March 24, 2015
March 10, 2015
Head down, ready for the rotten egg, exit Nigel Farage pursued by a so-called carnival of diversity in a bare-naked tale of the 2015 non-election.
Sunday lunch in the commuter village of Downe, where beige is also known as ‘browne’. Tothe George & Dragon with its suitably suburban rendition of olde worlde, the rag tag ofprotesters bobs along looking for the UKIP leader, who is known to frequent this hostelry in search of the perfect wallop.
You got your LBGTs (all very transgressive – yeah, right?!), and your breastfeeding mothers represented by plastic babydolls nestling in everyone’s bosom, and a scattering ofpatchwork capes and Lycra jumpsuits which zip up over your head; possibly containing the carnival’s immigrant population – who knows?
The assembled company could be on an outing to Comic Con, except that none of thecostumes is clever enough.
Except he’s not here. He’s in the other one, isn’t he? The one with the tiny leaded windows hardly seen in public since the most recent TV adaptation of Oliver Twist or David Copperfield or whichever one it was – the Queen’s Head. The protesters duly troll over to this other pub, where they are briefly united with their quarry.
Nige with his face crinkled up like a crisp – not the full Sid James but well on the way. Ducking and diving out of the bar, making for his car. But some ‘scum’ are already climbing on the bonnet and he’s scuttling off into the distance, as fast as his legs will carry him.
It used to be that the second time was farce, but now it’s a right Carry On from the first-off.
With less than two months to go until the UK general election, instead of debating how to run the country, party political leaders have been debating whether to take part in television debates on how to run the country, and this pre-debate (before we get anywhere near a real debate) takes the form of a non-debate between incumbent prime minister David Cameron, who says he will participate in only one such TV debate and that his position is non-negotiable, versus opposition leader Ed Miliband, who plans to pass a law to ensure that party leaders must take part in a whole series of ‘people’s debates’ on TV, so that full participation will be non-negotiable.
In this non-debate about TV debates as a platform for debate, it has been suggested that Cameron could be ‘empty chaired’ in a head-to-head with Miliband.
Perhaps the UK general election has been patched in to a scene from The Chairs(1952), the ‘tragic farce’ written by post-war playwright Eugene Ionesco and featured in Martin Esslin’s influential study of the Theatre of the Absurd.
An elderly couple prepare the chairs that guests are expected to sit on when they come to hear the Old Man’s revelation of what may be the meaning of life.
But he and his wife end up jumping out of the window. Likewise British politics – out thewindow while the stage is preoccupied with the theatre of the absurd.
Or have we been transported back to the general election campaign of 1992, at a time when Jeff Koons was top of the postmodern pile of art-as-pastiche, and Conservative leader John Major gave us a kitsch caricature of politics and government?
The grey man in a grey suit was duly re-elected – the po-mo PM for a half-decade of‘ironic detachment’. Back then, when the first Iraq War was famously played ‘like a computer game’, nothing seemed to matter too much; and you have to be relatively comfortable for nothing to matter too much; and John Major’s Tories were best placed to make it stay that way.