A lovely thing happened in the world of UK politics yesterday. That's an odd sentence to write, I admit. Up until yesterday, if the adage "start as you mean to go on" has any bearing to it, then based on events so far, politics in 2012 is due to be a year round serving of uneasy quiche.
We've had Labour prove more times in a week that they are barely an opposition party at all, more of an opposition gathering - the type where you turn up expecting a party only to find its only six people, all of whom you dislike but you can't leave too early or it'll be rude, and there's not enough booze.
Despite having Balls, Labour appear really not to have any actual ones at all, stating that they would be accepting the cuts to become 'more credible' in an announcement that feels like it could only be matched by the Green Party funnelling cow farts into the sky with radioactive tubes and the Anti-Nazi League deciding that after everything, they really dislike the Jewish.
This was then followed by Diane Abbott's wonderfully misconstrued Twitter comment on white people, Milliband's further terribly timed Twitter error of "Blackbusters" and ultimately we learned that maybe to retain the credibility they so deserve they should probably just stay off the internet and hire a lot of proof readers. I can only think that this is part of a master plan to seem so ridiculous that they get the vote because the British public like a laugh. To be fair, it worked for Boris Johson.
On top of this the first few weeks of TweTwe (as I've so deemed it, not least because it feels slightly unpleasant to say) have also given us Scottish Parliament's demands to leave the UK.
This decision was so wonderfully dealt with by the ever tactful David Cameron who has made such comments as 'it's less a referendum, more a never-endum', which, for someone who made derogatory remarks about Tourette's sufferers last week, couldn't have felt more like something the batty uncle at Christmas dinner might say, loudly, followed by a silence. It also can't help persuade Scotland to stay with the UK at all when they can visibly see the constituency boundaries being changed in Wales in a move to so obviously help the Conservatives. I would advise never playing the Tories in a game of noughts and crosses for fear they'd just erase various lines so that they had 6 squares to put their Xs in while you were left with one, on the outskirts for a small O.
And on top of all that - which I might add excludes Michael Gove's further odd proposals making me believe this is all just revenge for the fact that at the end of his education he was cursed to look forever more like a withered school boy, and Clegg's constant reassuring that he will 'save the youth' with his internships; a statement so reassuring you'd feel safer sitting next to a wolf who promised not to eat your grandma despite his previous record - there was the continuation of trying to shove the Welfare Reform Bill through the House of Lords. I say shove, because the government knows that such a shoddy bill can't be approached any slower for fear more people may actually read it and it'll be deemed that using a Dr.Suess writing's for an NHS reform would have more gravitas because at least he pretends to have a medical title.
Well yesterday Andrew Lansley's medical equivalent of the Doomsday Book suffered another much deserved blow when the Lords voted against three of the most vicious proposals on Employment and Support Allowance. If you ever needed proof of the evil intent of the Coalition (and to be honest you could just look into George Osborne's eyes where you'd see the screaming souls of dead children. Probably.)
Then these three proposals are such conclusive evidence even Columbo would take half a day off. Firstly there was the notion that cancer patients would have to be means tested after 12 months, because as we all now, hey guys, those with severe cancer are back up and leaping over lampposts in no time after all that chemo? No? No. Then there was the notion that young disabled people would stop receiving contributory ESA despite the fact that due to their condition they would never be able to work. Because that's fair right? Why should they receive money if they physically can't work and may never be able to? Its so unfair that all us able bodies types have to work instead of just farting around at home in our pants while those who suffer everyday doing basic everyday things get to skive off huh? Really. Read that in your favourite typical 'Daily Mail' reader voice and it feels like they've pulled these ideas from one of Dante's artworks. Excuse me while I set the equality clock back to the Middle Ages. The Lords also rejected the 12 month limit for those claimants who are judged capable of working in the future.
Why did they defeat those proposals? I'm not sure but I'm guessing its because no matter how irrelevant the House of Lords has been deemed in the past, or how many times they've tried to reform it, perhaps the experience of its members means they actually give a shit about humanity. That's all it is. Actually, y'know, caring for fellow humans like we all should. Its not that hard really. Cameron said before Christmas that he wanted the country to return to 'Christian Values'. Yes, there might have been a small retch in your mouth as there was mine when I heard that. But regardless of how much that idea may disturb me on the surface, its a statement that has only made him and the Conservatives seems even more critical. As well as not 'casting out the bankers and overturning the tables of the moneylenders' they are also ignoring the sick and weak and making no moves to help those in times of need.
So there is a small nugget of sweetcorn in the political shit stack we are likely to suffer in 2012. With no party actually standing up for the general public - Labour's stance on the Welfare Reform Bill appears to be just to every now and then wimper a bit at the back - maybe we have the elders on our side like in folklore times. Let's just hope there are other small breakthroughs like this before we find a huge Hadrian's Wall rebuild happening and disabled English citizens getting fake border papers in order to have a GP check up in the 'promised land'.*
* As I was about to finish this is turns out that the Amendment 45a in the Welfare Reform Bill stands meaning that disabled children lose their guarantee to ESA in future. There's those grey clouds again. Sigh.
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