Monday, 13 April 2015

Election Special!

I wake, as is so often the case, to the sound of fighting. No, not the children. Not this morning. Jim and John and Justin (Webb, not Mr Tumble) fill my ears as I rise, the wireless being tuned as it usually is to Radio Four.

But today, in addition to our own election coverage (I've heard enough of that already) they start reporting - prominently - a story about who might stand for US President in two years time. And you know what that means, don't you? Yes. The moment they've got our lot done and dusted Jim and John and Justin will be jetting off to the U.S.A to talk for two years about who may stand, where they might win, what primary they need to secure a nomination - for an election that isn't even ours and isn't happening for another two years. Two years! 

Now maybe I'm alone in my frustration. I'm used to being alone. I'm on my own in regarding ITV as a cultural waste-land, or anything with 'talent' in the title being a contradiction. I'm alone (it would seem) in my view that Test Match Special has been despoiled, sullied and rendered unlistenable since the employment of Charles Dagnell at the microphone. I don't mind being in a minority of one. And in drawing the following conclusion about election coverage I may well be wrong. 

But is there anyone out there - anyone - who is really that interested? Is there anyone outside the political bubble who studies the every utterance of our political leaders with the same sacred scrutiny as the political junkies on the TV and radio? Does anyone else care if they sometimes say something that doesn't quite stand up to the forensic dissection afforded by the likes of Jim Naughtie? (But Prime Minister, when you were seven years old you swore undying love for Margery Daws - it's on the record. How do you account for your blatant u-turn in marrying your wife? You're see-sawing with the electorate aren't you- admit it?)

I have a theory. It is this. They're in it for themselves. They don't do it for us. They're not digging and delving and destroying political reputations (nice work Jeremy, you bully) for our sake - but for their own. There isn't enough news in politics per se to fill the airtime and to justify their contracts and their salaries. So, in the best free market tradition, the journos make their own news by analysing everything, endlessly.

Well, not any more. Let's face it, whoever gets in here on May 7th we're in a mess. It's all relative. So my manifesto is this. Let's starve the politicos of their navel-gazing narcissism and have a simple statement from each one of them -vote for me, because I'll do this... Because (unlike Russell Brand) I do think we should go and put that little cross on the ballot paper. I do think voting is important. I even once thought politics was mildly interesting. But the endless exegesis is extremely irritating and - what's more - unnecessary. We don't need endless interview attempts to trip politicians up (they do a good enough to job themselves) and we don't (imho) need hours and hours of analysis, of people telling us what someone else will say before they've said it and then afterwards analysing it as if it's come down from Mt Sinai. And please - I don't want to hear about a foreign politician deciding that she might like to be the candidate for a party in an election that's a whole two years and 4000 miles away.

Sufficient unto the day are the troubles thereof, as The Bible has it.

And in the meantime, I'm re-tuning my radio!

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