The Plastic Hippo

April 8, 2011

Dry your eyes mate

Filed under: Music,Politics — theplastichippo @ 3:56 pm

“I am not a punch bag” bleats Nick Clegg to the rather lovely Jemima Khan in The New Statesman. Well, should the Deputy Prime Minister stray within 100 yards of the hippo lair in Hatherton Lake, he will discover that along with so many of his previous promises and pledges, that statement will be proved to be manifestly false.

It is possible to feel some sympathy for Clegg. Once the golden boy, wiping the floor with grumpy Gordon and greasy Dave in the televised debates a year ago, he now looks like death warmed up. Perhaps this is a result of compromise and capitulation or possibly the last shred of conscience leaving his body. But this “poor me” interview with socialite Jemima, complete with a Downing Street minder in attendance to provide instant spin on the inevitable gaffes, has done nothing to excuse his perfidy. Heart warming accounts of how his children ask him why students dislike “papa” and his thoughts on being portrayed as a cardboard cut-out certainly attracts pity, but pity is hardly forgiveness.

For a man now committed to “social mobility”, the only way for this public school millionaire from a background of immense privilege is down. Having been duped into abandoning what now turn out to be false principles, he will be lucky if he goes from “intern” to internment. Being compliant in cutting Surestart, EMA, the teaching grant, agreeing that a university education should only be available to the rich and stating that young people should work for no pay, the heir of Gladstonian Liberalism has revealed his true colours. Blue, and not in the Joni Mitchell sense. His Pupil Premium has yet to be explained but it is probably the biggest lie since the Book of Genesis. He tells us again that he regularly cries when listening to music.

Most of us will shed a tear at hearing certain pieces of music. A song or passage may bring back memories of happy or sad times and evoke old friends, lovers and places. More profound though, are pieces of music that provoke lip-trembling emotion, sniffs and tears because of their sheer beauty. The 1st movement of the Appassionata Sonata by Beethoven or the slow movement in the Faure G minor piano quartet or the Nimrod theme from the Enigma Variations have been known to reduce this cynic to a blubbing, blubbering heap. More “accessible” songs describing the human condition can have a similar effect. Cry Me a River, the Sinead O’Connor version of Nothing Compares 2 U and Tom Traubert`s Blues by Tom Waits can make people stop and listen and reach for a hankie.

So when he is getting down with the yoot after strangling their education, what music makes Clegg cry? We may never know, but here are a few suggestions.

Pathetique Symphony No. 6 in B minor – Tchaikovsky

The First Cut Is The Deepest – Cat Stevens

Won’t Get Fooled Again – The Who

Nowhere Man – The Beatles

You’re History – Shakespears Sister

It’s Over – Roy Orbison

As the coalition sets about destroying everything of value in the name of ideology rather than prudence, government is descending into a complete shambles and instead of encouraging growth, their mindless cuts to everything are achieving the exact opposite. With cabinet ministers refusing to answer questions and making policy up as they go along, the Liberal Democrat party is on the eve of destruction. Clegg will be blamed and it will take decades to clear up the mess. When he is told to hand in his ministerial MP3 player when his love affair with Cameron hits the rocks, this might well be the last piece of music he hears as the tears roll by.

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