At the TUC conference, earlier today. On stage behind Labour leader Ed Miliband, even the hand-picked phalanx of ‘ordinary people’ found it hard to focus on his speech. Young woman of colour, top-right, wore the same expression as my students: I’d-rather-be-texting. White man, front row, gurning on camera. Really! Meanwhile Mr Miliband said his set piece, reciting lines rehearsed too often; making robust gestures – hey, look at my robust gesture – which were mannered and effete.
Westminster, a day earlier. Margaret Hodge MP, chair of the public accounts committee, grilled BBC Trusties and ex-executives about excessive redundancy payments. Already in the pink (living well at public expense must be patterned on Lord Patten), they wriggled and turned red-in-the-face. Hodge herself seemed to be tinted yellow: her skin toned in with her purple top for maximum day glow effect.
On different days in different places, it varies from lacklustre to lurid; but the slow liquidation of British institutions is everywhere irreversible.