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Tuesday, April 07, 2015 

An election campaign broadside on behalf of all lazy Brits.

If you're me (and if you are, why is it you haven't killed yourself yet?), then on an almost weekly basis events will occur that make you declare you don't want to live on this planet anymore.  Kardashian hair colour changes treated like the second coming of Christ, Wayne Rooney goals celebrated in the same way as parents do a child taking its first solid dump, newspapers still focusing on the way politicians eat, as we just can't forget how Ed Miliband failed to take sustenance from a bacon sandwich in the approved fashion, all result in the survival instinct dithering just that little bit more.

And then something like yesterday's Sun front page comes along.  There are times when every single piece of information on a front page can be wrong, and yet it can still be completely unobjectionable, or you just roll your eyes and look away.  There are times when every single piece of information on a front page can be wrong, and it's so objectionable that more than 25 years later those affected by it complain if the editor responsible is given any sort of platform.  Then there are times when a front page has apparently been put together by someone who has been home-schooled by parents who have only ever communicated with their child through the nexus that is Google Translate.  The process of translating English to Albanian and then back again results in the child learning something vaguely resembling English, so they pick up the rudiments, but not much more.  To everyone else their work is completely indecipherable, and yet despite all the obstacles in their way they managed to get a job working for the country's leading tabloid newspaper.

At some point in the future, most likely in thousands of millennia, when Earth is discovered by an incredibly advanced race of creatures that have managed to overcome all the barriers in the way of intergalactic space travel, only then is it likely will there exist life on this planet that can explain just what was going through the minds of the Sun journalists behind yesterday's the REEM TICKET splash.  Every single thing about it is wrong.  The paper that objected so strongly to Emily Thornberry "sneering" at white van man declares that two reality TV stars speak for "hard-working Brits".  The headline, that no one, not even the people who claim to know what "reem" means, will be able to say makes sense.  The introduction to the article, that declares Joey and Amy to be TOWIE stars, except both left the show a while ago.  The photographs, that show two individuals not so much wearing make-up as the make-up wearing them.  And, of course, their "broadside" itself, which amounts to Joey, who just so happens to be making a programme on the election and so has been going behind the story to get to the real heart of our democracy (he's already met Nick Clegg) declaring that MPs need to like, grow up, and Amy, who thinks benefit scroungers need to have their mansions bombed.

It was though a long weekend that went from the ridiculous to the ridiculous.  On Saturday the Telegraph reported the contents of a "Foreign Office" memo that detailed how Nicola Sturgeon had supposedly told the French ambassador she'd "rather see Cameron remain as PM".  Immediately Sturgeon responded she had done nothing of the sort, and demanded an inquiry into how this forgery had escaped into the wild.  We've since learned it likely came from the Scotland Office, leaked by a civil servant, but not before various people claimed with all seriousness this was a conspiracy by the security services to damage the SNP.

Predictably, the reality is almost certainly far more prosaic.  It's highly unlikely Sturgeon was so loose-lipped, as indeed the full memo itself says.  The memo records what the French Consul-General says he was told by the ambassador, so it's the account based on what someone said to someone else to someone else about a conversation conducted via interpreters.  Something almost certainly was lost in translation.  Sturgeon may well have said she didn't think Miliband was prime ministerial, and probably said she expected David Cameron to remain as PM; as for whether she expressed a preference, probably not.  When you then take into consideration that the Telegraph has, as Private Eye has reported, thrown its lot in fully with the Tories for the duration, it makes even less sense for it to have reported something so helpful to Labour and damaging to both the SNP and the Tories, unless this was a leak not from the Tories but a civil servant with other sympathies.

We'll have to wait for the inquiry to report to see if it does shed any night, but it has nonetheless shown both the credulousness of some who've recently aligned with the SNP and the cynicism of the older warriors.  Of course Sturgeon and most within the SNP would prefer David Cameron to remain as PM, as they've prospered like never before under his tenure.  For a party that has been in power in Scotland for 8 years to still be presenting itself as the outsiders and managing to pull it off is frankly alchemical.  Sturgeon and Salmond's new line is about breaking up "the Westminster old boys' network", as if they're somehow new brooms rather than seasoned campaigners, while the rhetoric about "locking out the Tories" is calculated to the nth degree, designed to appeal to those still zooming while scaring the likes of the Mail.  The last thing they want is any kind of arrangement with Labour, with all the unquantifiables that would entail, no longer able to claim to be protecting Scotland when cuts are inevitable.  What's truly hysterical and must delight the SNP leadership are useful idiots like Adam Ramsay, who claims it'll be all the fault of the "selfish" behaviour of Jim Murphy and Scottish Labour when the Mail and Telegraph "rewrite the constitution" and install Cameron in Number 10 regardless of the election result.

Finally then to Tony Blair's flying visit to Airstrip One to declaim on how leaving the EU would be terrible for all those who don't have boltholes in one of the Middle Eastern kleptocracies.  Two things made apparent from his intervention: first, that despite everything the media still absolutely loves Blair, and as proved by his donning of a high-vis jacket, the de rigueur uniform for anyone wanting to rule, he still deeply wishes he was PM.  Quite whom he was meant to be appealing to though remains a mystery: regardless of the strength of his argument, and on the EU and quite possibly the EU alone he remains convincing, the Blair fan club is now so tiny as to be made up almost entirely of said journalists and fellow politicians.  We might have the poor man's Blair as our current PM, but most seem to have agreed to strike that fact from the record.  As for Blair himself, lovely as it would be to conclude that it's down to how he's haunted by his actions that he's slowly melting, you instead suspect his conscience remains clear.  As must those who can still be found to applaud and frot a man with absolutely no shame.

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