Thought this article in today’s Times was Caitlin on particularly brilliant form about the state of things, so here it is:
Caitlin Moran: seven people who could run Britain now –
‘The Muppet Show is pretty much exactly the present state of British politics’
I’ve pondered all kinds of punchy opening statements for this column, wherein I would describe the current political situation with a series of pithy metaphors and similes, designed to ease us into the main conversation.
But there’s no point. We appear to be living in an era that will be referred to by historians as “The News F***” – a cycle of events so momentous, rapid, surreal and terrifying that 80 per cent of what you know at lunchtime will have disappeared by tea. No one knows anything. Three-quarters of all thinking is a simple, “ARRRRRGHWHA????” Being British currently feels like being those Scouts in Jim’ll Fix It, trying to eat their lunch on a rollercoaster. We just wanna eat our lunch.
And so, for a country in impossible turmoil – reluctantly aware that this turmoil is the mere foothills of turmoil, compared with what will come – a longing surges in the heart for just one sane adult to come along with a viable plan and make things better. Just one. Someone not currently engaged in this bare-knuckle clown show, who inspires calm and hope in the breast and can unite a country 24 hours away from turning into 63 million people in the street, punching each other in the face and screaming, “THE BELL RANG AND YOU CHOSE WHICH SIDE YOU WERE ON. NOW YOU MUST DIE.”
Clearly it’s a tall order, but here are the people I’m pretty sure could manage it.
1. Barack Obama. Obviously there would be a bit of paperwork to sort out, and there are probably laws against it and stuff, but he’s a capable guy. He gets things done, he knows how to handle a crisis, he’s available as of next year, and I put it to you that it’s no less insane than anything that’s happened in the past few weeks. Plus – and this is a huge bonus – it would actually make Donald Trump explode. Simply explode.
2. Delia Smith. Do we not desperately need some reassuring, mum-like figure who, for 90 per cent of the time, will carefully calibrate the exact amount of time it takes to boil an egg, with occasional interludes where she has a couple of drinks and yells, “WE NEED A TWELFTH MAN HERE. WHERE ARE YOU? WHERE ARE YOU? LET’S BE HAVING YOU.” I posit that we do.
3. Aslan. No matter that he’s a fictional character and a lion – in the current political landscape, he’s no less viable than anyone else. I would willingly take on the task of walking around the country, opening every single wardrobe in turn and shouting, “Narnia? Aslan? Are you in here? Anyone? Even the talking beavers? Talking beavers would be a distinct upgrade right now.” I’m fully aware this might take years, but I wish to serve my nation in this period of turmoil.
4. David Miliband. Putting aside his political experience, international standing and – importantly – complete absence from British politics while the Labour Party turns into King’s Landing under the High Sparrow in Game of Thrones, Miliband has lived in America for the past couple of years, so would have contacts who would – as our economy tanks – be able to ship him black-market stockings, chewing gum and candy. We will need those tights and that gum. Warm legs and chewing could be vital for morale when the drones start picking off the weak.
5. The Queen. Hard not to feel tempted right now that a full restitution of the monarchy might not be the simplest way out of this s***storm. The experiment of parliamentary democracy has resulted in a load of demented public schoolboys playing soggy biscuit with the future of the country and, in these circumstances, going back to a medieval feudal regime may well introduce the stability we so desperately need. Plus, she has castles. We could live in the castles, safely, when the first wave of zombies attack.
6. Kermit the Frog. Have you seen how he deals with the insanity of the Muppet Theatre? On any given evening, Gonzo’s trying to shoot himself out of a cannon, there are chickens everywhere, the Swedish chef is shouting mad balls, Piggy’s having a diva huff, and Elton John’s turned up with half a dozen crocodiles to sing Crocodile Rock. I put it to you that this is pretty much exactly the present state of British politics, detail for detail. And yet, through it all, Kermit makes sure the curtains go up and down on time, Animal doesn’t eat anyone, and the audience stay in their seats, rather than rioting. He’s the frog for the job.
7. Sir David Attenborough. Lovely, calm and clever, Attenborough commands the respect of all, introduced snooker in colour to BBC Two and, crucially, is friends with gorillas. Let’s be realistic: come winter, a family of sentient animals who know how to eat ants using a stick might be instructing Britons on their key survival tactic. We need to make friends with those gorillas. Or hope they evolve, really quickly, and take over as Humans 2.0.