Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ming: 'It's not two on one now, it's one on two'

That was a phrase that Ming repeated several times at the interview last Sunday with the LibDem Blogger of year shortlisters.

It's not two on one, now. It's one on two.

What he means is that instead of the two non-governmental parties opposing the government, we now have just one of the non-governmental parties, the LibDems, opposing both Labour and the Conservatives - what he is calling the "cosy consensus", in his speech this morning.

It is a powerful point. Rather than list off those policies on which Labour and the Tories have agreed on in the last ten years (there are too many), it is easier to list the policies on which they have disagreed.

In the early days, they disagreed on the Minimum Wage. The preponderance of each party's MPs, in a free vote, have disagreed on Hunting with hounds. There have been differences of tone on Europe and immigration - but nothing substantive. On most issues, both parties have fallen in with the other in a game of "Anything you can do, we can do better". A sort of Daily Mail reader bidding war.

So Ming's "It's one on two" and "cosy consensus" phrases are actually a clever distillation of the UK political picture which highlights the injustice of a system which is erring more and more towards what used to be, and perhaps still is, called the "right wing". That's a situation brought sharply into focus with Gordon Brown's cosying up to Margaret Thatcher and subsequent comparisons to George Orwell's Animal Farm:

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig...but already it was too late to say which was which.

As an aside, Ming developed his "one on two" leitmotif in the Sunday interview, saying that "it's one against one - LibDem against Labour in the North and one against one - LibDem against Conservative in the South". He then attempted a further bit of juggling with basic maths but stumbled a bit and got a bit tangled up. He reminded me of a slightly discombobulated Ted Rodgers on the telly programme 3-2-1 (below) when he used to do a little trick with his hand to put up three, then two, then one finger in a very fast sequence. Most of the audience of 3-2-1 were left utterly baffled by the programme, but I have high hopes that this "cosy consensus" and "one against two" theme will be better understood by the public. It might even pass as a rallying call for the LibDems, if we are allowed rallying calls. I suspect we'll have to receive a couple of shots of mogodon to calm us down.


  1. As far as I'm concerned that's what its always been...

  2. Thanks Tristan - you're probably right although during the Thatcher years it wasn't so clear, perhaps.