There were calls last night for Britain’s MPs to end the culture of ‘flipping’ where they promise the electorate one thing to get elected, and then on coming to power do something either completely different or – quite often – exactly the opposite of what they’d originally promised.
‘Up until recently,’ said one leading political commentator, ‘it was always assumed by MPs that whatever they said to get elected was ‘part of the game’, and that no-one really expected them to mean what they said.’
Most political commentators say the public’s doubts about this blatant so-called ‘flipping’ began right back at the start of Del-Boy Blair’s premiership.
‘He had been elected mainly on a promise to end the so-called ‘Tory sleaze’, but almost immediately began doing exactly the same thing himself with the Ecclestone affair, Cash-for-honours and so much more. At the time they were elected Labour also promised to look after and improve the NHS and the education system, but they are no better, if not far worse, nowadays despite all those Labour pre-election promises,’ said a broadsheet political editor. ‘Whilst in power the Labour government also made many promises they later ‘flipped’ from the immediate danger from WMD in Iraq that turned out not to exist, right through to Brown’s claim to have ‘abolished boom and bust’, and his absurd assertion – for a politician – that he has ‘a moral compass’.’
As another senior political journalist said yesterday:
It doesn’t matter what the politicians say to get elected, once they are in power they always end up pandering to the Tabloids, chasing the headlines in whatever tabloid-engineered moral panic is currently screaming for ‘something to be done’. The politicians will then do anything, anything at all, even if it contradicts all their promises and public pronouncements to give the illusion of ‘doing something’, even when they don’t have a clue what ought to be done, and – frankly – don’t care as long as it makes the nasty headlines go away.
‘It’s common practice,’ one MP complained. ‘After all the whole point is to get elected and get down to the serious business of claiming as many expenses as you can. So, anyone in their right mind is going to promise everybody everything just so they can get elected. After all these days all the decisions are made in the EU, so we can’t really do all that much anyway, except bay like demented donkeys for the TV cameras in the chamber and try to get our pictures in the media.’
Another MP remarked:
I can’t see what the problem is. The electorate are not fools; they know election promises are not to be taken seriously. The only times they are shocked are when we actually do what we promised we would do.
‘Flipping?’ One member of the public responded, ‘we’ve always known that politicians are a bunch of… flipping bastards who would willingly sell their own families into slavery for political advantage, and then claim the shipping fees back on expenses. But, I suppose – if it ever did catch on – it would be nice for them to – even occasionally – do something they’d been elected to do, if only for the novelty value.’