The five stages of Grieve have been identified by psychologists:
3. Bargaining (with foreign enemies)
4. Believing your own wildest rhetoric
5. Standing as a vanity candidate out of spite in a General Election
Many former MPs recently defenestrated may be feeling the signs of Grieve as the nights lengthen and the season of ill-will approaches. Once outgoing characters in an established rut, now thrown into the real world and feeling Gaukey, we should not be cruel – they are in need of help and counselling.
With happy abandon, many MPs are abandoning the Commons, before they are kicked out on their backsides by a relieved, vengeful electorate. Those confident smiles: have they even thought about what they will do when they emerge into the real world with the rest of us? Do they think they have a future? Bless!
Here’s part one of 101 uses for a dumped MP I wrote down on an old envelope at lunchtime:
- Reality TV show. Just don’t ask for a £million: you’re not worth it, and if you are, you won’t want to be seen in that trash, even with a strong medicament.
- (Top slots by the way are I’m a Has Been, Get me a Camera, and Strictly Come Off It: talk to my agent; she’s good.)
- Start a think-tank: but first find a wealthy donor who is prepared to pay you a salary out of pity. You don’t have to produce anything of value; just collect the cheque at the end of the month.
- After-dinner speaking. If you were a Prime Minister or Speaker, you may earn five figures for a slot or six for a conference; four figures for a senior cabinet minister. Anyone else, well, you can always do children’s parties.
- Bag a pundit slot on a politics programme: but there are very few going and only to those with wisdom and charisma, so that’s most ex-MPs out already.
- Sue a journalist who pretended you wanted to be on a reality TV show – that is really, really defamatory.
- Chair a quango. There are plenty out there, usually created to give jobs to otherwise unemployable Blairites, but maybe they will expand to let you in if you mouth Common Purpose platitudes? They may employ you as a condolence for your powerlessness. You will still be powerless.
- Start a charity. Two versions: the genuine, voluntary charity if you actually hope to go back into politics, and you can still think that if you like, or the better route is a grant-farm, where you can be paid your old salary out of taxpayers’ money without actually doing any good; just like the old days.
- A regular slot on Classic FM: just leave it long enough so they forget about, well, you know.
- That thing that Ben Shapiro does, with an on-line politics / interviews show? Shapiro makes a mint, but then he is an intellectual giant and you are not.
- Beg on the streets. It’s practically what you have been doing for the last few years anyway.
And the most radical suggestion of them all:
- Get a real job like a normal person.
Rory Stewart dramatically today got noticed for a moment. Fed up with being spoofed on Twitter, Stewart set out his stall to be Mayor of London – a place he has visited more than once. On his past as an assistant governor of an Iraqi province, he remarked that a place of where society has broken into chaos, random killings stalk the streets and all normal life has given up hope would be a challenge after Iraq but one he will take on.
I last missed interviewing Rory Stewart in July outside Westminster Hall – he had a glint in his eye as he swept up to me, then realised I was not starstruck by his presence and swept past. Now that he has plunged back into the limelight, I will fail to interview him again about his new ambition.
It is a long walk from Penrith to Downing Street but Stewart has this in his sights as he sets out on the latest ‘RoryWalk’. He is set to defy Boris Johnson, whose approach he despises, by trying to imitate his career path exactly as the master showed.
Publishers are waiting to see what happens next, and if there’s a book in it.
By Rory Stewart:
By Boris Johnson:
By Liam Fox:
By David Cameron
By Tim Bale
In a welcome return, the Labour Conference hit the boards in Brighton, with stunning comic performances all round.. ‘This is a real boost to our party’ said a Conservative spokesman.
See people you wouldn’t trust to run a tea room trying to chair a debate on macro-economic policy! Marvel at the 1950s tribute acts, as they “move composite 13” and call each other “comrade”.
After last week’s rather tame warm-up act, LibDem ’19, this a shaping up to be a corker.
The show started with a show reviewing allegations anti-Semitism, successfully kept Judenrein by holding it on the Sabbath.
John McDonnell’s magic show was back on display, with his four-day week trick: not a minute on the day, not a penny off the pay, and not a business left open.
A highlight has been Emily Thornberry: after her passionate plea to keep up the massive funding for her project, “the EU”, she turned to a hilarious story about being run down by a car: it’s the way you tell ’em Emily. She then doubled the gain, pledging to use every breath to stay in the EU to avoid an economic shock, while supporting Jeremy Corbyn to close the whole economy – an unbeatale tour de farce.
There’ll be fireworks later in the week as the leadership invite a party who blew the gaff in 1984. All eyes on the van in the car park.
Critics are hopeful of even better comedy sets as the week goes on, leading to the grand Corbyn finale. A former columnist on the Telegraph was delighted with the Labour Conference Show, and hoped it would go on: journalist Boris Johnson said it is he best boost he has had since his own prorogation performance.
In the matter of the reclaiming motion by Cherry and 78 other, from the outer House we say:
Bored. Bored. Gey bored. All the guid, weighty commercial trials go to London. We have not even the power to enforce our writ beyond fifty miles from this place without that we beg it o’ the London judges. Bored.
Here’s a pretty one though sent up from the Outer House. Nine and seventy petitioners no less, and the Lord Advocate among then, and all the fees they bring.
Aye, the Lord Ordinary is right in all he says – there is not a case to speak to and no law to overturn this act they complain of, nor any precedent to challenge it either, but they do keep yelling and wailing, and the old vox populi, or in any case vox shouty…
They dinnae mind who we are in London, so this may shake them up – we are no some wee county court here – these robes cost a pile o’ money. A big gesture then, and we get noticed, at last.
(We are always overturning primary acts of our local parliament, a toytown parliament as it may be. It so often acts madly and we step in, so could it not be fairer to knock a thing or two from London?)
Now, reckoning as the matter is non-justiciable as the learned Lord Ordinary said, aye, but grand words can fit around that. This is a matter of Royal Prerogative and there is no Act nor precedent to tell us what is a right way and a wrong way to use it, so maybe we can make the rules up as we go. It would indeed be shocking if a politician were permitted to make political decisions for political reasons. (I dislike the look o’ the man too, and I didnae get to send my children to Eton nor even Fettes like that Blair character.)
We shall stand it upon ‘the constitution’ and pass over that there is no constitution, and assume conventions apply, though conventions are not law. Not so bored now, eh?
Our decision may have no grounds, no law, no principle beyond politics, but if we speak it boldly then someone in London will notice we are here at last.