Election mood - you can't polish a turd

The UK election has a bad ordure. It may be the smell of a rotting system but could it also mean it is so far gone it can't come back to life?
Anthony Barnett
Anthony Barnett
12 April 2010

The UK election has a bad ordure. It may be the smell of a rotting system but could it mean it is so far gone it can't come back to life? There is a tremendous sense of dissatisfaction among the public. If a change of regime is on the way Cameron won't arrive with a Blairite sense of a "new dawn". That's how it feels - and that's why I'm working on spreading the idea of 'Hanging' the two main parties. More on this soon. As if to confirm the sense of the undead hanging over us Paul Waugh of the London Evening Standard reported that Brown in the course of a photo-shoot had walked under a sign saying "You can't polish a turd". Apparently the smaller sign nearby added, "...but you can roll it in glitter". It would have been just as appropriate had David Cameron had been there. All of which creates a wonderful opportunity for Nick Clegg, who alas told the Observer that he is "not campaigning for a hung parliament". However, he'd be happy if there was one. Let's see if we can oblige.

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Boris Johnson's government stands accused of 'COVID cronyism', after handing out staggering sums of money to controversial private firms to fight COVID-19. Often the terms of these deals are kept secret, with no value-for-money checks or penalties for repeated failures which cost lives. And many major contracts have gone directly to key Tory donors and allies – without competition.

As COVID rates across the country surge, how can we hold our leaders accountable? Meet the lawyers, journalists and politicians leading the charge in our free live discussion on Thursday 1 October at 5pm UK time.

Hear from:

Dawn Butler Labour MP for Brent Central and member of the House of Commons Committee on Science and Technology

Peter Geoghegan Investigations editor, openDemocracy, and author of 'Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics'

Jolyon Maugham Barrister and founder of the Good Law Project.

Peter Smith Procurement expert and author of 'Bad Buying: How Organisations Waste Billions through Failures, Frauds and F*ck-ups'

Chair: Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief of openDemocracy

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