14 May 2011

Horrid Henry and the Lib Dem rout

This website (like many others) has been off line for a day or so. So my thoughts on last week's Lib Dem rout are probably a bit more irrelevant now than they were 48 hours ago.

Anyway the big question that still appears to be unanswered (or at least still being debated) is the differing performances of the two coalition partners. The Conservatives did well - their vote holding up and making gains in council seats - despite defending their 2007 high. The Lib Dems crashed spectacularly, losing 700 council seats and control of all the metropolitan councils it held.

The party's response has been to say that in swathes of the north of England there is no Tory party to give a kicking to, so it was the Lib Dems who got the anti-government kicking. But that's not true. The Tories held their seats in Salford for example, the Lib Dems were wiped out in Manchester. The Lib Dems lost seats to the Tories in Oldham and Rochdale - including Spotland - home of Rochdale FC and represented continuously by Liberals for 100 years. Sir Cyril will be spinning in his copious grave.

The best analysis I've come across hasn't been published on any blog or indeed any newspaper. It comes from 'she who must be obeyed' as John Mortimer would put it. She put it down to naughty children syndrome...

If parents have two children - one usually well behaved and one usually naughty - they will always come down harder on the well behaved one if they misbehave than they will with the naughty one, because of the shock.

That seems to me a perfect analogy for the respective coalition partners.

The Tories are the delinquent older brother - always getting into trouble, stealing and bullying the weak and vulnerable. The Lib Dems are the angelic, hard working and bookish little brother, who brings breakfast in bed on a Sunday to their parents. So when the little brother turns up on the doorstep with a police officer in tow, having stolen some student's beer money they get grounded for a year. The older brother rolls up several hours later (as usual) with not only a student's money but a couple of old ladies' purses, the parents simply shrug their shoulders as that's what they've come to expect.

So when Perfect Peter throws his lot in with Horrid Henry, Henry always gets off scot-free.

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