Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Can things can get any worse?

It is not impossible that the next President of the United States will be a woman, or that Labour will win the next General Election.

However, we can be pretty sure that these things are only going to happen if John McCain or Barack Obama volunteers for gender reassignment surgery by the end of the year, and if Labour finds a new leader to replace Gordon Brown.

If the Prime Minister continues to insist that only he is equipped to guide the country through these difficult times, nothing will stand between David Cameron and Downing Street, short of a shock revelation that he has been raising a secret family in the cellar of his Notting Hill eco-home, and forcing them to take part in evil experiments on small, furry animals.

It has been suggested that Mr Brown’s staunch support for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill owes something to the fact that he has a young son with cystic fibrosis, and is naturally keen to promote medical research into such life-threatening conditions.

But there are times when his behaviour suggests that the Prime Minister himself is the product of a pioneering hybrid embryo, created by inserting a smidgen of human DNA into the egg of a particularly bone-headed dinosaur.

It may be sad and wrong, but no-one with such a catastrophic lack of PR skills can hope to succeed as our national leader in this shallow and celebrity-obsessed media age. It is the perfect time for an easy charmer like Tony Blair, who frightened no-one but the traditional core supporters of his party, and was so remarkably difficult to hate.

Perhaps Labour MPs had a different sort of termination in mind when they refused to countenance a reduction in the time limit for abortions, but it is going to be anything but a quick and painless operation to eliminate Mr Brown. No-one who has worked tirelessly for more than a decade to get their hands on the remaining levers of British power is going to give a resigned shrug and calmly hand them over to the first passing Miliband.

And even when the right thing to do is so painfully clear, how on earth do you take a diplodocus for its final appointment with the vet?

In these desperate times, Labour thoughts will turn naturally to the creation of a saviour sibling, but one with the easy smile and winning ways of Tony Blair rather than the dour obstinacy and ability to get people’s backs up demonstrated by Gordon Brown. And the bad news for them is that just such a saviour sibling already exists. He is called David Cameron.

As a lifelong, though sceptical, Conservative supporter, I welcome the end of the last 16 years of pain much as John O’Farrell’s hilarious book, Things Can Only Get Better, celebrated New Labour’s rescue of the party he loved from its long, dark night of utter uselessness.

Because my views are at the libertarian end of the spectrum, perhaps best described as Tory Anarchist, I have more friends on the left than within my own party. I have been much struck by how many of them were willing to abandon the habits of a lifetime this month and vote Conservative, particularly for Boris Johnson in London.

It’s not just the faltering economy and rising taxes that have created this tide, or the apparent lack of principle and simple incompetence over the 10p tax band. It’s the growing sense that we are living in a controlling, authoritarian state that is obsessed with ordering every detail of our lives.

Discussing this on Friday with a barrister much exercised by the assaults on civil liberties since 1997, she declared that things could not get any worse under the Tories. Perhaps she has given me the ideal title for a hilarious book on their current renaissance.

Originally published in The Journal, Newcastle upon Tyne.

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