May 2006

NuLabor Meltdown

I’ve had a pretty shit couple of weeks. Nothing in particular worthy of remark; just general shitness. The kind of lumpen malaise that inspires deep disillusionment with the world. And which, in turn, generates a “why bother” attitude towards writing. So, I’m sorry it’s been rather slow here, but whatchagonnado?

Mind you, I did spend a couple of evenings listening to Hounds of Love and fleshing out an idea for a novel I’m thinking of writing (with the provisional title; “The Stockhausen Manuscript”). I envision it as inhabiting that rarely-visited netherworld between James Joyce and Tom Clancy. More about that should anything come of it. (Incidentally, the always reliable Onion recently published one of their funniest pieces in a long time. Check it out. And while you’re at it, there’s a new Get Your War On.)

Thankfully though, the grim mood is passing for now. This could have something to do with the weather which has a distinct hint of summer about it. Or perhaps it’s astrological, or neurochemical, or biorhythmical. Who knows?

Another result of the deep blue funk (on top of turning this place into a ghost-town) was the fact that – by and large – I avoided the news media during the past 14 days or so. I was getting grimmed-out by everything, and current affairs programming was guaranteed to make things worse. Janet Daly (obnoxious rightwing columnist) on Question Time a couple of weeks ago was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I vaguely considered taking out a civil lawsuit against her for incitement to violence (it only took a minute of her capitalist cheerleading before I was in the mood to kick puppies and kittens). But in the end I decided to boycott politics for a wee while.

I can’t say I feel any different because of my news-avoidance, but the fact that the British government spontaneously went into meltdown as soon as I turned my back suggests that I may be boycotting more things more often. Seriously, what’s up with that? The last thing I saw before my break – politically speaking – was Charles Clarke nodding sagely at Daly’s buffoonery. Then upon my return, less than a fortnight later, the Safety Elephant has handed in his resignation (but had it refused) and stands accused of smuggling a thousand convicted murderers and rapists and drug-dealers into the country while nobody was looking.

Leastways that’s how the tories are painting it.

At the same time, the deputy prime minister John “Two Jags” Prescott is being hounded out of office because he shagged somebody. I’m utterly opposed, on principle, to the idea that politicians should be held to account for their sex-lives. But at the same time I have to admit, after nine years of nuLabor there’s a temptation to take any shot you’re offered. So in that context…

Certainly there’s a view that politicians; because they choose the job of representing tens of thousands of people at a national level; should be expected to have some level of personal integrity.

Who Prescott has sex with doesn’t affect his personal integrity in my view (I’m not a puritan in any sense). But the fact that he had affair(s) behind the back of his wife, does. Sorry, but that’s the way I see it. If you claim you’re being faithful, and are aware that your fidelity is important to the person you claim to love, then having affairs is a stain on your integrity. I know, I know, these situations are complicated and emotions often rule our decisions in this area… but cheating is still cheating whatever way you look at it. Prescott had an affair in the full knowledge that the revelation would hurt his wife dreadfully. And he did it knowing that the affairs of politicians (a job he chose, not one he was forced into) are far more likely to be exposed than those of most other people. On top of “cheat” you can add “stupid”.

So ultimately the question becomes whether or not it’s a good idea to give power to someone willing to lie to, and cheat on, the person he claimed to love most in the world. It begs the question; if he cared so little about her feelings (or was too fricking dumb to realise that his affair would eventually hit the tabloids) then how much less does he care about the feelings of those he represents?

Yes, yes, yes. It’s a cheap shot… and one I make with little enthusiasm. But so long as he’s deputy prime minister of a government with nuLabor’s track-record, then I humbly submit; he’s fair game.

And while both the Safety Elephant and Two Jags are being savaged in the press, up pops “Doctor John” Reid (Phd in Apologism and Revisionism) and The Mysterious Case of the Guest’s Cannabis. Turns out folks, you simply have to hide your stash in “a guestroom”. Then if you get busted, there’s no illegality involved. If the police question you about it, you must reply (and I quote) “I have no idea where it came from, or when”. Amazing the things you can learn from the news.

The police statement was also revealing… Dr. John was said to have “co-operated fully with police and is not suspected of having committed any crime or offence”. Apparently there’s a whole other set of laws for politicians. Because he clearly isn’t covered by the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act which makes it an offence to allow your premises to be used for the consumption of cannabis. It’s a curious piece of legislation which also applies to the smoking of opium, but not the injecting of heroin (yes, yes, I know. It makes as much sense as the rest of drug policy).

So whether or not Dr. John owned the stuff, the fact that it was found in his house clearly puts him under suspicion of committing a crime. Class C or not.

Of course, in an ideal world, nobody would have to be paranoid about the discovery of some plant matter in their home. It makes me rather irate, though, that the very people who insist that a draconian law like the Misuse of Drugs Act should be enforced, are apparently the only people to whom it doesn’t apply.

Posted in: Opinion