It’s interesting getting on a train that is packed with dressed-up young people. Drinking and joking, screaming and arguing. A vast, unco-ordinated party – and we other passengers have to fit in around the mass of celebratory teenagers and young people. It reminds me of a scene from a movie, of pieces of history that have been made into film, celebrating the end of war, or drunken weddings. Parliament and its leadership seem to be going through a meltdown, much of it because of other riotous parties where at times – we have been told sensationally – that people were sick in waste paper bins.
Well that was the bit of sensationalism I remembered most graphically. Now I was sitting in a train with hundreds of party people crammed in.
Parties seem to be the currency of government corruption. At a time when, on the edge of Europe, a war is played out between weapons of enormous sophistication and inflation undoes whatever little prosperity some people might have. It feels as though a concoction of history, bad manners, Covid and conflict are mixed up in a giant cement mixer and the outcome can only be a sludge. Added to that now is the incredible power of those Whitehall party stories to undo the political consensus that the Conservative Party had built up three years before.
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People came out to vote against the government because Partygate finally did more damage than almost anything else about their leadership. Proving once again that it’s often not the wrongdoing but the cover-up of the wrongdoing that scuppers the ship of state.
In the middle of all this, poor people have been made poorer by inflationary fluctuations worldwide. A stable government is sorely needed now, to keep this harsh reality foremost in our minds. Yet haunted by the cover-ups, which are then being used as the most corrosive political weapon in Parliament, unity over rescuing people from war and poverty is nowhere in sight.
Politics is beginning to look like a sludge. What are the answers to the current bevy of price rises that should be our most pressing concern? Where is the call to get us out of this by the clarity of all political voices?