Election 2015

Britain’s Got Talent?

Here’s something I wrote a little while after the 2010 General Election, and in response to the Prime Ministerial Televised Debates that aired during April 2010. I’ve published it today for reasons that should be pretty clear.

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Only a few months ago, we were all treated to the Prime Ministerial Debates.

It had never been done before. For the first time ever, a live debate would be held on the economy, foreign policy, voting reform and environmental promises. Nothing was going to be out of bounds. We would witness our future decision makers face the music and answer the big questions.

So, before I go on, did anyone see the debates described above?

I’m not talking about the half-arsed dinner theatre we all got, but rather the fascinating delve into the minds of our political leaders that was advertised by Sky, the BBC and the other one (Channel 5)?

What the fuck happened here? Did I miss the meeting where it was decided that rather than treat those who give a shit about such things, as intelligent, informed and diverse citizens, we’ll instead screw them with their pants on and throw them something we scripted earlier!

Talk about hype, this thing could have been produced by J. J. Abrams… although at times a J. J. Abrams script would have seemed far more realistic and closer to reality.

We had David Cameron looking like a disgraced Geography teacher, Gordon Brown looking for the buffet trolley, and Nick Clegg looking just happy to have been invited.

So with the room paid for, and the band well rehearsed, we all settled down to watch four and a half hours of mutual agreement.

We need more nurses… we need more police… we need more teachers… we need better schools… we need better hospitals… we need a well-equipped army… and we need to cut taxes while paying back billions of pounds in loans.

YES! We all know this!

Honestly, the stuff being discussed was so fucking obvious my pet guinea pig could have stood in for any of these cardboard cut-outs!

These guys were so desperate not to rattle anything, they pretty much echoed each other on everything… and when one of them did forget the script, and foolishly wandered into an actual debate and challenged an opposing policy, they immediately back-paddled to safety.

It was so frustrating. We had the opportunity to seriously debate issues that are going to shape our country for many years to come. We had a stage made up of academics and experts in their chosen fields. And an audience itching to ask questions that will challenge each party.

Fuck that! Let’s just agree that nurses do a difficult job, schools are very important for education, and the police are quite handy for arresting bad people. Holy shit!

This was dumb-down TV at its best.

At a time when stupidity is so readily accepted and catered too on TV, why couldn’t we have used these debates to raise the bar a little higher, and ask people to stretch for it?

We don’t always have to revert to the Wife-Swap formula for lobotomising a nation. If we expect our political leaders to do better, shouldn’t we??

Fast forward a few weeks and Election Night arrived.

The papers and pundits were already calling a hung parliament before a single vote had been cast. In the end, the Conservatives gained 100 seats, Labour lost a ton… and Clegg, the saviour of British politics, actually did worse than ever.

True to form, we found ourselves with a hung parliament – and eventually got a government no one, by a single majority, elected.

And to add insult to injury, Nick Clegg sold out the Liberals and became the Egor to David Cameron’s Victor Frankenstein!

After millions being spent on advertising, even more money spent on boring pundits to cover every boring sentence, and lord knows how much spin and rhubarb, what did the Prime Ministerial Debates provide?

For me, absolutely nothing! All that airtime and money would have been better utilised in an attempt to get Katie Price and Peter Andre back together.

In short, the joke was on us… and continues to get funnier.

Paul Millard 2010 (revised)

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Election Special

I’m not one for getting all political, but this election could be a landmark one for this country – and not in a good way.

Now it might be all well and good for multi-millionaire, and ex-Los Angeles resident, Russell Brand to tell us misguided fools that voting is rubbish.  And I’m happy that Russell Brand (multi-millionaire, ex-Los Angeles resident), is using his popularity to announce such opinions to whoever is willing to spend £16.99 for the hardback.

However, on those occasions when Russell Brand (multi-millionaire, ex-Los Angeles resident), talks such a heightened level of bollocks, I can’t help but see him as nothing more than a South Bank street entertainer who has shagged his way into a very successful career in show business.

As such, I’m not entirely sure we should be taking advice on overthrowing an entire parliamentary system of rule, only to embark upon a torturous reformation of a new socio-political ideal, from a bloke who is a few steps up from pretending to be a statue in Covent Garden.

I intend to be one of the first in line next Thursday – not to register my vote towards a particular party I support, but rather away from one I utterly despise.

These reptiles are largely responsible for an air of tolerated racism and xenophobia in this country.  Basking in opinions that should be shameful and embarrassing, they seemingly appeal to a growing group of supporters who are either too ignorant to cast aside their own outdated and vile prejudices, or too stupid to see past the “good for Britain” rhetoric being promised.

Yep.  I’m referring to those lovely men and women over at UKIP.  The voice of the uninformed voter.

Now, we all know how warm and accepting Nigel Farage is.

His party effortlessly attracts the worst kind of racists and bigots to their numbers, he is good friends with groups such as the rightwing Italian Northern League, to say nothing of his much trumpeted hatred for the European Parliament – who he freely accepts an £83,000 salary from.

Add to this the endless catalogue of racist, sexist, xenophobic and two-faced displays provided by his underlings, and we have a party of forward thinkers, led by a man with oodles of integrity and compassion.

So when Nigel speaks of his sorrow towards drowned immigrant children, I don’t doubt his motives for two seconds… and would never consider his choked comments as a veil to cover his real feelings – a veil so thin I could use it as a fucking contact lens!

These people are absurd, embarrassing and truly poisonous with their intentions.

Every time a UKIP zealot opens their mouth and spews the party line bile, I can’t help but feel sympathy for them.  Sympathy towards how they manage to live a life so terrified and intolerant.  It must be hellish.

However, with such a level of apathy in this country, and with multi-millionaire ex-LA residents telling us not to bother voting, I’m concerned.

Look.  If you place a tick next to UKIP, then fine… congratulations… you’re an idiot.  But at least you have used your right to make that choice, and my tolerant lefty mind-set can’t slam you for that.

However, if these hate mongers get a foothold because too many of us just couldn’t be bothered to vote at all… then we are the idiots.  Willing architects towards a county that will be horrifyingly disconnected and entrenched in fear.

So get down to the booth and vote for anyone other than this lot.  Go Green, go Conservative, go Labour… just make sure you go!

Paul Millard 2015

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