There is a a quotation from an alleged but anonymous Norwegian journalist* about England’s approach to international association football tournaments that is popular on the internet:
Hyper expectation, dawning realisation, bitter recrimination, inquest, forget, repeat.
I don’t know much about football, but it sounds awfully like the British approach to politics. It reminds me of William Hague’s “four phases of New Labour”, namely: “fascination, admiration, disillusionment and contempt.” The trouble for him was those phases took 13 years to play out, whereas football operates on a two-year cycle.
How long, then, has the coalition got?
That was the question that lurked behind the shrubbery in the Downing Street garden yesterday, as David Cameron and Nick Clegg circulated among journalists at the Prime Minister’s reception for members of the parliamentary lobby. It’s the warm summer evening of the coalition, which has had a more upbeat, Blairlike start than the commentariat thought it would. How long will it last? Few of the wise ones think much beyond 2015; but I see no reason why Cameron, and Clegg, should not stave off the reckoning for another five years beyond that.
*It is difficult to trace the source, not least because my Norse is deficient, and because The Times’s search engine comes up with an article by Matt Dickinson on 28 June that does not contain the words. To complicate matters further, The Times’s content is no longer on the (paid-for) Lexis Nexis digital library, and a search on the (paid-for) NLA Clipshare can’t find it either.