Communities are being offended all over the place — Cameron, beware

Dave ‘David’ just can’t win. No, I’m not going to bang on about his failure to gain an outright victory against the worst government in British history — that dead horse is water under Westminster bridge, as John Prescott could say. What I’m talking about is Dave’s current problems with assorted communities (don’t you just love this word?).

First, he offended the Tourette’s community by likening Ed Balls to a sufferer from that condition (any community would be offended if likened to Ed Balls). And it could have been worse. Dave could have referred to the Labour front bench as a gathering of subversive idiots, thereby offending several communities at once: subversive idiots,  non-subversive idiots and non-idiotic subversives.

Worse still, he could have made any number of crude puns based on the Shadow Chancellor’s surname, and don’t tell me he and Cleggers don’t bandy those about every time they take a quiet glass of Chateau Petrus together. A big pitfall to have avoided, that: Dave could have aroused the ire of the broad community of all those who are similarly disadvantaged with names carrying vague genital connotations, be that Cox, Clapp, C.O. Jones, Dick, Candida or — in more literary families — Goneril. I don’t know if this community is represented by a competent lobbyist yet or even if it identifies itself as a community, but if so Dave could have ended his political career there and then.

Not that such a development would be universally seen as an unqualified calamity. For just about everything Dave does offends a large, disfranchised, unlobbied-for community of true conservatives, and there are still a few left. Speaking for myself (I haven’t been authorised to speak for the whole community, but then such a snag doesn’t stop others), I was offended by Dave’s stated intention to sort out the way in which top executives are compensated. I do agree that some of their pay packages are obscene and often, these days usually, out of kilter with their performance or their firms’ success. Hence it would be a good idea to curb their appetites and to empower the shareholders to do the curbing. After all, it’s their money.

But in even a vestigially free country there ought to be a dividing line between a good idea and government diktat. The public sector’s remit doesn’t include shoving good ideas down people’s private throats. Thus our MPs should put a sock in it whenever they feel the urge to tell us to have two alcohol-free days a week. Yes, even though one doesn’t espy too many teetotallers in the House of Commons bars, for us to drink less may be a good idea. But it’s none of their business.

Similarly, the only way for our politicians to ensure that every good idea is acted upon by companies trading in the UK is to nationalise the lot, as they’ve already nationalised most banks. Then they could decide who gets how much; you pay your money, you make the music. But that would be a bit of been there, done that (remember the seventies?). Moreover, wholesale nationalisation would offend the conservative community even more that it’s offended already. Not to mention the offence caused to the much larger community of those who want a semblance of a healthy economy.

And then there’s the most egregious offence that just won’t go away: the EUSSR. Just imagine a Tory minister going behind the PM’s back to tell the world that the government’s key policy decision was a gross and easily reversible mistake. Such a minister would become an ex-minister faster than it would take him to write a Dear Dave letter of resignation. But when Cleggers does it, Dave is helpless.

This is a coalition government after all, one based on ideological kinship and united by an overriding high principle, otherwise known as powerlust. Cleggers, of course, has to keep his own LibDem community sweet — he’s not just any old Deputy PM, like John Prescott was. Too much loyalty to the PM and Cleggers won’t be able to hang on as party leader until 2015, when he’ll move to Brussels with the satisfaction of a job well botched.

One can understand his predicament, but then Dave has one of his own. Sound too much like a true-blue Tory, and there goes the much bigger wet community, offended all the way into Red Ed’s camp. Make too many pro-EUSSR noises, and not only will real conservatives be offended into Nigel Farage’s embrace, but even some undecideds may feel insulted. You know, members of the politically inert community who nonetheless incline towards euroscepticism, which they prove by chanting ‘if it wasn’t for England, you’d all be Krauts’ at football matches.

Communities, there’s no getting away from them. Whenever you please one, you upset another, so what’s a poor politician to do? One might suggest ignoring this madhouse and trying to do the right thing, provided of course he knows what that is. But such a suggestion would be offensive to the madhouse community.

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