Sketch: What hope for democracy when consensus breaks out?

Share
Related Topics

It is not the proper function of politicians to agree. Yes, the public disapproves when they argue, but that is what they supposed to do in a democracy. If you wanted to watch politicians agreeing, you could have tuned into the 18th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party a fortnight ago.

But agree they did. George Osborne had done a good job of preventing the name of the new Governor of the Bank of England from leaking to the press, so for once, MPs heard it first. They loved that. It made them feel that the Chancellor thinks that they matter. Piling on the flattery, Mr Osborne also announced that the new Governor, Mark Carney, is prepared to be questioned by the Treasury select committee before taking up in the job, as if MPs were part of the decision-making progress.

Moreover, Ed Balls was so pleased that someone he knows has landed an important job that he abandoned his usual role of sitting on the front bench making annoying hand gestures to wind up ministers. Instead, he praised the Chancellor.

As he spoke, you could see John Redwood, the brains of the Tory party's anti-EU, free-market wing, nodding in agreement. George Osborne was so pleased he talked about wanting to bottle up this consensus for future use. When all the politicians agree like this, it can only portend disaster.

After the Chancellor – or Posh Boy Two, as Nadine Dorries thinks of him – came the turn of Posh Boy One. David Cameron reporting back from a Brussels summit ought to be an occasion for faction-fighting all round, with the Prime Minister receiving at least as much aggro from his own side as from the Opposition, but it just was not like that. Mr Cameron had left Brussels without signing an agreement that nobody thought he should have signed. Ed Miliband did his half-hearted best to disagree, but there was nothing much to disagree about.

The one moment when the exchange threatened to come alive was when Michael Fabricant, the Conservative vice-chairman whose suggestion of an electoral pact with Ukip was revealed in yesterday's Independent, stood up to raucous cheers. He pointedly congratulated David Cameron on forming a "pact" with Germany and like-minded EU members, and David Cameron pointedly congratulated him on getting the vote out in Corby. That is the town where the Tories have lost a seat to Labour for the first time in 16 years: but at least they kept Ukip down in third place.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Whitehall Editor: The spurious Tory endorsement that misfired

Oliver Wright
 

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband hasn’t ‘suddenly’ become a robust leader. He always was

Steve Richards
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence