk will not yet have attended a civil partnership ceremony.

I wanted to test the analogy so I looked up what the Registration Service offers, by way of words of commitment, to those seeking legal recognition of their relationship. What I came up with were these:-

“(Dave) and (Nick) now wish to affirm publicly their relationship and to offer to each other the security that comes from vows sincerely made and faithfully kept.”

Measured, low key but fitting words of solemn commitment.

It came as something of a shock then, when I read through the pages of vows they had actually made to each other in cementing the future in politics they plan to share.

What is one to make of their proposed new, and now infamous, 55% requirement to dissolve parliament?

And this, of course is where the courtship leitmotif runs close to collapsing in on itself.

After all whoever heard of a prenuptial agreement designed not simply to protect the assets of the richest partner, but to stop either walking away without the approval of the other (whose conduct might well have been the catalyst)?

And after all, these youngish parents of our new politics; surely they ought not to need a vow designed to stop them double-crossing each other at the first opportunity for party advantage? My goodness, Dave sought to reassure the City with his male lineage; forefathers whose word was ever their bond.

Wasn’t it the Peoples’ Princess who complained there were three in her marriage?

Perhaps it’s escaped Dave and Nick that their ménage also contains another.

In days before the advent of new politics, it used to be called the electorate.


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