On a train – again. Politics and media: lunatics and asylums.

15 Jul

Thursday 14th July. Bastille Day. May Day. My day, if you’re interested is focused on getting to Charing Cross for an important meeting with a buddy of mine in Gordon’s wine bar. Since our country’s top politicos – and the huge media circus which follows them – are doing f… all work apart from spinning and speculating, me and my mate JT are going to do the same. With chilled Viognier.

JT is an NHS surgeon and I am a greybeard ex-teacher. I’ll be toasting the departure of goggle-eyed Nicky Morgan from her office of state and JT will ruminate that Jezza Hunt, the king of rhyming slang, is still pulling his strings.

It seems, so far, that Mother Theresa May-be is more than just a questionable fashion statement. She’s serious, unafraid and stateswoman-like. I say ‘so far’ because she has let one lunatic out of the asylum. Boris the Spider. She has given BoJo a motorbike to plough into the barbed wire of foreign affairs. It’s the Spider’s career lifeline and the world’s diplomats are sniggering at the prospect of him cutting himself to ribbons. Mother T has rolled the dice of opportunity for the arch-opportunist. Perhaps not such a silly punt?

Boris can banter multilingually. He’s no dummkopf and might enjoy unpicking the terms Glasnost and Perestroika with bad Vlad Putin. I can imagine amiable chats about Ukraine fuelled by a bottle of Stolichnaya. The Spider’s ability to debate improves with every shot, I’m told. The word shot gets lost in translation. For bad Vlad it means something different.

Mother T has savaged Cameron’s people to the unbridled joy of Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC’s ubiquitous, slant-mouthed rottweiler correspondent who can’t sleep until her thirst for politico gossip is slaked. When Mother T gets her boys and girls back to work and the general media orgasm has finally calmed, perhaps we’ll get news rather than the appalling newspeak of the last few weeks. Is it an idle hope that the standard and tone of public debate might rise from the gutter?

The depths which the Brexit-Remain conversation plumbed were shameful. Lies, dishonesty, ambition’s toxic ladder, project fear and fantasy – all did us a great disservice. We were part of it. The enfranchised: those who voted; those who did not. In the highest of places unsupported assertions were rubbished without proper thought and honest assessment – on both sides. And we all bought into it. Particularly the media whose voracious appetite for hype masked any attempt at proper analysis. What followed the cataclysm of Brexit has been worse – almost. The PLP has seen the chance to nuke the Corbynator, mildly hampered by their own idiotic selection procedures. The Labour Party is in mid self-immolation. The Tories wisely chose to withdraw from an unseemly circus of leadership hustings.

Ah. We have passed Tonbridge and I’m hoping for a clear run into Charing X now that Southern/Thameslink has withdrawn a large number of inconvenient trains littering the track. A guard has just inspected my ticket with great courtesy. I heard a man asking about recent strikes to which she replied ‘Don’t go there,’ with a wry smile. I think she meant Brighton.

Sevenoaks. A large group of French children is boarding. Gosh, they are lively but very well-behaved. I can’t quite see who is controlling them but I’d put him/her up to replace goggle-eyed Morgan at the Dept. for Education. If you can command the respect of 30 boisterous Europeans, it’s more than any of our politicians can manage at the moment.

Next to me a woman has just answered her phone, sotto-voce, saying “I don’t want to speak on the train. I’ll phone you later.” My spirits soar.

Not as much as when I meet my buddy and we relax into the sunny idyll that is the seating corridor at Gordon’s Wine Bar. Our conversation ranges over much that I have written herein. And more. The wine lubricated our already riveting conversation. He’s a socialist, I’m a liberal; we laughed in our joint despair. Where is Tim Farron, I cried? Who? he smartly sniped. And so on.

We parted with vows to repeat the experience soon and I skipped to Waterloo, then Wimbledon to catch the Thameslink train to Sutton. Only two minutes late. Result. Time to catch Ab Fab – the Movie at the Empire. A comical fantasy, like our political life. The tapas afterwards were more interesting. Both made me smile.

And then back to the news of Bastille Day in Nice. It’s where this blog started but not where I thought it would finish. Lunatics and asylums is horribly apt.

2 Responses to “On a train – again. Politics and media: lunatics and asylums.”

  1. Bri July 15, 2016 at 2:16 pm #

    Excellent, as usual Paul! Love your musings, this one in particular – you were wasted in teaching.

  2. Jon Whiteley July 19, 2016 at 4:11 pm #

    Tis the first of your blogs I have read and a fine piece it is too- how can Bri think you were wasted in teaching- no better role for the enlightened communicator- looking forward to the W Cup – wherever it will be x Z

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