By Mike Small
“What does it say about an establishment that relies on fear+ celebrity. It tells us it is in decline, intellectually bankrupt+ out of ideas.”
– Jonathon Shafi, RIC
New waves of idiocy as BoJo replaces Nigel as the British media class’s poster boy. As someone tweeted: “The BBC’s reaction to this Boris news is like proud owners, watching the dog they’ve trained for years, finally win Crufts.” Just as Nick Clegg was crafted, honed and cultivated from his extraordinary ‘leaders’ debate’, followed by Nigel Farage’s grooming on Question Time and wrap-around news coverage, we can now expect Boris Johnson to be propelled into the sunlight of broadcast news, daily. His upper class buffoonery and sweeter-than-Nigel xenophobia is like honey to the British establishment. If Farage was the BNP in suits, Boris is Farage out of the golf club and into the saloon bar.
Politics has long ago become about personality, with figures analysed for their looks, their styling above their substance or their ideas.
Now comes a new wave of soft nonsense, as political debate swings from the vindictive and manipulative (‘Miliband: Poor afflicted if Scotland loses the pound’) to the absurdist as a legion of SLEBS and tax-dodgers man the barricades mouthing gibberish about Scotland. It’s the constitution as light entertainment brought to you by Simon Cowell, Andrew Lloyd Webber and more.
The sabre-rattling London Evening Standard pronounced an: “Army of Stars say why Scotland should say no to independence”.
Once it had been established this wasn’t giant Scotlandshire-sized hoax, reality dawned that this was actually the substance of Better Together/No Thanks/UK:OK/United Together’s campaign, veering wildly from smear to grimace.
This is actually real. This is not a spoof.
For all the gnashing and wailing about ‘the quality of debate’ and ‘I just want the facts’ that is belched out by the media as if there wasn’t an encyclopedic quantity of verifiable data out there, now along comes Tom Daley, Ben Fogle and Kirsty Allsopp.
They must somehow have confused us with a different nation, a group of halfwits who make political decisions based on what the celebrity voices of a sort of moron culture think.
If there was a low point for political campaigning, this is it.
From the delightful Rod Liddle (‘Scots are Alcoholics and Drug addicts’) to the super-friendly David Starkey to the wonderful Andrew Lloyd Webber (“We have to vote Tory,” he said. “They do represent our only hope when times get rough”) – the latest LoveBombing is like a roll-call of vaudeville Britain, with Dame Vera Lynn and Barbara Windsor in a chorus of yesteryear. It’s a desperate swan song for a failed political project.
While one side creates a sea of literature, and brings a whole new focus to understanding power and exploring new solutions, new paths, new ways forward for our society’s grievous problems, the No campaign comes up with Ronnie Corbett. While one in five of Scotland’s children are officially recognised as living in poverty, and in some areas over one in three children grow up in poverty (Source CPAG), Better Together give us a lecture from Cliff Richard.
We are constantly being told that this isn’t an emotional debate, to ignore ‘Braveheart’ then this? As Dan Snow, husband to Lady Edwina Grosvenor, the second daughter of the 6th Duke of Westminster puts it: “But more than the celebrities, this is the view of the majority of people in the rest of the UK.” At a time of sweeping austerity, mounting inequality and disfiguring poverty, this isn’t a love letter, it’s an insult.
This is politics from the tramadol culture. Democracy brought to you Celebrity Central.
But here’s the good news. Location Location Location: these people don’t have a vote on Sep 18th. The rich and famous lose their power for one day.