Friday, 15 May 2015

The Joust and the Dark Knight

Can you believe it, even before the race to find the new Labour leader gets underway, the jousting begins, and one knight (among the warrior women) has already broken his lance. Only three days after declaring his candidacy Chuka Umunna MP, dubbed the British Obama[1] and the bookies’ favourite, has withdrawn.  

This is the wrong time for my candidacy says he; it has already subjected his family to unwelcomed attention and pressure from the media.[2] The press intrudes; that's what it does and it began some time ago. More recently, since  announcing his candidacy and going for such a coveted prize, Umunna would always be targeted for extreme scrutiny for very obvious reasons. Did he not know that? As an inexperienced novice, he would be hung, drawn and quartered.

The outcome of the Leveson inquiry into phone hacking and the ethics and culture of the British press has had little to no effect; it failed to rein in the excesses of the media's pack mentality when it sets upon the latest prey. Why has the other two candidates who declared at the same time as Umunna not received the same level of scrutiny and harassment?  Is it something to do with Umunna's 'Savile Row' suits or his 'sleek' performance? Or is there something distinctly 'exotic' and 'unknown other' about him?

I have no doubt that as time went on, it would have been vicious, especially from the British Tea Party, as well as mainstream commentators.  Obama and his entire extended family, his identity and religion were dissected and vilified. The racism was overt. He survived two whole terms (almost) under a barrage of outrageous abusive. One needs a very steely backbone indeed Chuka; good job you found out now rather than later after the floodgates had opened.

  

Umunna describes himself as “blue Labour”, by which he means a moderniser in the Blair mould. This is a red rag to the bullish side of the Party. A group of first-time Labour MPs to Westminster have today written an open letter calling for the next party chief to ditch the “New Labour creed of the past”.  Labour will lose the 2020 election because it is confused and clueless.  If that happens will the 'Blues' break away and join the Liberal Democrats? It happened before.


Oh well, one down out of current five candidates, three more to go since there is only one with an outside chance of beating the Tories. There is much fun to be had over the coming months and years.

 

In the meantime, like the Labour Party, Cameron too has union problems, the European Union. Cameron’s lead knight in the arena to slay the EU dragon, is Sir George. First among Equals and the Tory’s very own Prince of Darkness, George Osborne[3] has that lean, mean and hungry look about him that puts me in mind of Shakespeare's Julius Ceasar who said of Cassius:

 

Let me have men about me that are fat;
Sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights.
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look,
He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.

 

With dark saturnine looks and recent weight lost, Osborne sometimes looks as if he could do with a bit more sleep. But Cameron is safe from the machinations of this Cassius, any decapitation attempt will come from the Nightmare on Elm Street faction of Dave’s own party (there are about 60 of them) all waiting for that referendum to get the hell out of Europe. Right now they are biding their time, giving Dave time to enjoy his honeymoon period.

 

Some do not much care for Cameron’s ‘liberal conservatism’ (that’s why he got on so well with Cleggers, the famous bromance) and Cameron knows he has reason to be afraid, very afraid. Who wants a humiliating ousting, after all he would have achieved for his Party?  If Cameron’s negotiations with the EU goes awry and/or a referendum goes against the ‘OUT’ campaign then the "Freddies" will come for him[4]. /Watch this space.

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