I’m warming to my theme of the election as a metaphysical existentialist debate. Are you? No? Thought not so I’ll be brief.
I didn’t spend a lot of time watching the 7 way debate so I don’t have a lot to talk about except Cameron’s mouth. Sam Beckett wrote much extraordinary stuff and one piece, called Not I, comprises a set that is blacked out save for a spotlight on the actor’s mouth. The substance of what she says is beyond this blog (and beyond me to be frank) but the main message is to consider the nature of identity, and observe the relationship of the person to the words that they utter. When I saw Cameron listening to the others I was strangely drawn to his (unopened) mouth and its relation to the man. I thought of Not I and observed that where Cameron is concerned a lot of the reaction is in sinuous pursing and un-pursing of said orifice. What he says is OK but what does he think? I’m not sure that we’ll ever know. I struggle to think that “Implementing the long term economic plan” is inspiring him, any more than it fails to inspire us. So what does get him out of bed in the mornings?
Pursuing a sensible path for the sake of the country is a “good thing” but it’s not looking like it will win an election. Labour also portray their policies as sensible good things, and the difference, £8 billion, is not even ½% of GDP.
So, if neither will inspire us sufficiently to get a majority because the difference is so small, the real question to address is why wouldn’t two sensible parties with broadly similar policies, who together represent 60% of the electorate create a grand coalition? If BA and Iberia, T-Mobile and Orange, Guinness and Grand Met can create new organisations, bound together in perpetuity then it must be possible for two parties committed to roughly the same thing, to come together temporarily, even without a world war. Taking the parallel further you could even discuss spinning out EU membership and a “profit free NHS” as non-core activities to be run by other parties.
Would our potential PMs think that’s sensible?
“Not I” says one. But what does he mean? Is he a leader, who will actually put his country first, or a “luster” who lusts after power and thinks about how it can be used afterwards? The pursuit of belief and principles is clearly the best place to be. But the situation that we are considering is where their pursuit must be compromised in order to form a Government. In this situation I just wonder if leadership leads you to alignment with the extremes of your Right or Left wing views or that is lust, and national interest is best served by recognising the desire of over 60% to reduce the deficit and do something (to be discussed) to help?
In Endgame (you know who wrote it) Clov learns to break free of the ties that bind, the old ways of doing things and ends the play with a ray of hope: “it’s easy going”. But I suspect that my idea is too metaphysical to be taken seriously and from May 8th we are in for a bumpy ride.