The Week in Politics: Party like it’s 2008
Retro keeps getting closer. In my first year of university, all the cool kids were dressed in 1920s outfits. By the time I left they'd reached the 70s.
Politics has followed the trend. The previous two years have been an 80s explosion. Strikes, Falklands and a movie about Thatcher – all Cameron needed to do was reshuffle Ken Clarke into the Treasury, play a bit of Madonna and it would have been a full house. Instead, fashion moved swiftly on, and this week we were back in the mid-noughties.
Civil liberties were back in the headlines. Ken and Boris were re-enacting early Thick of It episodes in a lift. Retro had finally caught up.
The Home Office was up to its old tricks. First it leaked some online surveillance measures to the press. Quite what the measures were was hard to tell, because it wouldn't tell anyone. Bit of a chicken and egg thing. It turned into one of those political storms with a hole in the centre – the hole being an actual policy.
Alas, the old defenders of civil liberties were fatally compromised. The Lib Dems, stained by government, were meek and quiet. David Cameron's heroic crusade against the overbearing state was nowhere to be found. There were stirrings though and that's all that's required to force a government U-turn nowadays. The policy, whatever it was, would now be put in draft legislation – not the Queen's Speech, as previously stated. And while they were at it, the justice secretary would water down his secret justice plans.
Just another beautifully managed bit of political theatre from the coalition government. Suave competency combined with an unflappable bedside manner.
Mid week there was a little bit of 80s retro nostalgia with the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Falklands war. They were off script. 80s retro is so 2011.
Instead, we were treated to the Boris, Ken and Brian show, a shot-for-shot remake of the 2008 classic. I doubt they'll even brother changing the ending.
The candidates clashed over violent crime, but their main war centres on tax. Ken says Boris doesn't pay enough on his various funding streams (which amounts, by the way, to quite the salary). Boris says Ken is a tax avoider. They had a barnstorming little tiff live on radio and then walked to a lift, where Boris told Ken he was "a f**king liar, a f**king liar, a f**king liar". Because sometimes one "f**king liar isn't enough.
Afterwards, Ken held up the ceasefire sign and called for a higher standard of political debate. He's such a spoilsport.