I have an article up on Spiked today about the emptiness of contemporary political grandstanding…

In his speech to the Labour Party Conference earlier this month, leader Ed Miliband declared he was going to ‘do something different today’, to ‘tell you my story. I want to tell you who I am. What I believe. And why I have a deep conviction that together we can change this country.’ Such self-conscious attempts to give identity to hollow political leaders of tired political parties in empty political contests are now a ritual in British politics.

Every political leader in recent years has overstated his vision as a new vital force. Yet each attempt to do so belies the narrowing of political discourse, the hollowing out of ideas, and the terminal vacuity of today’s political poseurs. The spectacle of Miliband delivering a personal statement was nothing new at all. Like many political leaders before him, he was forced to talk about himself because he had nothing else to say.

Read more at Spiked…

One Response to Spiking Pastiche Politics

  • If you’re going to hark back to past politicians, Disraeli’s not a bad terminus a quo. He wrote novels about the world he lived in. I doubt whether modern politicians find time to even read novels about the world we live in. Maybe they should get their aides to scan modern novels for soundbite-size quotes. Maybe they shouldn’t. We hate politicians. They’re not like us.
    Callaghan read le Carré. Blair bizarrely claimed that his favourite novel was Ivanhoe, which implies that he hasn’t read a novel since the age of 14. A journalist suggested that the reason for his choice was that he knew that the BBC was planning to serialise it, and that his choice would put him right there at the top of the classics-reading-charts in time for the election…
    There’s an objective criterion, I think, for determining when politics ceased to be serious. In the 40s and early 50s voting turnout was 90%+, and 99% of votes were for the two major parties. Parties represented social classes and outlooks on life.

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