Texts, tyrants and trade-offs
Last week, there was a significant anniversary. Punch and Judy were 350 years old. At least the first mention of Punch, in Samuel Pepys’ diary, was dated on May 9, 1662.
Over time, of course, the dysfunctional relationship between the titular pair has become shorthand for the manner of political governance under which we, the hoi polloi, are ruled. We complain about it, suggest it’s a juvenile way to run a nation – with cat-calls across a crowded, wood-panelled, high-ceilinged room.
Then, when a different way of going at government is tried – the coalition – we express annoyance that nothing gets done, that Nick and Dave are only interested in public displays of affection, as witnessed in the renewal of their civil partnership vows last week.
We do like a moan.
However, trying to reach accommodation is not in and of itself a bad thing or reason to call a halt. The usual urge to do things to appease the party faithful at the extremes – to electioneer rather than govern – is tempered.
I am more concerned that our Prime Minister signs off his texts ‘LOL’. I was surprised to learn several months ago he had found the time to finish Angry Birds – that takes some going. But his means of signing off of texts, as revealed by Rebekah Brooks at the Leveson Inquiry, is more dispiriting. It makes it feel like he’s chatting on Bebo, not making hard choices as the chief. The fact that he misunderstood what it meant makes it even worse – like he was trying too hard.
Michael Gove made an interesting plea this week to address our “profoundly unequal society”, where social mobility remains choked.
That is something of substance to look at – and throws David Cameron’s own approach into harsher light.
Tough times call for tough leaders. Last week, Sacha Baron Cohen unleashed his newest creation, General Aladeen. His policies are a little reactionary; he risks his life to make sure democracy never comes to his nation, Wadiya.
Our PM appears to have a taste for fads and rising trends. If he starts to favour militaristic jackets and epaulettes we need to be on guard…
If you have any comments please email me at: email@example.com