Dylan Jones: If you ask me

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The Independent Online

If you ask me I never thought I'd be staring at my TV screen and nodding appreciatively at Kevin Costner. But there I was, watching The Tonight Show with Jay Leno the other night, on one of the many hundred satellite channels I didn't know I had, watching the former Next Big Thing bang on about some new film or other, and actually being rather entertaining. He was talking about Obama, the election race, and how he was – like many – fundamentally disappointed with the pace of change in his country. He said that we all have that moment when we're sitting at our kitchen table and thinking, I could do that.

You sort of know what to do, you know what the country needs, and if the powers that be had any sense, all they have to do is ask you. Because then you could set them right. Or words to that effect. One of the virtues of being legitimately disenfranchised (not that Costner is, of course – far from it) is knowing you are still entitled to an opinion on how to run the country – an opinion based on little but your ability to argue on a regular basis with your immediate family, shout at fellow drivers while out in the Volvo and bitch excessively about your boss behind his back. It's amazing how people – and when I'm taking about people here I'm obviously only talking about men – who have absolutely no control over their own lives (and whose idea of success is finding a parking space in the same street as their house) think that they could run the country at least as well as the government.

How hard can it be, they say, for the state to supply honey still for tea, for all? Obviously the greatest exponents are taxi drivers, especially those taxi drivers who treat their passengers like an audience rather than customers, although as they are born performers (having simply chosen a taxi cab rather than the more orthodox route of stage school) it's difficult to separate the dictatorial wheat from the chaff. But while I suppose it's easy to assume that in times like this there's a Kevin Costner (or indeed a cab driver, or indeed a talk radio host) in all of us, over the next few weeks we'll see that there's a Kevin Costner in every member of the Cabinet.

Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'

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