Bizarre self-defenestrations

The election campaign has only just begun and is already looking like the most bizarre one in living memory. We expect the howls of faux-outrage when a leading politician says something that can be twisted in an outraged misquote to build a Twitterstorm, and we expect tumults over tiny things that convulse political insiders but leave the rest of the voters just puzzled, if uncomfortable that something has happened, and even if we do not know what it was, well, it was bad if those who understand it think it was.

We have also come to expect SkyNews acting as the broadcasting wing of the Labour Party.

The Liberal Democrat leaflets with dishonest bar charts and made-up voting figures? That’s practically compulsory in any election

No; the bizarre thing is the pattern in the sudden loss of leading candidates, and the reappearance of others thought disposed of.

Tom Watson – the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party no less. If you are heading into an election with an unpopular leader seen widely as a lunatic, then you need an apparently sane man aboard as a reassurance, but now he is gone. Even as his papers were about to go in, he is gone – out of the deputy-leadership and not standing for his seat. The timing is unspeakable. He was the one the Labour Party kept in so the Party did not look too swivel-eyed. Except of course that Tom Watson entered the ‘loony’ category when he championed ‘Nick’ the fantasist in his accusations against respected, innocent figures. Momentum tried to depose Tom Watson for no being a Communist, but perhaps the dead knife was wielded by one of his victims: Harvey Proctor pledged to stand against him, and remind the voters of what he had done.

Then came Chris Williamson – kicked out because he could not see that expressions commonplace in Germany in the 1930s might not be appropriate in a civilised society. He has reappeared, not for Labour but standing against their candidate, as an independent, at least at the time of writing. Regrettably, he is unlikely to split the red vote too badly. Only a cynic surely would suggest that he is just after the cash settlement that outgoing MPs get only if they stand and are defeated.

Then there are Brexit Party candidates standing aside in droves, on the basis that they do not want to win votes that could more usefully go elsewhere.

This is only Day 1. What monsters will the next 6 weeks bring us? Popcorn please.

101 Uses for a Dumped MP

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.

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