Editor's Letter: The rise and (mostly) fall of British Politics

  • @stefanohat


I’m going to walk into a right old ding dong with some readers by suggesting that this past week has not been Britain’s finest 168 hours. Some of you will disagree, believing that to reduce debate about the lasting significance, for better or worse, of the towering political figures of our age to “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” and “I’m in Love With Margaret Thatcher” is appropriately absurdist. Perhaps you feel it displays our great British sense of humour?

I’m not laughing. How did British politics sink to the level of former Conservative MP Louise Mensch’s almost unhinged campaign to stop “Ding Dong” ascending the charts in favour of The Notsensibles’ 1979 punk piss-take? Mensch and her fellow “freedom fighters” lost all connection with grown-up politics, let alone their own beliefs, in their blind panic over “Ding Dong”.

I’ve as little time for Thatcher death parties as I do for the Mail and Telegraph canonising her. No dancing on a grave for me, whatever I think. But the BBC should have grown a pair and played the damn Munchkins.

Now, I do like the idea of a US-style “library” despite the obvious irony of the Conservatives forcing so many public libraries to close. We must know and learn from our past. The JFK library in Boston and the LBJ in Austin are two of the more fascinating I’ve experienced. I am that cruel dad who dragged my poor girls around the Richard Nixon library in California in return for a weekend at Disneyland. It’s the only one not funded by federal government, due to Tricky Dickie’s “disgrace”.

“Inverted commas” because to the purple-rinsed volunteers who staff the sad place, he had done no wrong, no matter what everyone said about him − none the less they did engage and debate the matter with us. Ding Dong? It’s not sensible at all.

Follow @stefanohat