Wee Dougie Alexander, the political patron saint of holy wullies, has got himself a new job after being booted out by the voters of Paisley at the last election. The Guardian described Wee Dougie’s debacle as a shock defeat for the Labour party, but the only people shocked by it were Wee Dougie and the Westminions. The rest of us didn’t think it was shocking, we thought it was comedy karmic come-uppance.
After spending a few months avoiding a work assessment interview with the jobbie centre, Dougie has now been appointed as a poverty sermoniser for the only man on the planet with a bigger ego than your average former Labour shadow foreign secretary. Bono of U2 is paying Dougie a very large amount of money in order to allow Bono to believe that he’s a serious spokesperson on world poverty, and not just an ego with sunglasses and a back catalogue from the 1980s and 90s, which is the last time that U2 were relevant. Coincidentally the 1990s is also the last time that the Labour party were relevant, so you can see where the mutual attraction lies.
Dougie likes giving sermons, and Bono likes preaching, so it’s a match made in marketing heaven. Now Bono has another member of his entourage to take on the two planes he needs when he jets into a developing nation to hug an elderly person with a lip plug. One plane is required for Bono and his hangers on, the other is for the sunglasses and the hat. Although to be fair, Bono has listened to the critics who have pointed out the hypocrisy of jetting in on a private plane in search of a photo opportunity about poverty, and from now on the sunglasses and the hat will be flying economy.
Bono is the only person in the music business that even Chris Martin of Coldplay can feel superior to. He has a famously big ego. It is said in Ireland that the only difference between God and Bono is that God doesn’t wander around Dublin imagining he’s Bono. Although that’s a bit cruel, as Bono doesn’t wander around Dublin imagining he’s God, he’s got a luxury car with a private driver.
You’d also think that he might actually manage to find what he still hasn’t found what he’s looking for if he took off those pissing sunglasses. But at least he did finally explain why it is that he always wears sunglasses and a hat, even indoors. It’s because he’s a tit. Bono’s only redeeming feature is that he isn’t a middle aged man who calls himself The Edge. A middle aged wealthy man is as Edgy as a platinum credit card and a reservation in a posh restaurant. As edgy in fact as a former Labour foreign secretary with a penchant for writing pseudo-intellectual articles in the Scotsman about Scottish philosophers in which he manages to spell all the philosophers’ names wrongly.
It’s quite an appropriate appointment really. U2 are infamous for their tax arrangements, and Dougie was infamous for arranging tax laws so that very rich groups like U2 could avoid paying much tax. Then the two of them can get together and bewail the poverty and deprivation that’s caused because very rich people don’t pay their fair share of tax. They both made poverty history, for themselves. Bono can sing a wee song about it and get tons in royalty payments from Apple, and Dougie can jet off to a conference in a lovely hotel in an exotic location, and everyone is happy except the auld guy with the lip plug.
Now we can look forward to a range of Labour inspired songs from U2, like I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Voting For, How To Undismantle an Atomic Bomb, or Stuck in a Manifesto Commitment You Can’t Get Out Of. And if you’re exceptionally unlucky, the next time you buy an iPod, Apple will very kindly preload it with Dougie’s speeches to the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland.
It’s a bit of a come down, from being the man hailed as the next foreign secretary to becoming the man hailed as a groupie. Wee Dougie is the world’s most implausible rock chick. Sadly for the planet he’s got little option except helping to give Bono a donor boner after Dougie’s proposal to start a tribute act to the Carpenters failed to get off the ground when his sister told him that he’d have more success Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft than in getting her to work with him again.
It’s not entirely clear what expertise Wee Dougie has in reducing world poverty. You might think that if he’d been marginally more successful in reducing poverty in Paisley then he might have kept his job as an MP. But Dougie was more concerned with striding the world stage with very short legs and masterminding a disaster of a campaign for the Labour party. Completely screwing up what had been perceived as an excellent chance for the Labour party to get back into government might not seem to you or me to be a passport to a six figure salary, but clearly Bono thinks differently.
Likewise the BBC seem to believe that John McTernan is a political expert, which is true because he did after all mastermind the campaign that delivered the Labour party in Scotland its greatest defeat ever. That’s got to count for some sort of political expertise, even if only in reverse. And Jim Murphy, who is capable of starting a fight in an empty building and then nursing a grudge about it for decades, has been appointed as a peace envoy in the Caucasus.
The one sure fire way to end poverty is to have an unsuccessful career as a Unionist politician. At least you’ll never have to worry about your own personal poverty. Westminster politics is a career where the consequences of failure are indistinguishable from the consequences of success, and that is why our political system is in such a sorry state. Even when politicians are held to account at the ballot box, they just land some cushy post somewhere courtesy of the contacts they made during their time in office, or they get appointed to the House of Lords and continue to wield their baleful influence on our public life.
We might never be able to escape Bono’s ego, but there’s an escape route from Westminster, and it’s getting more attractive with every passing day. Labour might still haven’t found what it’s voting for, but the rest of us have. And it’s not Labour.
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