Since the nauseatingly chummy Rose Garden Summit that launched the Con Dem Coalition in 2009, the jokes about the closeness of a Conservative Prime Minister and his Lib Dem Deputy have been fairly obvious – the two were joined at the hip, people said, they were married, they were Tweedledum and Tweedledee.
Today, though, David Cameron and Nick Clegg seemed to demonstrate a worrying psychic connection. Apparently completely unplanned, both men turned up in Somerset on the same day to try and bolster their respective party’s County campaign. If the idea was to convince people that there was any substantial difference between the Conservatives and the Liberals, the day couldn’t have got off to a worse start.
Insulting levels of hypocrisy
Of all the places Nick Clegg could’ve gone in the county that would’ve displayed incredible, insulting levels of hypocrisy, he chose one of the best.
Taunton Fire Station is due to be hit with 50% budget cuts, lose half of its full-time fire-fighters and one of its two full-time fire engines. It might be Tories currently pulling the strings at County Hall, but they’re only responding – albeit shockingly irresponsibly – to cuts in local government funding brought in by the Coalition Clegg created.
But completely without irony, Clegg proceeded to use these cuts as a way of attacking the Tories – cuts only made possible by Clegg and his MPs near-unanimously supporting Cameron’s austerity measures.
“They’re terrified they’ll lose a county they’ve taken for granted for decades”
Both Cameron and Clegg are clearly worried about their chances in Somerset. Of all the 35 counties up for election on Thursday, it was Somerset they chose to visit just three days before the main event.
They’re all too aware of the anger that people feel about having austerity rammed down their throats – and in the light of a county-wide fight-back by Labour, they’re terrified they’ll lose a county they’ve taken for granted for decades.
Labour candidate for Dunster, Andy Lewis, said “The spectacle of David Cameron and Nick Clegg descending on Somerset on the same day highlights the hypocrisy at the heart of the coalition government. Clegg’s feeble criticism of Tory policies at County Hall is an attempt to hide the fact that the coalition government’s failed policy of austerity has been the main cause of the squeeze on spending by councils across the country. . He has accused the Tories of sidelining compassion – but these are crocodile tears. The Lib Dems and the Tories are in it together – and Clegg should admit as much”
On May 2nd, show the austerity parties the door – vote Labour, Somerset’s only viable alternative.