Thursday, November 29, 2007

On Mr Stalin and Mr Bean

A thought occurred to me while watching Question Time this evening. Just the one mind. Alan Duncan MP for Rutland and Melton and Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform expressed his glee at comments made by Vince Cable, the acting leader of the Liberal Democrats, in yesterday's PMQs. What Cable said was this:

"Mr Speaker, the House has noticed the Prime Minister's remarkable transformation in the last few weeks from Stalin to Mr Bean. Creating chaos out of order rather than order out of chaos."

Isn't it funny, thought I, that when a pissed-up, crass-tongued Ken Livingstone compared a Jewish newspaper reporter to a Nazi concentration camp guard, he was, quite rightly, condemned across the political spectrum. That he also faced disciplinary action was to my mind a step too far. However, when all and sundry flippantly compare Gordon Brown to Koba the Dread not a word is heard to demur.

Some years ago the New Statesman magazine ran an edition on whose front cover Tony Blair was depicted as the Man of Steel. One contributor vowed never to take a commission again while the deputy editor at the time is said to have resigned for the same reason.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

On things you absolutely don't want to happen two days before an election

Let's think of a few: losing two CDs with the bank account details of 25 million potential voters would rank fairly highly (timing is everything), your partner being seen enjoying the company of another, perhaps (Sarko benefitted, peut-être?), and lastly, and more pertinently, inventing a group called the Islamic Australia Federation and distribute literature purporting that your rivals have forgiven terrorist bombers.

Australia goes to the ballot box in two days' time with the Labour Party ahead in the polls and its leader, Kevin Rudd, expected to become the next prime minister. So, things weren't looking too good for John Howard's Liberal Party before today's revelation that some campaigners in the marginal constituency of Lyndsay had sought to undermine their opponents with the dirtiest of dirty tricks campaigns.

Gary Clark and Greg Chijoff had leaflets printed bearing the name of a fictional organisation called the 'Islamic Australia Federation'. The leaflets claimed that the Labour Party supported those who carried out the 2002 Bali bombings. As though to underline the incomprehensible stupidity of the authors, the leaflets ended with the Arabic expression of faith "Allah Akbar" - only the two men were not so devious as to ensure basic attention to detail, spelling the now widely known phrase "Ala Akba".

Jackie Kelly, the outgoing MP in the constituency and wife of Gary Clark, described the leaflets as a 'prank' at once demonstrating a singularly tenuous grasp on the notion of humour and dismissing any possibility that the voters of Lyndsay were unfortunate to be losing her.