Tuesday, 1 May 2012

What mayoral election?

It would seem that Londoners are due to go to the polls on Thursday to vote for our mayor. No one has bothered to put any literature through my door on the subject. Boris and Ken plainly think that they don't just walk on water, but they can also control minds; download bits of information direct to the synapses of their potential subjects...

It's difficult to comprehend quite how disinterested I am in the process. The older I get, the more I realise that politics isn't about doing good, or being principled or standing up for the underdog; it's about remaining in power. At any cost.

When I was younger, particularly amongst Labour politicians, there was a genuine sense that those who stood for parliament actually cared. In those days there was no such thing as a career politician. MPs were key figures in medicine, industry and law before they went into politics. They brought with them expertise and a detailed knowledge of the mechanics of their area.

In 1997, everything changed. For the first time a slippery pole emerged for champagne socialists. It was suddenly okay to be left wing. Oxford graduates who’d risen to the top of student politics found jobs as private secretaries to the 30-year-olds who’d suddenly found themselves elected in the shock landslide election. With one foot in the door at Westminster, and enough money to holiday in Tuscany and eat expensive meals on Upper Street, they could kick start their own quest for power by standing as a local councillor in touchy-feely New Labour-voting middle-class inner city London wards. A brief stint in an organisation like the Fabian society would inevitably take them to the next rung, and keep their kids in private school whilst they made all the right noises about Mr Blair and stood for a couple of "unwinable" parliamentary seats to gain experience for the glorious moment that they could expect to be parachuted into that Sheffield constituency where the previous Old Labour MP had weighed his majority rather than counted it!

These days, if you haven’t become an MP by the age of 40, then you’re plainly not going to make it.  You’re obviously not good-looking enough or you don’t have that steely killer instinct that Simon Cowell considers to be a great attribute, or you’re too “maverick”, which is a word all-too-often used to mean compassionate, or simply flawed like the rest of us.

Make no mistake, the aforementioned w**kers are the people who are now in Parliament. I met many of them in the three years that I dated a New Labour MP. I listened to their conversations, their blanket philosophies, their lack of interest in the people who would have to jump when they said jump. They know nothing about schools outside London, or how people live, or what makes us frightened or worried or angry or passionate. They don’t know what it’s like to not have child care, or how it feels when you get turned down for all six choices of school. They simply exist to remain in the spotlight – and the longer they survive at the top of the greasy pole, the longer they believe they have a God-given right to remain there.

Of course I shall vote on Thursday. It is vitally important that we continue to exercise our electoral prerogative; even if we express this simply by spoiling our ballot papers, but I shall vote with my eyes closed because my decision will not make the blindest bit of difference to the way that London is run.

350 years ago, Pepys left Portsmouth, obviously convinced that the future Queen of England was not worth the wait! On their journey home, at Petersfield, news came from the capital that the Duke of York’s misses (the future James II) has given birth to a baby girl. Pepys was very dismissive; “at which I find nobody pleased.” Little did he know that, because the future Queen of England, bobbing somewhere in the Bay of Biscay, was as barren as a moorland, this little girl would grow up to be Mary Stuart, the future Queen of England.


  1. Weird you posted this today, Richard and I have been having exactly the same discussion this evening

  2. What an excellent posting. Even up here in this far flung Northern town, there is a ruling clique who appear to be outside of normal reality and have somehow managed to have a permanent drip of public money in their wallets. It is a cosy warm bowl of coruption which makes my blood boil everyt time one of these self effacing xxats look down their noses at other country's politics and suggest ours is superior! Two word answer to that, Telegraph expenses. I wrote a letter to a paper a few years ago asking people to flood the polling stations and spoil papers, because, staying away, was cited as voter apathy by the politicians and taken as carte blanche to do what the hell they liked to us! I asked an MP once, why, if I didn't vote, it was apathy, but if he abstained in the House, it wasn't. Needless to say, he couldn't answer! Be they Red green orange or blue, if their lips are moving they are lying to you!

  3. Thinking on. Next weekend a close friend of ours is marrying, I can't go because I'm singing in York, she's going to become a Shinwell. When I heard that name, yes it is a direct relative, I was immediately full of respect for a true gentleman, memories of a time when the likes of Manny Shinwell, had educated themselves out of poverty by hard graft and hours in public libraries. Not having been educated in the expensive classrooms of Fetes college etc. I don't know about and Arab spring. We need a British spring.