Mrs. Tory and Mr. Labour are heading for divorce. One of our parliamentary paramours has stopped trying…
The Labour party is going through traumatic times. Some people (not me) might also say they are going through exciting times. Any excitement over what is happening in Labour is not being caused by any exciting MPs. The PLP are guilty of throwing up some absolute bores, and one of the reasons for the current trauma is precisely that they lack charisma. Post-Ed wasn’t pretty. Andy Burnham. Liz Kendal. Yvette Cooper. Jeremy Corbyn. Need I say more? And we are left with a man whose stern gaze, his glasses at half-mast, reminds me of a supply teacher desperate to reprimand a class who knows full well that he has no real power. Any spark of charisma Corbyn might have had has long since been doused in the domesticity of his duenna Dianne Abbott and his grey greyhound John McDonald.
Then came the summer season and the second leadership contest. The first candidate to take Corbyn on was the stuttering Angela Eagle, and the only thing people will remember her for was that pink background and that time journalists didn’t make it through her speech. Now she’s gone, leaving Owen Smith as the only challenger. I suppose we could give him a little more time to prove that he has the necessary magnetism, but what’s the point when he’s booed at his own hustings. Yet there are some in the PLP who are watchable. Some of them, like Dennis Skinner, are past it. But some of them, Chukka Umuna and Jess Philips come to mind, are for the future. At the moment though, the former might be a tad too metropolitan, and the latter strikes me as, although genuine, also genuinely void.
The Labour party is drained, but the Tories… well, they’re drenched. A Tory MP would be right to estimate Labour as worthless at the moment, but they would never do so, not when they could instead engage in the “floccinaucinihilipilification” of the labour party (I refer of course to the words of backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg, who might actually be a little too sexy for politics with his accent alone preventing him from attaining the highest offices). Anyway, any risk that the Tory frontbenchers were bland has now also gone. Cameron and Osborn, for all their smooth texture, were without the authentic spice and since their departure the Tory party has been injected with an infusion of azure. Boris Johnson charged into the foreign office; the man of the people, the man on a bike, the man of affairs, the scourge of wankeras from Ankaras and the bane of unfortunate infants who cross him on the rugger-pitch, the man who can turn-on referendum crowds with lines like: “it’s the biggest stitch up since the Bayeux Tapestry.” There is certainly nothing innocent about the new blue lineup. Even PM May, who might be the blandest of the bunch, has herself a pair of kitten heels.
You might think talking up this kink is bunkum. Maybe it is, but villains are always more attractive in fiction, and so it seems to be true in the Commons. I wish that staid Labour would do something creative – go to the trouble of having the some illicit love affairs – so that, for all the wrong reasons, the Left might start getting some lovin’ from the people. They desperately need a leader, someone, anyone; to live up to these exciting times.