Monday, September 18, 2006

Is this the dullest ever period in modern British political history?

A comment I left today on Nick Robinson’s Quite Interesting BBC blog and this reasonably dull article about the extraordinarily dull LibDems by Jackie Ashley in today’s Guardian, have returned me to a familiar theme – sorry. As they used to say on Blankety-blank, the clue is in the question (and today's question is in this post’s title).

I’ve been aware of British politics for half-a-century or so. I admit that my analytical and critical skills weren’t quite as well honed at the time of the Suez crisis as they are (imho) now. My excuse is that I was only five at the time. For a lot of those fifty years things have been Quite Interesting. Unfortunately the most interesting bits have also been the most worrying and potentially disastrous. Proof, if it were needed, of the alleged ancient Chinese curse "may you live through interesting times".

Labour’s reward for bringing stability and prosperity after eighteen years of ‘interesting’ Tory rule is to have the muckrakers in. The rightwing press having failed to defeat Labour on policy has gone for the people instead. If it were the world cup they’d all have been yellow carded for making no attempt to play the ball.

And political commentators must be bored out of their skulls and thus eager to leap on ‘personality issues’. Surprise, surprise the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer don’t get on terribly well. I can’t recall any that did. I wonder how some of the ‘great’ politicians of the past would have fared under today’s media scrutiny. I can’t imagine that Lloyd George, Winston Churchill or many in Atlee’s cabinet would have lasted a week.



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