Thursday, November 03, 2005

Mr Jeremy Paxman Looks Pained, But Talk Of Mr Blair's Decline Makes Me Want To Don A Turquoise Track Suit And Shout Obscenities At The Television

As a resident and council tax payer in several parallel universes, I have grown used to a sense of dislocation from current affairs. In some text-books, most of them out of print, my condition is described as "paranoid melancholia", the symptoms being that I understand the truth of everything and feel very sad, while remaining powerless to affect my fate. Readers who wish to observe this phenomenon are referred to the 1976 film, Network, in which a newsreader played by Mr Peter Finch grows "mad as Hell", and decides that he is not going to take it any more. Indeed, he grows so mad that he encourages everyone to open the windows and shout about how mad they are too.
Well, that is where the film goes awry and the viewer is reminded of such inspirational characters as the former sports presenter, Mr David Icke, who started dressing in a turquoise track suit while predicting the imminent disappearance of the isle of Skye.
But, still, the old feeling returns from time to time. So it was that I let my fair-trade cocoa go cold last night while watching a Newsnight discussion about the declining power of Mr Tony Blair. (Pedants in the Peebles area may wish to know that I have adjusted my aerial so that it receives "English" Newsnight, as I have grown weary of those "Newsnicht" panel discussions in which a media studies professor from Cumbernauld University, a former councillor, and a disoriented political correspondent who is still in shorts, cower helplessly, as Mr Gordon Brewer breathes the hot fire of Trotskyite rhetoric across the studio, illuminating nothing except the sense that all of them have better things to do than discuss a) taxi chits b) the 458 varieties of the Scottish cringe or c) parrot farming as a solution to the shortcomings of the Common Agricultural Policy.)
There were three pundits, and one Mr Jeremy Paxman. For ten minutes, which felt like ten years, they discussed the ups, the downs, and the spin-it-arounds of Mr Blair's reputation. The three pundits were very excitable, and reminded me of pigeons in a state of high arousal, puffed-up with their own brilliance. Mr Paxman, as usual, gave the impression that he would rather be fishing. In the end, all were agreed that nobody knew anything, and that events would sort themselves out, and it was all a matter of rhetoric and opinion, but, eventually, if pundits like them seemed bored enough for long enough, then - bingo! - Mr Blair's number would be up. (I paraphrase slightly).
What, I wonder, does this have to do with the price of fly cemeteries? Nothing. Will it remove the chewing gum from the pavements? No, it will not.
By the end of the night, I reached the unfortunate conclusion that I was beginning to agree with the opinions of Mr Blair's former henchman, the marathon runner, Mr Alastair Campbell. Earlier in the week, I had found myself in agreement with the Scottish correspondent of the Daily Telegraph, Mr Alan Cochrane.
These are dark days, indeed. I fear I am in need of stronger medication.


Anonymous said...

You raise good points. But ... it's "turquoise" isn't it? French for Turkish, or something. Or is it a Scottish thing?

Kirk Elder said...
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Learson said...

In a far away country of which we know little, the same political party has been in power for 40 years, there is no press freedom, and prospective politicians are screened(then discarded) for odious Marxian sympathies before candidate selection; yet Singapore ranks higher than UK in several international tables that measure such diverse symbols of civilization as incidence of corruption, low taxation, sustained economic growth and school-children's maths ability. The sordid story of Blunkett is merely an illustration of a syndrome, the root causes of which may be traced to the 'anything goes' 1960s, a period which Lee Kuan Yew made certain his fledgeling nation would studiously ignore.

Anonymous said...

Newsnicht must be defended.

Where would we be without Gordon Brewer peering into the camera and announcing with gravitas, that, yes, the fire services have indeed rescued Mrs McTavish's cat from the big tree, and that the First Minister will be releasing a statement shortly.

berenike said...

Re "turquoise"; consult your copy of Fowler.

LottieP said...

Marvellous reference to the "fly cemetery", however. I feel you may also be dysphemic. Which is no bad thing.