So what did we learn from the non-debate debate in which Ed Miliband and Davie Cameron didn’t debate? The debate was really just an interrogation with Paxo who was clearly missing the monstering days of Newsnight when he got to dine on the fresh and quivering carcasses of politicians, it did not do much to add to the sum total of human enlightenment. Not that we’d have been any the wiser if the two of them had actually debated, we see them do that every week at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, and it typically consists of middle class schoolboys hurling none too witty insults at one another. Which doesn’t even have much in the way of entertainment value, never mind edification.
So what did we actually learn from the night’s proceedings? We learned that Davie Cameron is an out of touch toff who has not got the slightest idea how the rest of us live our lives. And we learned that Ed Miliband is an out of touch geek who has not got the slightest idea how the rest of us live our lives. It was like being invited to make a choice between a black and white episode of Upstairs Downstairs with no Downstairs, and a 1970s Open University broadcast on computer programming. Most people would choose to switch off, at least anyone with a modicum of sanity.
Ed Miliband was asked whether he was tough enough to be Prime Minister, to which he gave a reply that was a doomed attempt to channel Dirty Harry. Admittedly the only magnum he’s ever come anywhere near is the chocolate covered ice cream variety, but Ed’s so tough he can bite into it straight out of the freezer. Hell yes, Ed’s a tough and thick skinned geek, his fighting skills honed on the mean streets of Primrose Hill. He’ll challenge people who don’t pick up their dog’s crap with really nasty looks, and he’ll tsk furiously at littering, he’ll protect the innocent in posh coffee bars from nasty spillages and bacon sandwiches with a ready supply of paper tissues. If you need someone to protect your back in a fight, you know that you can rely on Ed to organise a letter writing campaign to the Hampstead residents’ monthly newsletter. Hell yes, bring it on. Ed’s got mail merge at the ready. He can wield a Labour policy statement like Thor wields his hammer, how tough is that? Ed’s as tough as guacamole and as threating as a flattened hedgehog. Ed’s so tough that he’s got street creds in two kitchens.
Yes, Labour got lots of things wrong, Ed admitted. They were wrong to allow the banks to regulate themselves. They were wrong about pretty much everything that happened over the course of the Blair and Brown years. But Ed wants us all to move on from that, which is politicospeak for let’s pretend none of it ever happened and let’s pretend that none of it will ever happen again. Even though it probably would, because this is the Labour party we’re taking about here. But most of all, it means let’s pretend that absolutely none of it is the fault of Eds Miliband or Balls.
When it was Davie’s turn, he gave a very good impression of a man who really wished that he’d sent his butler to deal with all these troubling questions instead. The whole point of being a posh Tory is that one gets a little man in to do the heavy lifting. Or indeed the light lifting, or even any sort of lifting at all. Lifting? What’s lifting? Isn’t that a manual labour working class thing performed by oiks on a zero hours contract? Isn’t that what an ATOS assessment is for?
When pressed, Davie admitted that he wouldn’t like to live on the proceeds of a zero hours contract, even though such things are jolly good for the working class students who have to lift things to pay for their education. Davie didn’t have to pay for his education himself, what with having a dad who was a millionaire.
Food banks? asked Davie, the only reason they’re being used more is because – as an act of kindness – the Tories now allow them to be advertised in Job Centres. This also means that there are fewer people begging on the streets, since they can just go directly to the food bank and beg there. It’s tidier all round. Following the success of this policy, Iain Duncan Smith is also now considering allowing Job Centres to advertise cliffs, bridges and high buildings which are ideal locations for depressed people who’ve been sanctioned to throw themselves off of. This will also reduce the unemployment statistics, making Tory economic policies seem like they’re working. It’s a win win, smiled Davie, all my rich pals think so.
Davie was forced to admit that he didn’t actually know anyone personally who didn’t have a personal fortune of less than ten million, or who earned less than his good friend Malkie Rifkind – who won’t get out of bed for less than eight grand for a morning’s work. Except his cleaner, he does know his cleaner, although he can’t quite recall her name. Lovely woman, salt of the earth, and she does wonderful things with a can of Pledge. How do you think that Davie’s face got so shiny?
By this time, faced with the utter bankruptcy of the UK’s traditional two party system, the average voter will have switched off in disgust. This is it, this is what it’s come to, our democratic choices reduced to picking between a useless geek who dreams he’s Clint Eastwood, or an entitled Eton schoolboy who’s had his entire life handed to him on a silver platter. Both of them offering slightly different flavoured servings of the same austerity pie – and you won’t be getting a slice of anything anyway. Vote Humpty, or vote Dumpty, your prospects will still be falling off the wall.
You don’t get any other choices UK voters – except, of course, for viewers in Scotland.
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