The post-election spectacle of political elites negotiating, bluffing, spinning and intriguing to decide who will take up the offices of state has dominated the media since polling day.  The way in which it has progressed has been depressingly predictable: secret discussions by a cabal of the ‘political class’ while everyone waits passively for the outcome.

Media coverage has, as usual, been dominated by the superficial.  Politics as sport or soap.  Few commentators get beyond speculation on the likelihood or desirability of Clegg supporting either the Conservatives or Labour.  Those few who point out that, in reality, the outcome is unlikely to be very different either way are drowned out by the froth.  In today’s Guardian Gary Younge makes the obvious point that, whatever deals are done by the parties, it is the ‘markets’ that have the decisive hand.  The markets want a stable government to deliver austerity cuts to public spending and all the parties are willing to oblige with more or less enthusiasm.  The conservatives are obviously impatient to do to the country what Thatcher did to the miners, but Labour is more than willing to do whatever it takes to return to ‘business as usual’.

The question is not Which side are you on, Clegg, Labour or Conservative?  (I am sure he will be able to ditch any number of his principled positions in order to serve with Cameron in the ‘national interest’).  But rather, which side are they all on?  Perhaps when people see a coalition of the damned and desperate start to dismantle public services, sack workers (or “free them to the private sector” as it will be described) and deepen the recession they will be less inclined to put their trust in our dear leaders.