Like most of my fellow members of the hand-wringing liberal commentariat, I was wrong-footed by the resurrection of former prime minister David Cameron from a life of shed-based contemplation to frontline politics. In retrospect, it’s possibly the closest thing to a smart move that ex-prime minister-in-waiting Rishi Sunak has yet pulled off, all but drowning out any mention of the ignominious and long-overdue exit of the unhinged Suella Braverman from the Home Office.
But there was something about the whole incident that was reminding me strongly of something else, something quite recent. Then it hit me…
I don’t know if Rishi Sunak is a Doctor Who fan – as a lifelong Doctor Who nut I find myself rather hoping that he’s not – but the sudden and unexpected reappearance of Cameron in Downing Street put me irresistibly in mind of the equally sudden and unexpected reappearance of David Tennant’s Doctor at the end of the last series. In fact, as I heard the news I kept imagining David Cameron standing on top of Durdle Door, staring at his own hands and repeatedly saying “WHAT?”
The parallels are irresistible – something in need of a relaunch, that has felt a bit like it’s running out of energy and ideas – drags back the bequiffed frontman – called DAVID – who helmed the enterprise a few years previously in more propitious times before reluctantly having to quit.
Now I don’t THINK the series is in quite such imminent danger of cancellation as the government is. But, since stealing an idea from Doctor Who seems to have successfully bought this moribund administration a bit of breathing space – and in honour of the fact that this edition of TNE is published 60 years to the day after its first episode was broadcast – here are more ideas the government could steal from Doctor Who…
EXCITING CLIFF-HANGER ENDINGS
The government is so utterly bereft of ideas that its Big Reveal at this year’s party conference was the CANCELLATION of a railway line due to lack of funds and enthusiasm.
But how much more exciting would policy announcements be if they were strung out over two episodes with a suspenseful gap between them? Jeremy Hunt could take to the dispatch box to deliver his autumn statement, begin with something like “Mr Speaker, in the next financial year the Treasury will…” then leave a weighted pause, followed by that NEEEEOOOOWWW “electronic scream” noise you hear at the end of every episode of Doctor Who, and then we’d all have to tune in the next week to see what his plan is…
SPOOKY ELECTRONIC THEME TUNE
Unless I’m mistaken, the last time the Tories had a theme tune was before the 1992 election, when they asked Andrew Lloyd Webber to come up with something and he just recycled the rondeau from Henry Purcell’s Abdelazer (in so doing, producing one of his MORE original melodies). So time for a new one, and as it’s increasingly apparent that the BBC has been more or less co-opted as a Conservative Party operation, perhaps it’s time to resurrect the Radiophonic Workshop and set them the task.
Let’s face it, every announcement that comes out of Downing Street these days is a source of dread and alarm, so it would be entirely appropriate if they were preceded by a few seconds of grinding, howling, pre-synthesiser early 60s musique concrète…
They’ve got a bit of a head start on this one; the government already has an immigration policy from the 1930s, trade policies from the 1890s and welfare policies from the 1840s…
The Conservative Party has shown itself to be rather adept at creating these; after all, we now live in a country where cutting ourselves off commercially and politically from our neighbours and trading partners has been officially declared a wise and economically sensible thing to do.
This would be a definite improvement as, even without Suella Braverman, the current cabinet doesn’t seem to have a single functioning heart between them.
Actually, just replacing the leading man when everyone’s getting a bit sick of him and then acting like this changes everything when it doesn’t really change anything at all is a trick the Tories mastered many years ago…
TERRIFYING MONSTERS WITH NO TRACE OF HUMAN EMOTION
Now I think about it they’ve got plenty of these already as well. Have the Tories been ripping off Doctor Who this whole time and I’m only just noticing?
AN ECCENTRIC HERO WHO SEEMS TO BE FROM ANOTHER WORLD
So yeah, sorry Suella, you can plot and manoeuvre all you like; I’m afraid it’s Jacob Rees-Mogg’s turn as leader once Rishi bites the dust.
POEM OF THE WEEK
Was the chancellor’s autumn statement
Everything that you dared hope?
Will the nation thrive and prosper?
Or barely even cope?
Did any bit jump out at you?
Can you quote line and verse?
Was there anything that didn’t sound
Like it would make things worse?
Our slowly dying government
Limps onward undeterred
While our economic prospects
Can be summed up in three words
So here’s my autumn statement
It’s simple to construct
The first two words are “we” and “are”
The last one rhymes with “plucked”