One of the things about doing The Satires for a living is that it’s important to be political without being PARTY political. You have to be ready to call out BS or nastiness whichever side it’s coming from, regardless of any political inclinations of your own.
That’s not to say that you should strive for the fake balance which has so corrupted TV news in the last decades, where every piece on climate change has to have a reputable climate scientist (representing the 99.9999999999% of scientists who acknowledge that anthropogenic climate change is a Thing) being given “equal screen time” to (ie be shouted at and drowned out by) some tin foil-hatted nimrod who’s there to represent all the climate scientists who think it’s a hoax (ie him and his mate Norman). Nope; one should flag up nastiness and idiocy WHERE IT OCCURS, not ignore it where it is and/or go looking for it where it isn’t in the name of spurious equilibrium.
As such, it is fair to say that the vast majority of the scorn and ridicule dished up in this column has been aimed at the Brexiters, the Conservative Party and their various hangers-on, because they’ve been in absolute power for the whole time this paper has been in print and so, of course, they’re to blame for pretty much everything that’s happened.
So it is with something approaching a sense of relief (tinged with alarm) that this week, I find myself required to ask: Just what the HELL does the Labour Party think it’s playing at?
We’re at least a year, probably more like 18 months, away from an election. Nobody is looking for the next Labour manifesto or demanding that they make concrete policy pledges. And for all their nauseating “red meat” (ie racist-pleasing) policy announcements, the government doesn’t seem able to budge their numbers up an inch. For every poll that offers the Tories a scintilla of hope by showing Labour’s lead “slipping” to about 20 points, another will come out the next day showing it back up in the 30s. All Labour has to do for now is keep its powder dry, its collective head down and most of all, DON’T DO ANYTHING TO SCREW THINGS U – oh, dear…
I’m assuming that you saw those bizarre anti-Rishi attack ads that someone in the Labour comms team signed off over the Easter break.
Not only were they garish in appearance and tasteless in their phrasing (there’s a gulf of difference between presiding over lousy conviction rates and personally approving of sex criminals, as Keir Starmer in particular knows only too well) but they were on incredibly shaky ground factually. One ad implied that Rishi Sunak is OK with gun crime because, under his administration, nobody has been jailed for the offence of “possession of a firearm with intent to commit harm”. This overlooks the fact that it’s notoriously difficult to secure a conviction for the offence of “possession of a firearm with intent to commit harm” because, as The Secret Barrister helpfully pointed out on Twitter, there’s no such offence as “possession of a firearm with intent to commit harm”.
Guys! If you really feel that now’s the time to go on the offensive against Rishi Sunak then here are some less crass – and more accurate – angles to take:
“Do YOU own a £400 self-heating coffee cup? Rishi does.”
“Have YOU had to borrow a Kia Rio for a petrol station photo op because sitting in the back of a Jaguar while your Special Branch chauffeur fills it up wouldn’t have presented the entirely false image of regular-blokeness you were going for? Rishi did.”
“Was YOUR family still raking it in doing business with Putin’s Russia months after the rest of the world severed links with him as a war criminal? Rishi’s was.”
“Have YOU ever reinstated a troublesome employee sacked by your predecessor, then turned them loose to unleash a torrent of race-baiting invective to try to win over the bigots who will never love either of you no matter what you do? Rishi did.”
“Do YOU get your Coca-Cola specially imported from Mexico because it tastes slightly better than the stuff they sell here? Rishi does.”
“Have YOU ever instituted a policy to subsidise dining out in order to boost the hospitality industry only to have this cause a massive spike in viral infections? Rishi did.”
“Does YOUR family routinely buy five kinds of bread because each member likes a different variety and hey, it’s only money? Rishi’s does”
“Did YOU get slapped with a fixed penalty for breaking lockdown rules despite being part of the administration that wrote those rules? Rishi was.”
“Are you under the impression that the biggest crisis faced by a nation in the grip of complete social and economic meltdown is the arrival of a few desperate people in a rubber dinghy? Rishi is (or pretends to be).”
“Are you curiously unable to find a suit that fits despite being wealthy enough not just to buy clothes from Savile Row but to buy most of Savile Row itself? Rishi is.”
“Have you decided that the best way to ensure prosperity is to force kids to learn maths until the age of 18 despite the fact that this plan is unworkable according to your OWN maths? Rishi has.”
And, for just before the election…
“Are YOU going to be perfectly OK if you lose your current job because you already had more money than you’ll ever be able to spend before you even started it? Rishi will.”
POEM OF THE WEEK
An American president called Joe
To the Emerald Isle did go
To explore his own roots
And to plant a few boots
In Conservative arses, uh-oh
An elderly POTUS called Biden
In the land of his fathers residin’
Reflected that they
Who’d screwed up GFA
Were in want of a bloody good hidin’