“Everything – no matter how unlikely – will happen in the end,” said Marshall McLuhan nearly half a century ago. Today, the Labour Party fulfilled his prophecy; and in doing so, its leaders showed themselves to be as bereft of culture, sensitivity, creativity and sagesse as their allegedly sworn enemies, the Conservative Party.
There are two film-makers in the US I admire more than most – and it’s typical of me (the impossible to pigeon-hole nuisance) that they are at opposite ends of the political spectrum. The first – Clint Eastwood – made a movie seven years ago called The Changeling, starring Angelina Jolie. It was I think Jolie’s finest hour to date: a magnificent piece of acting about the instincts surrounding being a mother. And it was also typical of Eastwood (often branded a neo-fascist but actually just a bloke who asks questions that make pc-ers feel uncomfortable) in that it was a clinical examination of one-rotten-apple syndrome. As a study in how cultures turn to mire, its as non-didactic as anything I’ve yet seen in the cinema – apart from Ralph Fienne’s performance in The Duchess of Devonshire.
The second is Robert Redford. In 1972 he made The Candidate, in my estimation easily the most perspicacious film ever made about how the Big Party Machine grinds principled wannabe politicians into so much infertile dust. Redford is a liberal who carries the Party card on his person at all times, but so predictive has this movie been over the last 43 years, you have to admire it.
Now what both these actors-turned-directors have is searing, subtle intelligence. And both the films I’ve chosen above have things to teach the British Labour Party. The one rotten apple that sent Labour down into the sewers of tentative trimming was without question Tony Blair. And the line so amusingly parodied in Redford’s film – “A better Way” – has finally been almost exactly reproduced by the current Labour leadership as “A better plan”. More than anything I’ve seen since this ‘election’ got going, the adoption of such brainlessly insubstantial generality shows Labour up for what it is: an irrelevant grab-bag of hopelessly dumbed-down process.
Before Left-wingers switch off, let me make it clear that Labour’s wishfully unthinking wanking still has more appeal to me than the Tory sociopathy that pervades all their policies, obfuscations and Cabinet members. The thing that makes me want to slap The Ed Miller Band is their abject failure to provide The Resistance to a Tory belief system that is the side of a Kansas barn when it comes to political critique.
What are we, the electorate, to make of “A Better Plan”? Better than what? And what is the plan? When Barack Obama was first elected, I ridiculed his “Yes we can” with a post headed ‘Where’s the beef?’ It got me banned (for life, it seems) from Huffington Post…that right-on site whose owner trousered $50m and refused to pay off all those interns who’d made her rich. And I have no doubt that the Left’s tribalists will dump me once more for pointing out just how unutterably banal this latest bromide strapline is.
Prithee tell me: whatever happened to ‘Labour: your friend in tough times’? It fell by the wayside friends: I can hear the spin-doctor’s critique now:
“It’s good Ed, don’t get me wrong – I like it. But where’s the brighter future, eh, eh, eh? I mean, do you want a friend to be some kind of eunuch sympathising with you in Egyptian bondage, or do you need a tough leader taking the sort of tough decisions to get us up there in the sunny uplands of a vibrant economy competing in the globalist economy which is our inevitable fate, eh, eh, eh? Don’t be a tree-hugger Ed: be the tough guy with a better plan than Osborne but FFS steer clear of ever getting bogged down in what the plan is. I mean, am I right or am I right?”
God help us all from besuited barrow-boys like Grant Shapps.
To all those who attack my current position of ‘don’t vote’ in a UK context, I say “Name me one Party vying for my support next May that (a) grasps the cultural nature of Britain’s problem (b) has radical educational ideas that chuck away the old discredited shibboleths (c) rejects globalism (d) wants to scale down and localise the State (e) is prepared to name and shame the EU/ECB/EC axis as a bullying corporacratic perversion of the European idea, and (f) wants to legislate all the crooked lobbying money out of UK politics within a month of being elected”.
Answers on the head of a pin please to Sloggers’ Roost, somewhere in France. (The pinhead should provide ample space for your answers).