Thursday, January 12, 2006
As The Liberal Popinjay Mr Ming Campbell Founders, The Psephological Significance of Mr George Galloway's "Peek-a-Boo" Dressing Gown Becomes Apparent
Frequently - and not just when frozen like a lame yeti in front of Celebrity Big Brother - I find myself mired in dread about the state of democracy. The expulsion of Mr Charles Kennedy was unpleasant, but it was, at least, an example of politics at its most creatively brutal, with Mr Kennedy playing the role of a sozzled Caesar in a room full of indecisive Brutuses.
It is what happened next that I find most distressing. Mr 'Ming' Campbell, whatever one may think of his role in the downfall of Mr Kennedy, has been judged and found wanting on the basis of one appearance at Prime Minister's Questions. Mr Campbell asked the Prime Minister about schools with a vacancy for a head teacher, and was repelled with a swift dab of Mr Blair's stiletto, who pointed out that Mr Campbell was in no position to complain about headless institutions.
Instantly, Mr Campbell finds himself compared to the former Conservative heir-apparent, which is unfair and a little unkind. Mr David Davis bored the Conservative Party rigid for months before it decided to pledge allegiance to the Lego-Man of British politics, Mr David Cameron.
Should careers be decided on such moments? Well, they should, if we are prepared to accept that logic, learning, principle, clarity of thinking, decency and consistency are now less important than an ability to survive a "sound-bite". In which case, Mr George Galloway - last seen discussing the merits of Mr Saddam Hussein with Ms Rula Lenska, whilst wearing a "peek-a-boo" dressing gown in a sauna - is ahead of his time.