Respect to Stewart Lee for not only managing to sit through the whole of Who Dares Wins, but inflicting it on pseudy intellectual Barbican-types who were probably expecting standard hi-larious “so-bad-it’s-good” fare.
In the generality, Lee is absolutely spot on: the bloated, morally vacuous Jerry Bruckheimer product is infinitely more contemptible than the naffest of Godzilla movies. Fortunately however, posterity tends to agree. Does anyone think Con Air will be screened by anyone in 50 years time?
In a bid to save his own bacon, Charles Clarke has come up with what he regards as the perfect solution: announce the creation of new laws. You can see why he thinks this will get him off the hook; it has been the standard recourse of action for both him and his predecessors whenever they have found themselves in anything hotter than mildly tepid water. It follows the standard formulation of “something must be done, this is something, therefore it must be done,” which generally speaking completely outfoxes the media.
The problem is, also as per usual it manages to be both draconian and completely misses the point. On the one hand, it means a presumption of deportation for anyone imprisoned for not paying their TV license. On the other hand, it wouldn’t have stopped Mustaf Jamma who was considered for deportation. It also does nothing to solve the systemic failure that caused this crisis in the first place. It is all for show.
We all ready have a system in place. Charles Clarke should have spent the last week trying to make it work. The fact that he has apparently spent the last 7 days simply coming up with more illiberal laws suggests that he is incapable of government. In essence, announcing this new law is a cry for help, “somebody stop me before I use my discretion again!”
I’ve been relatively kind to Labour about their Dave the Chameleon ads. Partly because I detect that the wheels are starting to come off the Cameron bandwagon and he doesn’t appear to have a Plan B (or even a Phase II), I think the image is, on balance, damaging to little Dave. It is increasingly becoming apparent that Cameron is a mess as soon as he loses total control of the situation, and given that this is the norm in politics, this will be his undoing. And the more Tories try to subvert it, the more damage they will do to themselves (don’t expect the Chameleon Army to be around in 9 months). None of which is to deny that the ads are anything but a couple of the most breathtaking acts of hypocrisy in political history.
But Labour do need to get their story right. You can’t on the one hand attack someone for being a chameleon, and then claim that “if you vote blue, you’ll get blue.” This quote is from the hard-of-thinking Jim Murphy, but presumably he’s just giving the line he’s been told to push. What constantly undermines this campaign is Labour’s inability to stick with one line of attack or the other. Pick a side, any side. Just don’t, erm, flip-flop.
This has been a public service to the Labour Party.