Okay, this is another podcast post. Well, not totally, it’s also about comedy and politics (I’ll try to let you know which is which). If you haven’t come across ‘Matt Forde’s Political Party’ before, imagine walking out of the room before the end of ‘Live at The Apollo’ and coming back in after ‘Question Time’ has started. As a format it sounds about as viable as Craig Levein’s revolutionary 4-6-0 tactic that he employed so miserably as Scotland manager, but actually it works exceptionally well and that’s a testament to Forde’s tremendous personal affability (and childishly contagious laugh).
I’m a big fan of podcasts. I have been since I first discovered them, probably because I’m just a geek for radio generally. I like all sorts of podcasts, whether they’re factual, like the BBC’s excellent ‘Witness’ series, or fictional, like ‘The Truth’; humorous ones such as ‘Football Weekly’, or topical ones like ‘The Political Party’; and ones that simply transcend pigeonholing, refusing to obey either the laws of causality or the rules of cricket. There is only of of those, of course: ‘Welcome to Night Vale’.
I was going to write a well-reasoned article. It was going to be analytical and hard-hitting, flawless in its logic and merciless in its execution.
But then my dishwasher broke and 6 weeks after paying £180 there’s still a useless lump of metal in my kitchen. There’s also a lump of useless metal in the extension too, looking suspiciously like a thing that was a working boiler not that long ago. And hey! On the drive! There’s another lump of useless metal in the shape of a 1986 Corsa that failed its MOT.
I’ve been angry all day (I’ve been angry since 1970) but my mood was not improved by the news about the TV debates. I am, I guess, a socialist. A Fabian socialist, which is to say that I stopped believing in immediate global revolution and started to understand the virtue of a gradualist, reformist approach. I believe that society is only as strong as its weakest link, and I believe that society is best served by helping those at the bottom climb up rather than hoping that those at the top will allow some of their wealth to trickle down (how many altruistic millionaires do you know?).
I don’t really have a lot of faith in Labour at the moment, but I’ve written about that before. We don’t have a whole lot happening to shake up the left hand side of the political spectrum, and I’ve written about that too. The Conservatives have the knuckle-dragging elements on their side of things – UKIP, the EDL, the BNP – I can’t tell which is which – but at least they’re shaking things up for those amongst the populace who are elderly white landowners who have never heard of YouTube.
I was angry about the format of the debates, and I was angry about the medium for the debates. Other people have written more eloquently about it, so instead you can have my stream of consciousness ranting.
Oh, wait, that one wasn’t part of the rant. It’s part of a different rant. If you want to know what nothingness tastes like, what the space inside Joey Essex’s head is like, try M&S porridge.
Here’s where it starts. I’m not a fan of Ukip, I’m sure it shows, I don’t appear to be the only one.
I DON’T KNOW WHY I KEPT TYPING ‘MATCH’ INSTEAD OF ‘MARCH’
For a single-issue party based consisting of mostly lunatic fringe members, Ukip have done very well for themselves over the last few months. In particular, they’ve established themselves as the protest vote for people who aren’t really that bothered about politics but “just want to see something done”. I’m not sure that Ukip or their voters know exactly what they want – and if you think I’m wrong about that, then please feel free to show me Ukip’s manifesto. I’m not really sure how you can even support a party that has no manifesto, and is considering buying policies in – as was reported by the Guardian on April 27.
I’m writing this on Monday evening, a few hours after Ed Miliband’s disastrous performance on Radio 4 this lunchtime. With the other party leaders due to follow suit this week, Miliband has set the bar so low that only an A4 piece of paper could slip below it. If Nick Griffin read out a selection of Keith Lemon’s best material while slathering himself with goose fat, it would still be called more of a victory than Miliband’s lamentable performance today.
For me the big worry is how that affects the local elections on Thursday. Everyone knows that you’re supposed to be voting for the local candidate, just as everyone knows that actual they’re delivering a half-time report on the parties and their leaders.
So, I’m making a prediction as to what I think will happen on Thursday. I reckon that we’ll see a modest victory for Labour, something that will let the Reds crow about having a good night whilst the Blues can say that the public are getting behind their policies and shows the gap closing on Labour. Ukip will make large relative gains, mostly on Conservative and LibDem ground. The Yellows, I predict, will be the night’s big losers.
Join me on Friday as I explain how I got all my predictions so utterly wrong.
The other day I blogged about Ed Miliband, and in particular the lack of any substance around his policies. I called him an ‘imperceptible icon’, someone in full view that you could hardly see. In looking around the Internet, I see that I was far from being the only person irked by Ed. The obvious trend was that, when writing about Ed, all you could write about was the vacuum where leadership and policy should be. The problem wasn’t the policy elephant in the room; the problem was, there was no elephant.
And today’s live car crash on Radio 4 won’t have done the Labour leader any favours at all. For those of you who missed it, Ed was interviewed by Martha Kearney on World at One. I’d like to say that it was a reasoned political debate where Ed put across sound socialist policies and provided a solid case why, in two years, we’re all going to be wearing red.
But I can’t. Or if I did, I’d be lying.
The Labour leader gives people nothing to cling to – so protest votes go elsewhere
I celebrated Manchester United’s historic 20th league title as any nerd would, by watching Newsnight. I was struck by the argument between Paul Nuttall (MEP for Ukip) and Labour’s Shadow Immigration Minister Chris Bryant as they argued with the Romanian Ambassador over how many more Eastern European immigrants we might expect next January. To be honest I was only half paying attention; I was more listening to what they weren’t saying.