Time to inject a bit of pizzazz into the Cabinet
15 May 2009
The people out there are angry, say the politicians. In a floundering attempt to play the sincerity card which has served them so well in the past, they turn their sheepish, plastic bag-claiming, moat-clearing, manure-collecting, property-flipping eyes to the camera, and bleat about the system and how voters are terribly, terribly angry.
It is not enough. Not nearly enough. The long-suffering people of this great land are more than angry. Our stomachs are churning with rage and frustration. As a nation, we have become like an infuriated football crowd. We are on our feet, our fingers stabbing the air, chanting “Off! Off! Off!”, not just to one player on the political pitch but to every player in both teams – and the referee can take an early bath too.
A new spirit in politics is needed – one of clear-eyed courage, of iron commitment unsullied by sleaze and selfish-interest. The political world has let us down, producing generation after generation of dour, humourless mediocrities. It is time to look elsewhere for leadership, to scour the national scene for people who simply have too much integrity to become involved in dreary matters of policy, who realise the importance of trust, communication and image. The moment for a celebrity Cabinet has arrived.
With a government of all the talents, the nation will at last begin to have an idea who is running things. Put a Cruddas and Grayling together and few could tell the difference. Put Jonathan Ross beside Jeremy Clarkson and at least we will know where we are.
Here, at last, is a cure for our anger. As Prime Minister, Joanna “Absolutely Fabulous” Lumley will provide the tough leadership, and the stylish high heels, that we have been lacking for years. At her side, replacing that dull dog Alistair Darling, will be the actor and gay icon John Barrowman. Anyone who has seen the Torchwood star on the chat-show circuit will know he has the charm to reveal the most risqué stories from his private life, and still remain a favourite with all the family. With his pearly smile, trim figure and ready wit, Chancellor Barrowman will give anyone’s downturn a bit of a lift.
The Miliband brothers have brought a whiff of the family, of cornflakes in the kitchen, into politics, something it would be a shame to lose. Their most obvious replacement would have to be the Cheeky Girls, twin sisters whose hit “The Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum)” won them both a place in the nation’s hearts, and one of them a place in the fun-loving Liberal MP Lembit Opik’s bed. The Miss Cheeky who almost became Mrs Opik is clearly brave enough to take on the Foreign Office while her twin sister, who has done some global warming in her time, could tackle energy and climate change.
The rest of the Cabinet virtually selects itself. With Jacqui Smith spending more time with her husband and his videos, an obvious choice for Home Secretary would be Margaret, the grey-haired dominatrix type who sits at Sir Alan Sugar’s right hand in The Apprentice.
There must, of course, be a place for Britain’s favourite real person, the middle-aged singer from Britain’s Got Talent, Susan “The Hairy Angel” Boyle. No one, after all, is more likely to be trusted by the public. A Cabinet enforcer to replace Lord Mandelson? It would have to be the Chelsea footballer Didier “Mad Dog” Drogba. It is time to clean up politics and give the British people what it really wants – a government of genuine, gleaming celebrities.
The touch of anxiety that unites Cher and Amis
It seems that that age-old problem of the mid-life crisis is tending to strike later these days. At a comeback concert in Las Vegas, the singer Cher startled her audience by revealing an eye-watering amount of her 62-year-old figure by reprising a see-through stage costume she last wore 17 years ago.
Over here, Martin Amis, who is a couple of years younger than Cher, has been explaining that the central character in what is said to be a heavily autobiographical forthcoming novel experienced a sexual trauma at the age of 20 which was so profound that it took him two decades to recover.
The story has sent London’s literary journalists into a spin. What could it be, this Amisian sexual trauma? Could it have involved either Tina Brown or Emma Soames, both former girlfriends and now eminent women of letters?
Neither Cher nor Amis seem to be entirely comfortable at the prospect of approaching age. “In my job, becoming old and becoming extinct are one and the same thing,” Cher has said. Amis is even gloomier. One reaches a stage in life, he says, when every visit to the mirror confronts you with “something unprecedentedly awful”.
Let’s hear it for fearless Feargal
A small glimmer of common sense has issued from the Culture, Media and Sport select committee of the House of Commons. After a long and dogged campaign by Feargal Sharkey and others, MPs have acknowledged that two musicians playing acoustically in a bar are not such a threat to public order that a licence should be required, as has been the case since a new law was passed in 2005. Music is not dangerous, the committee has discovered. The way for young musicians to progress is by playing in public. By doing so, they bring value and pleasure to communities.
At last, the penny has dropped. It is time for the Government to abandon its idiotic campaign against live music and to revise this legislation.