Armando Iannucci got me through the last general election with a number of sharply observed and very funny https://isobelandcat.wordpress.com/tag/aramndo-iannucci/ in The Independent newspaper. But last year he said that British politics had become too bland for humour.
With a general election not due until May, you may be wondering why I am thinking about this now. Well, there’s been a change. We now have fixed term elections. So as well as being so legislation-lite there almost wasn’t a Queen’s Speech in 2014, our politicians started their election campaigns yesterday. Heaven help us, we now have four months, four months, of posturing, bickering and oneupmanship to look forward to with neither Armando Iannucci or Simon Hoggart to leaven the dough. It’s a pretty dire prospect.
Hoggart, easily the most entertaining political sketch writer by several miles, died a year ago yesterday from pancreatic cancer. A friend of mine interviewed him once and found him modest and courteous. He used her surname in a piece published the following day in The Guardian. An ex-neighbour worked with him and admired his wit and intelligence, and loved him as a friend. John Crace is alright, but he isn’t the must read that Hoggart was. Though give him his due, they were hard shoes to fill. Here‘s some more of Simon Hoggart’s writing, this time for The Spectator, in case you are not yet convinced.
So there is a vacancy for a hero or a heroine to step forward and puncture the pomposity and ludicrous claims we are already starting to hear. Like the NHS is safe with the Tories. Yeah right, and the other one has bells on. Or that Ed Miliband is a charismatic and inspiring speaker. Sorry, I nearly fell asleep just writing that. Or the Lib-Dems is the party that is going to make a difference. Or UKIP is just what we all need.
While our politicians are falling over themselves to say they will be tough on immigration to save the tax payer (immigrants pay taxes too, but won’t be able to vote); be tough on benefit scroungers which every investigation finds is minimal; be tough on health tourism, see above; the bankers and financiers will carry on ripping us off, taking every penny and getting big bonuses. But they can’t be touched. Channel 4 news tonight carried a story of how the top bankers have already be paid more this week than most people will earn all year, and if wages go up, they will expect rises too.
I find it obscene; immoral; shameful. And one of the main arguments against limiting these people’s pay is that they will leave and go and work in another country where they will get more money.
As a definition of greed, it doesn’t get much clearer than that.
I want Angela Merkel to be Prime Minister. Okay, I admit it’s unlikely to happen, but that woman has backbone. She’s not too hot with satire, but she certainly hasn’t lost her moral compass. You don’t find her kowtowing to xenophobic crowds blaming immigrants for their ills. Not she. She reminds us of our humanity and our responsibilities; “Worldwide there are more refugees than we have seen since the Second World War. Many literally escaped death. It goes without saying that we help them and take in people who seek refuge with us.”
I understand she’s coming to London tomorrow. I wonder if we could get her to stay.