British politicians, It’s not unreasonable to suggest, are not held in especially high regard; for reasons too numerous and wearyingly familiar to expound here. And yet last night’s leadership debate offered fresh delights. New opportunities to sharpen one’s contempt and indulge in some, as the parlance of the day would have it, LOLZ.
Watching The Grubby Chancer attack the Eton Rifle for his recent governmental record, for example, you’d be forgiven for assuming the Lib Dems had spent the last five years furiously manning the barricades and lobbing Molotov Cocktails into the bourgeois eateries where the 1922 Committee meets. Instead of, as we well know, actually being part of that government and rejecting any and every opportunity to withdraw Lib Dem support and see the coalition crumble. It would, therefore, have been a most uncharitable soul who would’ve denied The Jellyfish his moment of unadulterated glee: “They’re blaming each other!” he exclaimed, before delivering, in all fairness, a truly great punch-line: “And they’re both right!”
The Racist, disconcertingly resembling a bellicose bullfrog more and more these days, is not a man to allow taste, decency or humanity to interfere in the serious business of demonising foreigners. His impressive resistance to those qualities displayed itself in even bolder form, however, when he insisted those AIDS-ridden dregs daring to come to the UK so they might just be able to, you know, live be denied. You just can’t fake the class a decent public school gives a chap.
The Lass from The Valleys was quickest off the mark suggesting The Racist be ashamed of himself. A suggestion that, one can only conclude, is as likely to be heeded as The Jellyfish declaring that “We will now proceed to construct the socialist order.”
Talking of lasses, there can be little doubt that Mz. Sturgeon was the surprise turn of the evening. So effective was she that those English persons previously given to bitching about Jocks coming down here and founding their national bank, sharing their penicillin, steam engines, telephones and whatnot, underwent conversions which could only be described as Damascene.
Yes, now it seems a significant number of our English brothers and sisters are demanding SNP candidates stand in the leafy Tory shires. One wag of my acquaintance going so far as to suggest the Scottish border be extended to the Watford Gap. Which would certainly make the phrase ‘the Deep South’ amusingly analogous…
The reaction of the Brit left was instructive. Once upon a time breaking up states, wrecking constitutions and so forth, was popular among communists, socialists and assorted revolutionaries. These days, seemingly, such things are passé. They’ve even got a new name for it: ‘pandering to nationalism’ they call it. As opposed, one can only presume, to pandering to the state, the Union and continuing austerity?
For example, twice The Jellyfish hung his head in what must be the closest thing to shame a machine politician can ever know. Firstly, on his assertion that under his premiership the minimum wage would rise to eight quid an hour by 2020, The Ozzie’s left-hook response of ten quid an hour landed the first of a number of embarrassing blows.
There was more. The Jellyfish, vainly scrambling for some lefty high-ground, insisted that corporate interests be allowed to make no more than five percent profit from the NHS. Whereupon the female trio successfully deployed outflanking manoeuvres stating that no profit at all should be made by anyone from the NHS. Ouch.
And that, in essence, was what really mattered about last night, insofar that such political beauty contests can ever be said to really matter. On one side The Eton Rifle, The Jellyfish and The Grubby Chancer comprise the Austerity All-Stars. On the other hand Progressive Social Democracy United with Captain Sturgeon as striker, Bennett spraying crosses from the left wing and Wood, in a holding mid-field role, offer an anti-austerity alternative.
Politics as the beautiful game eh? It could be…