Courtesy of the Guardian – you got to love Charlie Brooker!! some of his best writing…
There’s no hope left for Labour – apart, perhaps, from hopelessness itself Brown might as well go for broke with his election pledges – free croissants it is
Charlie Brooker The Guardian, Monday 11 January 2010 Article
So then. Following a half-hearted coup attempt, which turned out to be the equivalent of Hoon and Hewitt trying to assassinate their target by firing a rubber band at his head as he walked past the tuckshop – bookmakers say there is currently 25% less chance of Labour winning the general election than there is of Kevin Keegan inexplicably giving birth to a horse on St Swithin’s Day. The Conservatives don’t have to do much except wait patiently, gliding toward 6 May like a baleen whale with its mouth flapping open, lazily preparing to inhale an acre of krill. Unless David Cameron holds a live televised press conference at which he pulls his fleshy mask off to reveal he’s been Darren Day all along, they’ve got it in the bag.
Even a preposterous advertising campaign can’t dent the Tories. All over London, billboards depict Cameron looking you in the eye with an expression of genteel concern, accompanied by the slogan “We can’t go on like this”. To the observer, the overall effect is that of a man trying to wriggle out of an unfulfilling sexual relationship without hurting your feelings. Or maybe a boss who’s called you into his office for a passive-aggressive talking-to. Would you vote for that? Not normally, no. But when the opposition is a flock of startled, shrieking hens, your range of options shrinks drastically.
But perhaps there’s still a glimmer of hope for Labour. I recently watched several episodes of a high-quality US comedy-drama serial called Breaking Bad. The storyline revolves around an underachieving, debt-ridden 50-year-old chemistry teacher who discovers he’s got terminal cancer. But wait, it gets funnier. Realising he has absolutely nothing to lose, he decides to become a crystal meth dealer in an insane last-ditch attempt to provide financial support for his family when he’s gone. Cue plenty of pitch-black hi-jinks.
It’s a good show. It’s also a road map for Labour. The party’s condition is similarly terminal, so it might as well go for broke by announcing a series of demented and ill-advised election pledges in an openly desperate bid to retain power. Who knows? It might just work. And if it’s having a hard time choosing some make-or-break policies, I’ll be only too happy to provide a list. Starting now.
Pledge 1: promise to govern while wearing spandex leotards like they do on Hole in the Wall if elected.
On the face of it, this sounds terrible. No one wants to see David Miliband rising to his feet in a silver bodysuit so tight you can make out every facet of his groin in topographic detail. They don’t even want to read that description of it. But while it might be hard on our eyes, it would be uncomfortable and humiliating for the MPs. And think about it: they have to wear it every day for at least four years. They’re not allowed to take them off either, so by the end of the term the House of Commons would reek. I’d vote for that. Come on, it would be funny.
Suggested campaign poster: Ed Balls in horribly tight leotard. Slogan: “SEE BALLS PUSH FOR GLORY.”
Plesdge 2: Tudor-style execution of Simon Cowell.
This would be desperately unfair on Cowell, who would be arrested, held in the Tower of London, and beheaded on live television should Labour get back in. No matter how low your opinion of Britain’s Got Talent, the man has clearly done nothing to deserve that kind of extreme treatment. But extreme treatment grabs headlines. And the recent Christmas chart triumph of Rage Against the Machine over Joe McElderry’s X Factor single indicates a hitherto-untapped, steadily expanding groundswell of anti-Cowell discontent which a cynical and desperate party could exploit for its own nefarious ends. Barbaric and cynical, yes – but on balance marginally more humane than scapegoating an entire minority and establishing death camps or anything quite as horrible like that.
Poster: Photoshop of Cowell’s head on pole. Slogan: “BRITAIN’S GOT PAYBACK.”
Plesdge 3: free warm croissants on buses.
Yes it’s lame, but it’ll get people talking far more than yet another dull promise about education spending or the like. Not only can the voter imagine it actually happening, they can virtually smell it in their mind’s nose. And that feels good during a cold snap. Come on, Labour. Go for it!
Poster: mouth-watering close-up of warm croissant. Slogan: “MMMM!”
Pledge 4: let the country exit with a bang.
Let’s face it, no matter what we do the environment’s knackered, the deficit’s insurmountable, and Britain’s Got Talent will return in the summer. The future’s bleak, so rather than face it, why not encourage the entire nation to go out in a frenzy of nihilistic excess? Step one: legalise everything. Step two: sell all remaining national assets to the Chinese. Step three: spend everything we have on chocolate pudding, narcotics and sex toys. Step four: announce the beginning of a year-long mass public orgy during which absolutely anything goes and participation is compulsory. Step five: on New Year’s Eve, we congregate naked around a massive bomb and nuke ourselves out of history for ever.
Poster: an explicit orgy photo. Slogan: “HEY, WE MIGHT AS WELL.”
Anyway, there you go. One or more are probably worth a try. In Breaking Bad, the protagonist uses his grim predicament as the catalyst for a string of crazy actions that leave him feeling more alive than ever. Perhaps embracing an equally hopeless situation with similarly mad gusto is the only actual hope Labour has left.