Looking for a Hero(ine)

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.

11 thoughts on “Looking for a Hero(ine)

  1. I am absolutely sure you do not want Angela to be Prime Minister – but I get the sentiment. Would seem your national electoral politics are as frozen in indecision as ours. But really, Angela, much as we might enjoy her as a spectacle, is not a political comrade.

    Don’t believe I have offered best wishes for the New Year to you and the MasterB. Will you commemorate your wrist?

    • Her integrity, intelligence and straightforwardness mark her as giant in a world of political pygmies who are all to ready to compromise any belief system they might possibly once have had in order to win a vote.

      My wrist is celebrated every day I use it normally, but it is much more achy than in warm weather, something I shall have to get used to I suspect. The best way of celebrating it will be when I finally start riding my bike regularly again. However, I am not sure when that will be.

      How are you celebrating yours?

  2. It seems to me the only belief system most politicians have is in themselves and getting themselves re-elected. Definitely not what is required to run the country with integrity, compassion and care.

    • Unfortunately, I agree. Depressing isn’t it. And watching the government make the NHS unworkable in order to have grounds to destroy it is like watching a master class in cynicism.

  3. I love the film and TV work I’ve seen from Iannucci, but I was not familiar with his columns in The Independent. Looking forward to delving into those. I fear our politics have also become too bland for satire, Jon Stewart and John Oliver excepted. Or maybe we have just stopped caring after years of the same stale agendas.

    • I loved The Thick of It. But have not seen Veep. He is very sharp, very funny. I think you’ll enjoy the Yes Wigan campaign. Remembering it still makes me smile.

      • Thanks for that! In the aftermath of our last couple elections, this bit really struck home:

        “The truth is, we haven’t been abandoning politicians – they’ve been abandoning us. The main parties have run recent elections focusing on smaller and smaller tribes of supporters in the hope that the bare minimum will squeeze them through. They realistically hope to form a government on the basis of 33% of the vote and they will point to those of us who choose to sit this one out as a validation of that complacency.”

        (And I’ve only seen a couple episodes of “Veep,” but it’s very funny and seems in a similar vein to the other work of his I’ve seen. I LOVE “In the Loop;” I have forced countless people to watch that film. Peter Capaldi is brilliant; I can’t think of anyone who’s done such artistic justice to profanity.)

        • I haven’t seen In the Loop, but it’s a spin off from The Thick of It and Malcolm Tucker has turned swearing into an art form. I seem to be sending you lots if links, so I shall try to restrain myself and just give a quote from an interview with Patrick Cockburn in yesterday’s Guardian.
          “To have an effective terrorist attack, you require the complicity of governments – through creating an overreaction, the collective punishment of communities that are deemed responsible, torture, wars and so on. This is true whether it’s the American government after 9/11, or the tsarist government at the end of the 19th century.”

        • Just thought, you might enjoy seeing if you can find a clip of Peter Capaldi on the. Graham Norton Show last autumn. It may be on YouTube.

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