In this cartoon from The Independent, Dave Brown uses a well-known idiom to comment on the state of the UK's coalition government.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron is portrayed as a decorator who has just wallpapered over his Lib Dem coalition partner and deputy PM Nick Clegg. He has several rolls of wallpaper under one arm, and is carrying a pot of wallpaper paste and a brush. He is wearing overalls.
"David Cameron has called on Tories and Lib Dems to put aside their differences and unite behind the coalition. Mr Cameron made the appeal in an article in the Sunday Times in the wake of last week's Conservative revolt over Lib Dem-led House of Lords reform. He warned the coalition against falling into "division and navel-gazing". But the chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee said he believed the coalition was "very likely" to end before the 2015 general election." Read more >>
To paper over the cracks means to hide problems or faults, especially arguments between people, in order to make a situation seem better than it really is. The two-party coalition has so far been successful in papering over the cracks. The idea is that if the walls in your house have cracks in them, rather than carry out an expensive and difficult repair job, you simply opt to wallpaper over the cracks. The cracks are still there, but you can't see them. So the cartoon acts as a metaphor for the situation within the coalition.
You hang wallpaper using wallpaper paste. Wallpaper is also a verb. • I only wallpapered the living room last year and now my wife wants to redecorate the whole house.
• David Cameron calls for coalition unity amid Lords divisions (BBC News)
• Cracks form in UK coalition over House of Lords reform (The Globe and Mail)
• Cameron tells coalition parties: work together (Reuters)