In mid-December I’ll be performing in a pantomime put on by my local radio station. The performance is just three days after the General Election on December 12. Inspired by the close proximity of the two events, I’ve been thinking; who’s who in this political party pantomime?
We’ll start with the Conservatives who fit most easily into the role as the charismatic ‘baddies’ — they are Captain Hook. A look at their recent election tactics which include impersonating a factcheck service during a TV debate and setting up a link to a fake Labour manifesto, reinforces this bold casting.
The Liberal Democrats want to portray themselves as the antithesis to the Conservatives with their pro-EU manifesto. They are Peter Pan dressed in yellow and their followers are the Lost Boys. Sceptics will say that this is symptomatic of a party refusing to leave Neverland. Supporters will retort that the Liberal Democrats are the voice of pro-Remain voters and all those who believe that the referendum was unjust and poorly fought. In order to have a larger say come election day their approach will require a little ‘Tinkering’.
Labour, the main opposition party, is Stinkerbell. They’re trying to please both sides with their promise of a new deal and a second referendum that has Leave on the ballot paper. Their problem is that quite a few pro-EU voters favour the Liberal Democrats whilst most Leave voters are enamoured with the Conservatives. On this second point Smee, played by the Brexit Party, has its moment on stage. The withdrawal of their 317 candidates from Conservative-held seats has given a huge boost to the Conservatives and their chances of winning a majority this December.
The SNP sits amongst this mix as Chief (Tiger Lily’s Dad), looking on rather bemused but nonetheless confident that, in their home territory, they’ll remain in control. Although, whether Chief held a referendum in 2014 on leaving Neverland is up for interpretation.
The Greens and Plaid Cymru, the latter unveiling their manifesto on the same day as the Brexit Party, are following the example of the Liberal Democrats. They, and The Independent Group for Change, are the Darling Children.
And so concludes our political party pantomime casting, unlike the Riverside Radio Peter Pan pantomime on December 15 — though the script is unfinished and the jokes are even worse. Furthermore, unlike a traditional pantomime, the ending of this one is down to us, the audience.
It will be the public who decides how it all ends. Who wins and who will hear the tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick …