Holy crap! So a couple of days ago when I said aliens won’t come down, deem us too stupid to hold an election and take over? Maybe they should have done. Fully expecting to make a post gloating about how everyone back home would have to now deal with Cameron every day of the week (I was already loading up MSPaint for a poorly executed joke) instead I wake up to confusion and indecision. When I talked about a world where politics is just public figures shrugging at the camera eternally I didn’t mean for you to actually do it!
The Earth’s rotation being what it is, I got to watch four hours of live coverage via the BBC website at a reasonable hour instead of at the crack of dawn. I saw secure seats and sure things change hands unexpectedly as David Dimbleby and Nick Robinson hypothesised and Jeremy Paxman insulted anyone that appeared on his massive screen looking like the captain of the Enterprise or something. All of them batted about the idea of a hung parliament as a very real option but I just couldn’t see it happening. It still looked like a sure thing for the Tories but sure enough as the day played out we were left with no-one winning. This could take ages to work out you know? This is a fairly common occurrence in European governance (and never really a good thing) and the last time it happened on the continent, we’re told, it took around 200 days to sort out. 200 days! And you thought you were sick of hearing about the election before.
As dawn broke and BBC’s nifty poll projection on the side of Big Ben began to fade, the entire country seemed to have become an episode of Stingray. Anything can happen in the next half hour! Brighton elected the first ever Green Party MP (good luck love, you’ll need it), a millionaire got Richmond Park, that squat bitch Hazel Blears hung on but Jacqui Smith lost and some woman threw a real hissy fit when she lost out, putting the media ‘on notice’ with an impotent threat of ‘no more lies.’ I had no idea who the hell she was so how much damage had the media really done to her? Can someone fill me in? Thankfully Nick Griffin was totally savaged and Nick Clegg’s ‘bitterly disappointed’ line made me smile. His anguish sustains me. The most troubling thing about this limbo is that he might now have a platform to make an impact on the way the government acts. A totally undeserved platform. I like to think of Clegg’s performance on election night as the triumph of substance over appearance. We may have been told he did really well in the televised debates but I guess then people had a look at his party’s policies and came to their senses. Apparently he and Cameron are in talks right now. As much as I have beef with both of these parties for various reasons (all three parties actually), I can’t help but feel sorry for the guys that voted Lib Dem and inadvertently gave the Tories more bargaining tools.
Later on in the morning the spectre of dread Lord Mandleson shimmered into view, glowering down at Dimbleby et al in mission control like Darth Vader delivering orders to his minions on the Death Star. Every time I see him I imagine a hooded choir in the background chanting in Latin. He is genuinely terrifying. For a man entirely comprised of darkness it was surprising then that he was totally over-shadowed by Boris Johnson’s appearance. Discussing the possibilities for the Conservative party’s future, Boris talked about how the Conservative must be the meat in the sausage of the government. Paxman couldn’t keep a straight face and it all broke down into fits of laughter from there but if I may Boris, can we expand on this analogy? We know the horror stories where mass-produced sausages are concerned. Some barely have any meat in it and the bits that are meat are sometimes from unmentionable parts of various animals. So I guess what I’m asking is, how much of the Conservative sausage meat will be palatable and how much will just be a bunch of arseholes?
So right now the prerogative lies with Brown as the incumbent PM to make the first move towards a coalition but the question posed now is does he have the right to considering the performance of Labour in the polls? Well yes of course he does, it’s in the political constitution and if any more Tories whine about that fact the BBC would be happy to once again show the video package of Tory PM Edward Heath enacting the same prerogative in 1974. By the way Gordon, this probably isn’t the best example to base your actions on seeing as it went really, really not well for Heath. I have no idea how this will turn out but I can definitely foresee a Conservative/Lib Dem coalition (ConLib? TorDem? CamClegg? That last one sounds like a pretty nasty bowel condition) running the show despite how odd that would be. At any rate I’m glad that all the information I’ll get about the situation will be at my own leisure. A helpful diagram below.
The last part of this entry is about the Daily Show last week and if you can’t think about anything but the election please feel free to skip it. I just need a moment to express my disappointment with what is usually a truly excellent piece of programming. Jon Stewart and his writing team decided to cover Brown’s unfortunate ‘bigoted woman’ comment being picked up on the news. As it’s American I was quite prepared to stomach the old faithful way of poking fun at the British, mock upper class accents and making up silly sounding names for our towns and food. Yes, yes Spotted Dick is a stupid name for a pudding but honestly, I thought Stewart was above going to that particular well. That was all well and good, well I mean it was all tolerable and average until they started reporting the story like Gordon Brown was an absolute monster, totally glossing over the Rochdale woman’s comments to say, and I swear this is a direct quote, ‘Congratulations Gordon Brown you’ve broken the heart of the sweetest old lady in England’. All the while I was waiting for the punchline but it never came. Apparently that was the conclusion the Daily Show had come to, Brown is evil and this woman couldn’t possibly have said anything remotely bigoted. That’s just shoddy and one-sided reporting Mr. Stewart. I know Stewart will constantly claim that his show is not news, it’s comedy, that’s why it’s on Comedy Central and not, you know, a news channel but in actual fact Stewart is something of a closet journalist. He is adept at picking up on his victims’ hypocrisy but here his skills seemed to fail him in favour of pandering to a rosy image of the English that simply doesn’t exist any more. For further clarity and to check if I wasn’t getting in a rage over something much more trivial than it seemed (not uncommon) I turned to an American friend. The exchange goes as follows:
American Friend: I think they don’t really understand it, and their audience doesn’t either
They’re not news, and they’re not going to be able to report through jokes that no one gets
Me: But that’s not telling jokes that the audience gets
that’s distorting it for an easier angle:
‘Gordon Brown is mean and his political career is borked’
if they weren’t going to do it justice don’t do it at all
AF: Most Americans would be shocked to learn how bigoted the UK is in general
Anglophilia runs rampant and Britain can do no wrong, etc etc
I thought you all hated us
AF: So you can’t riff off of the old lady actually being a bigot, because we see her as a sweet old lady that’ll feed you tea and biscuits
There are demographics that hate Europe as a whole
but those aren’t the ones who watch the Daily Show
You let me down Jon. I won’t stop watching you, I think you’re a very funny man and you’re doing a very important job keeping us all sane through comedy but I’m as disappointed as Nick Clegg (still feels good) in the way your writing team apparently just did not do the research. Poor little UK doesn’t matter in the shadow of your political juggernaut I’m sure but you have a massive worldwide following. Treat them with a little more respect and credit them with a little more intelligence. Please? That’s all, I promise if you do I’ll put you back on my pedestal with Charlie Brooker.
The surprisingly aptly titled Votemageddon rumbles on for now. See you next time, for now I’m looking into uploading the entirety of the BBC’s live election coverage onto YouTube with the theme tune from Stingray playing on a continuous loop in the background.