The Plastic Hippo

October 13, 2014

Making your mind up

When something or other turns out to be a little bit popular, it is sadly inevitable that even moderate success will attract imitators, copyists and blatant plagiarists.

Whenever talent and originality emerges or gimmicky notoriety makes money, there are legions of bandwagon jumpers looking to cash in. Hence we had decades of everyone trying to sing like Kate Bush, then Bjork, then the Hemidemisemiquaver 64th note urban yodelling of Whitney Houston, then the artificial removal of the glottal stop in the style of Lily Allen and now the pop star as harlot Lady Gaga persona. When Abba won, other nations decided that the only hope of winning the Eurovision Song Contest was to be represented by two ugly blokes and two attractive women who might or might not be moonlighting from the adult film industry. Thus the nervous nation was on the receiving end of Save All Your Kisses For Me complete with its own funny little dance and Making Your Mind Up with disturbingly kitsch skirt ripping. It is surprising that former minor celebrities up before the bench on serious charges have not cited ripping off someone`s dress in front of a live TV audience of millions as evidence of the period`s zeitgeist.

Politics is not the new rock and roll but the temptation to nick stuff that enjoys apparent and usually short-lived popularity is just as prevalent. The result of the Clacton by election is not the political earthquake that the Farage creature is tediously braying on about. Exchanging one xenophobe in a suit for another is hardly seismic especially when the xenophobe and, indeed, the suit remain the same. Only the rosette has changed and with Boris Johnson bellowing that there are few differences between the Farage tribe and the Conservative tribe, the victory of the Kipper formerly known as Tory, Douglas Carswell, is summed up by one constituent saying he voted Kipper because the sitting Tory MP was useless. This sort of behaviour explains the existence of Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus and has terrified the Tories into trying to out-stupid the nonsensical Kipper drone over Europe and immigration. It is as if the Bay City Rollers are copying the Smurfs; there are no hidden satanic messages but both tracks actually sound better if you play them backwards.

Clacton is likely to be repeated in Rochester which will result in there being not one but two challengers for the Kipper leadership and rumours of a no confidence vote for Cameron. This is certain to provide enormous fun between now and May 2015. All of this hot air and bluster is not historic, earth-shattering or momentous but is the manifestation of distrust and dislike of an anodyne and arrogant political establishment and for that reason alone, the result of the Middleton and Heywood by election is of far greater significance.

In the dying months of a government mired in sleaze and scandal and defined by cruelty and incompetence in equal measure, the Labour Party should be wiping the floor with Cameron and his greedy chums. Yet, instead of questioning the bare-faced government lies on the economy, employment, health, social care, education and Andrew Lloyd Webber`s insistence that he has never heard of Mendelssohn, the Labour shadow cabinet join in with the shirker v striver rhetoric peddled by a rabid Tory press and a man called Tristram reckons that teachers are the problem in a ruined education system. After coming very, very close to defeat at the hands of poisonous Kippers in a safe Labour seat in the North of England, the opposition front bench now talk of a need to address immigration and that place across the Channel. It is as if Noel and Liam Gallagher have never in their entire lives heard even a single Beatles song.

If the nasty growth of Kippers is a protest vote against a venal Westminster establishment out of touch with the electorate, just imagine what the Labour Party could achieve if they could be bothered to challenge the nonsense and look up socialism in the dictionary. With the Liberal Democrats dead and buried and the Tories in meltdown, now is the time for Labour to rip off the Kipper skirt to expose the ragged underpants and very little else that lies beneath and not to even consider wearing the same frock. If the protest vote can return millionaire public schoolboys promising to change politics through scare-mongering and prejudice, the party that created the NHS really needs to do something before it`s too late.

Former Bonzo, Python and Ruttle Neil Innes successfully sued Oasis for ripping off his song How Sweet to be an Idiot. The Ruttles, incidentally, were a more skilful Beatles tribute band than Oasis could ever hope to be. If Europe and immigration and not the NHS are to be the battleground for the May election, then little sound bites that appeal to different sensitivities are not the answer. It is a national scandal that the following song has never been the UKs entry in the Eurovision Song Contest. What a lot of weather we have been having lately.

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