WHEN the history books are written, what will this General Election tell us about ourselves? It will remind us that we live in a country in which comedians attempt to coerce us into how to vote. I’m not talking about Ed Miliband and his tablet of stone – but more of that later.
I’m referring to the unedifying spectacle of high-earning, privileged individuals such as Steve Coogan and John Cleese carrying on like student activists, denouncing the “fear and loathing” of the so-called Tory press and urging us to vote Labour to keep press regulation in their self-protective favour.
They are entitled to their opinion of course. Frankly though, I’m sick of hearing what comedians have to say. Can there be anything more hypocritical than Steve Coogan’s video in support of the Labour Party, which opened with the immortal line, “I’m just an ordinary bloke…” An ordinary bloke who once threw £5,000 in used £10 notes on a bed for his topless model girlfriend and ordered her “Lie on them. Go on, lie on them”.
Isn’t there something dangerously self-seeking about all this? Here is a comedian whose own misdemeanours were exposed in detail by the media. And he is using his own experiences to try and sway the nation on the eve of a General Election which threatens to de-stabilise the very notion of what Great Britain stands for? Right. That’s democracy is it?
I just want the whole thing to be over so we can switch on the television without any danger of Coogan and Co. pontificating in our faces. If I wanted alternative comedy, I’d pay to go to a club. Sorry for being boring, but I like my General Elections serious. After all, we’re supposed to be deciding who will run the country, not who can shout the loudest.
Frankly, it’s been all about the ego. I don’t know about you, but I am heartily sick of seeing and hearing interviews and soundbites which end up telling us pretty much nothing.
And there was me thinking that General Elections were a chance for a chance for us to exercise our democratic right to vote, for politicians to put forward an agenda which we could either agree or disagree with, and for the country to make a collective decision about how we can move forward for the next five years. Silly me. That isn’t the way this election has panned out at all.
From an ordinary voter’s point of view at least, I can’t remember one as boring. Still, I suppose that if we create a vacuum, we can only expect it to be filled with hot air and sanctimonious invective. That’s what this campaign will be remembered for. I’ve got a question though. Have we become so dull-witted that we can only get to grips with the issues which shape our lives if they are served up to us by Russell Brand sitting on the end of his bed?
When those history books are written, where will the blame be laid? At our door – for caring more about what happens on The Island than in the House of Commons? Or will it be placed with politicians for caring more about what happens in the cut and thrust of Westminster than in our ailing town centres and neglected council estates?
There are individual MPs who are exceptions to this rule, of course. Overall though, they just don’t get it – or haven’t got it until it is far too late. How else can you explain some of the ridiculous stunts they have pulled these past few weeks? How else can you explain David Cameron suddenly realising that he needed to man up and show us what he is made of? After weeks of lack-lustre campaigning, he let rip with a speech at the Institute of Chartered Accountants which should have had the soundtrack to the Rocky movies running in the background. “If I’m getting lively, it’s because I feel bloody lively,” he blustered. And in case we hadn’t got the message, he spelt it out. “I really feel so passionate about this election!” You want comedy? This was it.
Oh yes, I hadn’t forgotten about Ed Miliband and his tablet of stone. If this has been a General Election campaign dominated by comedians, what was this ridiculous notion but Monty Python at its finest? It was so beyond satire, John Cleese couldn’t have done it better himself.