The Plastic Hippo

July 30, 2014

Sober in the morning

Winston Churchill v. Bessie Braddock

Winston Churchill v. Bessie Braddock

When a leader of the opposition feels that it is necessary to give speeches and interviews to apologise for being physically unattractive, the tipping point between reality and abject absurdity has been reached.

In the past, this blog has unashamedly likened Ed Miliband to a whining, adenoidal schoolboy constantly bleating “it`s not fair” after coming last again in the sixth form debating society. This comparison has nothing to do with his physical appearance or even with the tone and timbre of his voice but has everything to do with his unwillingness or inability to effectively challenge the subterfuge, distraction, illegality and whopping great big lies puked out by the Prime Minister and the government front bench. Miliband has consistently missed open goals even after failing to notice that the goal posts have been moved to off-shore tax havens favoured by discerning cabinet ministers. If he had been born with the face of George Clooney, the wit of Stephen Fry, the mind of Stephen Hawking and the toned, perfect body of a plastic hippo, Miliband would still be outflanked by a shallow shyster called Cameron.

The latest foray into corporate public relations is, at best, self defeating. The self deprecating references to Wallace and Grommet, bacon butties and “geekiness” are toe-curlingly embarrassing. It is astonishing that the leader of a major political party should need to make it clear that he would rather be judged by his policies rather than his looks as if politics is some sort of television game show. The leadership of a nation is not dependent on the audience phone votes during an unreal reality fashion parade and by acknowledging this nonsense, Miliband and his spin doctors join Cameron in assuming that the electorate are universally and irredeemably stupid.

The Conservatives are obviously rattled by a consistent and growing lead for Labour in the opinion polls even with the disadvantage of the “Ed problem” as invented by right wing hacks. Lynton Crosby has little option but to revert to the tried and tested tactic of smear, innuendo and fairly crude personal insult. He can hardly base an election campaign on Tory achievements, an invented economic recovery or the default position of blaming Gordon Brown over and over and over again. With Murdoch, Dacre and the BBC firmly on message and given that it`s probably too late to change a party leader, it`s open season on Miliband`s appearance and a deafening silence on actual politics.

Crosby, however, needs to be careful. Attacking Miliband`s dead father resulted in a rise in popularity triggered by the disgust at just how low Dacre could sink. The “shocking revelations” that Harriet Harman supported the notorious PIE backfired spectacularly when Patrick Rock did the decent thing and resigned a few hours before he was arrested to avoid any embarrassment for Number Ten. It later turned out that PIE was first funded by the Home Office when Willie Whitelaw was Home Secretary and Leon Brittan was a junior minister who, so to speak, looked after that sort of thing. Good looking chiselled Adonis Leon Brittan has an awful lot of questions to answer. But perhaps the most hilarious spectacle of absurdity to grace any television screen is seeing chiselled, good looking poster boys Andrew Neil, Nick Robinson and Andrew Marr sharing their opinions on how Miliband “looks a bit weird”.

With Coulson in prison, Crosby had to be equally careful with his cabinet reshuffle. Hague and Gove were obviously not purged because they look a bit weird but because they might prove to be an embarrassment to Number Ten in any future inquiry that might or might not, allegedly and without prejudice and in no way, shape or form involve Leon Brittan and a certain missing dossier. In terms of weirdness, Hunt and Duncan Smith inexplicably remain to sit alongside the pretty promoted people devoid of any actual ability.

It would appear that quiet words have been had with others that might prove to be an embarrassment to Number Ten. Once upon a time, “misunderstandings” over fraud, dressing people up in Nazi uniforms and committing domestic violence would have been the stuff of resignation and by elections but in this more enlightened age, reason dictates not contesting the next general election might be the best option. So we will no longer enjoy the selfless public service of the likes of Maria Miller, Aidan Burley or David Ruffley after May 2015. They join the growing ranks of Tory MPs without the courage to face the electorate and the prospect of a thumping defeat. This must be particularly distressing for Mr Ruffley who is usually the one dishing out the thumping.

In a bygone era, Winston Churchill was rather adept at the witty repost and withering insult. When Lady Astor said that if he was her husband, she would poison his coffee, Churchill replied that if she were his wife, he would drink it. Nancy Astor is wrongly credited with accusing Churchill of being drunk. That accusation came from Labour MP “battling” Bessie Braddock. She is alleged to have said;
“Winston, you are drunk, and what`s more you are disgustingly drunk”.
Churchill replied;
“Bessie, my dear, you are ugly, and what`s more, you are disgustingly ugly. But tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be disgustingly ugly.”

Sadly, Churchill woke the following morning and remained drunk and a peek into the mirror reveal that, he too, remained ugly. If Miliband is to endure the next nine months of slurs, smears and insult, then perhaps he should, like Churchill, take to the bottle and stay drunk for a long as possible.

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