The Plastic Hippo

March 7, 2015

Empty chair

Filed under: Media,Politics — theplastichippo @ 11:00 am
Tags: , , , , , ,
Marginal seat

Marginal seat

She might have been an unpleasant, vindictive and in the end a rather bonkers Prime Minister, but Margaret Thatcher`s greatest achievement was to re-introduce a quaint Lincolnshire dialect word into the political lexicon. Describing her enemies as “frit” sent Westminster hacks and politicos rushing to Grantham to ask a local what “frit” actually means. This first indication that nobody had a clue what she was talking about was soon replaced with an enthusiastic adoption of “frit” as a descriptor of anyone Westminster hacks and politicos didn`t happen to like. Not to be outdone, David Cameron, the unpleasant, vindictive and now prone to episodes of concerning instability, will be remembered for his greatest achievement – the adoption of a brand new verb into the English language.

The joy of language is its fluidity and constantly evolving subtlety of meaning. Having a gay old time 75 years ago might be described as either wicked or sick depending on the age of the person you are speaking to. However, the Cameron verb has crossed the line and is an affront to anyone who cherishes the English language. It is not linguistically possible to “empty-chair” a Prime Minister or anyone else for that matter. One can almost hear Stephen Fry growling “stop it, stop it, stop it” through gritted teeth. “Empty-chairing” might be something you do with a commode and so, therefore, is applicable to David Cameron but it does not define a reluctance and refusal to engage in a televised election debate.

Cameron`s ultimatum to broadcasters is extremely serious and, to put it mildly, undemocratic. If we are to allow a serving Prime Minister to dictate the rules of engagement and the duration and nature of the rating grabbing hustings, then we place the nation in the same row of seats reserved for North Korea and Saudi Arabia. He is running scared and will do anything to avoid public accountability for his government, his leadership and his credibility. First he demanded that the Greens be included and now those charming folks from the DUP. He wants eight leaders to spend 90 minutes debating a knife edge election before the manifestos have been published which, in the spirit of fairness, gives each leader about 10 minutes airtime which is obviously 10 minutes more than Cameron is prepared to offer. If he cannot or will not stand on his record or offer a single reason for re-election, then he is not fit for purpose and should consider spending more time with his family and earn a crust by taking up directorships with crooked multi-nationals and a bit of consultancy work for arms dealers.

Thatcher could never be accused of being “frit” but her bastard child Cameron displays all the cowardice of a liar that has been exposed. Westminster hacks and politicos mistakenly thought that folks north of the border described Cameron as an Italian motor car and rushed to Glasgow to ask a local what “feart” actually meant. The Prime Minister was not made in Turin but was, instead, made at Eton. The expected lifespan of a Fiat Uno is about five years longer than this total waste of space.

The systematic yet crude character assassination of Miliband by the Tory press has not worked and the electorate is left to decide if we retain a Prime Minister who is too frightened to engage with his opponents or defend his woeful record and is too scared to face even an oaf like the Farage creature. The temptation to make a puerile pun regarding a mass debate is overwhelming.

Bye-bye, Dave – put your chair up on the table when you leave.

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