Monday, June 05, 2006
The debates about the merits of Mr John Prescott have prompted many commentators to compare him to that late son of Nairn, Mr (later Viscount) Willie Whitelaw, who was memorialised by Mrs (later Lady) Thatcher with the worrying remark "everyone needs a Willie".
Mr Whitelaw made his own contribution to the gaiety of the nation during the 1974 General Election, when he accused the Labour Party of "going around the country, stirring up apathy". Logically, this was impossible, but sentimentally, it was undeniable. (Sir Menzies Campbell is, as I write, demonstrating that apathy can be induced).
My own apathy has been stirred by the ludicrous attention which is being given to the FIFA World Cup, and as the kick-off approaches, it is at fever pitch. The interventions of the Senior Retainer, Mr Jack McConnell, who has attempted to make himself both newsworthy and nationalistic (in a way that has no consequences) by declaring his support for Trinidad and Tobago, have only served to increase my ire.
In this context, I was amused to read the entry on the journal Stumbling and Mumbling, in which an Englishman argues in favour of his country's failure at the tournament.