The most striking thing about this new, self-styled “Phoenix Coalition” is exactly that – its name. It appears to have taken the most peculiarly unorthodox decision in British politics to select a soubriquet for itself, and designed a logo to boot.
Can you imagine David Cameron and Nick Clegg swaggering into the Downing Street rose garden in 2010, and unveiling, proudly, to the gaggle of obstreperous hacks, not only a pretentious self-chosen nickname but an elaborate motif, the famous eagle of the Liberal Democrats perched and the Royal Oak of the Conservative and Unionist Party? More importantly, can you picture the scene with an intrusive smirk finding its way onto your face?
For a coalition that has clearly put more effort into polish rather than policy, names in lieu of numbers, and graphics instead of actual governance, one wonders precisely what to expect from the next several months aside from a logo which promises overuse before long and a vague set of founding tenets that makes Gwyneth Paltrow look original.
The invocation of Ms. Paltrow seems particularly apposite, considering her infamous ‘Goop’ products come with a heavy price, look pretty and do exactly nothing – they are gimmicks, and so is this coalition.
While the imagery of the Phoenix, a majestic, spellbinding bird riding gloriously from the ashes is, I am sure, what the government would like to identify with, I’m afraid it will take some convincing that this coalition is not going to simply crash and burn. With a comfortable right of centre majority in the House of Commons and a beleaguered Labour Party at the helm of this leaky ship of state, it’s no wonder that all we’ve had so far is window dressing.
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