Not really sure where this one has come from, I think I left the id in charge. I hope it at least tried to make sense.
Iain Dale’s clumsy tussle with a pensioner has received much attention. A lumpen, ungainly and bad-tempered flapping around that shows the sort of sneering superior attitude to an outsider protestor that lacks any element of surprise or single raised eyebrow of shock. These tales are not so twisty anymore. (since all this happened, Dale has apologised, the adrenalin rush now over) The shoving away of the oiks who might muddy a sales opportunity is what we have come to expect from the league of professionals who make up our politicians and those who surround them. A parliament of PR people and their silky friends who so often try and smooth things over, yet frequently end up stepping in even more dog shit and treading it into the Persian carpet that was a gift from a statesman dictator whose on our side for the time being. Never mind, get the maid to wipe the shit off and we’ll get another on tuesday.
When I am told of this new class of “professional politicians” I wonder how so many can be so inept when this isn’t a sideline to being a GP, miner or lawyer. This is the one job they are meant to be able to do, and they can’t. The quality of lying has become so amateur , the scandals so unimaginative and bland yet catastrophic.
Dale said he did what any self-respecting publisher would have done, I wonder how many times Victor Gollancz scuffled with a man holding cardboard and his dog for fear the oxygen of publicity might be burnt off too soon?
If your author is going to be upstaged by a lone grey man with a paper scarf of anti nuclear words and a no nukes dog, your problem may be the author not one man and his dog.
Apparently, when Walter Wolfgang was manhandled from the Labour party conference for barracking (and good barracking from the heart too as far as I remember), Dale wrote that this was typical of the new labour control freaks. There is a lack of proper, un-choreographed barracking in politics, apart from the mooing, braying and sneer yells of prime minister’s question time.
It wasn’t this filler of health and safety forbidden fish wrapping that made me think much, but reading of the different rules of when a distraction must be removed and when it is control freakery, when action is that of self-respecting and when action is that of the oppressive. I thought of my own two-faced justifications and probably yours too (apologies to the minority non Janus amongst you).
In the public and the personal, we can justify and demonise with aplomb, depending on who the perpetrator is.
The smooth switch from an opposition of promises to a position of power and a plethora of excuses is the spectator sport we watch if we participate in the tedium of TV coverage of party conferences. Like the average thrill ride at a faded seaside resort, we try to manufacture expectations of white knuckle excitement, even thought we know that in truth there will be disappointment and a sense of stupidity that we even toyed with hope. Conferences and Party political broadcasts are posters for 1950s drive in exploitation flicks, nothing advertised is as big or interesting or colourful, the only promise that may come true is that it might make you sick.
And yet, we still kid ourselves that we did the right thing. The tedium of the Labour voter berating the first time Lib Dem voter and telling them of how no coalition outrage would have happened if Labour held sway, somehow managing to ignore all that had gone on when they actually were in power. The Lib Dem voter nervously persuading themselves that their influence in power had really put the brakes on Tory outrages, and the Conservatives manicuring their safe pair of economic hands as the nail dust blows over the food banks and a zero hour contract worker gets 30 minutes of labour to sweep it into a dustpan.
I am cynical or sceptical of politics? In this world tussling between an Orwell prophecy and a Huxley future is it possible to have parties that are divided by any more than a few smears of social policy? Those images of UKIP that are meant to see some brave new party but is little more than a Death in Venice painted face crumbing to reveal a boozy tory wiping lipstick and bitter drool onto his monogrammed driving gloves.
I can delude myself in many ways, well I presume I can, obviously I have no idea which of the things I know to be true are my convenient fictions, but party politics has run dry for me now. It’s just another game to occupy some time, what isn’t? I wish I was old enough to be nostalgic for a government of my past, but there’s not even been a PM who smoked a pipe in my lifetime. I think the time taken to pipe clean and refill may have given them enough time to pause and think, tobacco pipes for parliament.
I am on tour and off to Bristol, Manchester, Radlett, Isle of Wight, Shoreham and 40 more. details of those things and new Christmas shows at Hammersmith with Brian Cox can be found HERE
NOTE – actually Harold Wilson was briefly in office when I was 6, but I am not sure he was a real pipe smoker, I always heard it was a public prop, so he might not count.