If it’s been a while since my last Independent Rhetoric piece, maybe that’s because I’ve been waiting to wake up from the daffy nightmare that is UK politics right now.
In the past couple of weeks of feverish campaigning we’ve been told that Alex Salmond is a giant Tory with a massive face mask and frankly phenomenal Solero, and that Ed Miliband lives in his pocket…
The argument here seems to be that it would be bad to vote for the SNP because (1) giants are scary, (2) Tories in face-masks are scary, and (3) Ed Miliband eats pocket fluff.
That last one’s a bit of a guess but I’m looking at Ed’s happy, lint-eating face right now and I’m pretty sure I’m right:
Leaving such quaint satisfaction aside for a minute, the messaging here is confusing. Isn’t the suggestion here that the SNP (or at least their former apparently eternal leader Alex Salmond) are actually massive Tories, and that they’re definitely not rampant Maoist Nicola Sturgeon, who apparently exists only in the imagination of journalists and Question Time audience members? So if you like the Tories – and who could possibly fail to like the one party with the courage to be honest about their commitment to obliterating every last trace of “society” and building a supermarket nation in which everything comes at a low-low price, especially your labour! – shouldn’t that make the SNP more appealing?
Or is this all a veiled and frankly insane threat: “If you fuck with us, be prepared to risk the fury of an army of Scottish Tory giants who just pretend to like Alasdair Gray when they’re really just a load of scary chancers with massive fuck-off banners and a terrifying carelessness that allows them to eat ice lollies on a cold winter day!”
Hmmm. Perhaps that’s not quite as out there as I thought: “Our secret army awaits in the North! The leader of the opposition is their captor! All hope is lost!”
Another sign that I might be right comes from the fact that Labour seem to be broadcasting a similar message:
The mind boggles at the spectacular camera tricks required to make mega-giant David Cameron and his generically gargantuan hordes look like normal humans at PM’s questions, but I digress! Labour’s pitch seems to be relatively straightforward, if also totally lacking in confidence as to the future of humanity: “Vote for us because in politics there are only Tories, and really fucking big Scottish Tories, and an even bigger Oxbridge Tory who knows Jeremy Clarkson and is therefore to be feared: come play with us in the lint-strewn ruins of this apocalypse, perhaps you will find comfort there as we have!”
I prefer Soleros to lint and while I am not prejudiced against giants (he said, adopting the unconvincing rhetoric of millions of strangers who are definitely not drunk/racist right now) I have learned that they are not to be trusted when they proclaim their relative weakness.
This makes Labour’s pitch appealing only to those who have had the hope crushed out of them, and the Tories’ rhetoric terrifying in a way that will excite those deluded enough to think that they may one day grow to be gigantic.
Sounds about right to me.
Since I started writing this, Labour’s master strategist Douglas Alexander – a man with the facial expressions of a haunted biscuit and the charisma to match – has decided to embark on his own journey into the heart of daftness.
Mr Alexander has chosen to blame Labour’s current dismal performance on Scotland on the irrational anger of Yes voters and the “echo-chamber” effect of Facebook. Even if you accept Mr Alexander’s terms (which you shouldn’t!), you’d be forced to admit that he’s overlooked the fact that the independence referendum was only made possible by the total failure of the Labour party – after all, it was the SNP’s 2011 Holyrood victory that made the referendum possible, and that didn’t come out of nowhere!
Beyond that, there’s the question of whether an election strategist who works for a party that spends whole weeks shouting untruths in the name of trolling “cybernats” really speak out against a climate of hysterical misinformation?
The trouble is that I speak this language now, and I find myself all too eager to spend my time tracing the hierarchies of imaginary giants in the hope of raising a couple of laughs. The current political situation isn’t completely without potential – if there’s any hope for UK politics, it’s in the annihilation of the idea that it’s all about Labour vs. the Tories – but that means we need to be more careful than ever of getting caught up in the TrumpTalk(™). You know, like I’ve done here out of a sense of baffled exasperation!
What can I say, right now, my only certainty is that I do not want to spend the rest of my life eating fluff from the pockets of massive, well educated strangers.
Sorry Ed. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I’d like to believe that other worlds are still possible, and that means learning how not to play your silly games…