Mugworts, mugwumps and the "C" words

29 April 2017, 20:52 | Updated: 29 April 2017, 20:55


If I see one more pink faced old duffer spout the phrase "coalition of chaos" on the news, I will heave my TV set out of the window.

The Tories are beside themselves with glee that one of their number, some dull spark, came up with that phrase to describe a band of unity between the other parties that could, in theory, lead the country after the next election.

The phrase is alliterative, it is almost a joke and they are so pleased with it that any Conservative spokes-model that goes on television winds their whole argument up to its deployment.

A memo must have gone round to include it in any appearance before the cameras.

They use it as though it is the wittiest, most devastating political put-down that they have ever heard.

You can see in their eyes as they near it, that they are tickled pink to be using it. They relate to the phrase like it is a safety blanket and cruise missile all rolled into one.

Boris Johnson only used half of it when he branded Jeremy Corbyn a "mutton-headed old mugwump" who would cause "security chaos".

Close, but not on message enough to add to the phrase's cumulative effect.

In fact, the insult tripped over its own shoelaces and fell flat on its face as everyone rushed to a dictionary to find the definition of a mugwump.

It auto-corrects to "mugwort" when tapping it into a search engine. A mugwort is a shaggy unkempt mess of a hedgerow topped with a blond crown.

Remind you of anyone?

The full obligatory Tory phrase is: "we need a strong and stable Conservative government rather than a coalition of chaos under Jeremy Corbyn".

The idea is to repeat that ad nauseum until even the dimmest bulb in the box can remember it and act accordingly, come election day.

The Americanisation of British politics is complete.

Any day now, someone angling for our vote will promise that once in power they will make everything "tremendous and great".

As for the notion that a coalition means chaos, here is an edited list of some of the countries in the world that are run in just such a way:

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand , Northern Ireland, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland.

All of those countries are run by coalitions of two or more parties.

None of them appear to be in chaos, apart from Switzerland, of course, but they keep it very hush-hush.

By the way, guess how many of those countries run by coalitions are among the top 10 happiest places on earth?

All of them, except Canada. Nine out of the top ten happiest places on earth are run by coalitions.

And do you know how many of the top ten national economies on earth are run by coalitions?

Most of them. In the world's ten biggest economies, just us, the US, China and Brazil are not governed by coalitions.

Of course, what happens in other countries does not necessarily apply here. A coalition running Great Britain might be a disaster, but that would be on us. It would not be because coalitions equal chaos.

Even a mugwort ought to be able to understand that.