...a blog by Richard Flowers

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Day 2220: Flags and Balloons


It is January so it must be time for Mr Balloon to have a go at Mr Frown about FLYING THE FLAG.

Here is Mr Balloon in the Daily Hellograph saying:

"This reserve is an intrinsic part of being British," he will say. "We don't do flags on the front lawn."

No, wait! That was LAST January!

Since then Mr Balloon has CHANGED HIS MIND and decided that we DO do flags – especially on BICYCLES. Double especially if there is a FOOTBALL photo opportunity tournament on.

See: Mr Balloon flies the flag for England!

No, wait! He's had another FLIP FLOP – flags are BAAAAD again.

"[he] told the BBC ministers had been wrong to tell people to 'plant flags in their lawns'."

That is the trouble with flags (and balloons): they go any way the wind blows.

Yes, Mr Balloon's [Thatcher Thatcher Thatcher]… I am SURE I can hear chanting!

Anyway, yes, Mr Balloon's nerve has gone. It is SAD but after only a year in charge he has already fallen back on the old Conservatory fallacy: shore up the right.

Therefore his latest wheeze is a scheme called "Let's Blame the Muslims".

"We should not lay the blame at the foot of one group," says Mr Balloon. "Why pick on one when we can pick on five," he continued!

Mr Balloon lists the people who he blames for the BREAKDOWN of OUR WAY OF LIFE™ and imminent COLLAPSE of SOCIETY ITSELF (copyright all Newspapers):

  • immigrants,
  • extremist immigrants,
  • non-British immigrants,
  • poor immigrants, and
  • stupid immigrants.
I MAY see a THEME developing: are YOU thinking what I'M thinking???

He also likened the Muslim Council of Britain to the British Nasty Party. Which, contrary to what you might think, did NOT mean that he wanted to be more like them.

"People like us don't want a 'them and us' society; not like people like them!" he said.

Last year it was "Multiple Patriotism"; this year they are "Monolithic Blocks". I know that soundbites are the EPHEMERA of politics, but it would be nice if he could make up his mind!

Not to say that the Muslim Council – like any group representing people – does not have any questions to answer about its policies and the people it chooses to support. But that does not mean you should put them in the same boat as a THINLY DISGUISED race hate club. Even Mr Balloon must have realised how RUDE he was being!

What IS it all about?

Well, Mr Balloon is – as ever – gagging to get into the media and this tragically ill-advised STUNT is cynically calculated to catapult him into the headlines. But this isn't JUST a desperate addiction. It is VITAL to him that he maintains his publicity because publicity is the only thing keeping him aloft – you can see it from the way the Conservatory polls tremble every time he is out of the limelight for a couple of weeks.

But what could have caused him to throw overboard all that careful work of the last year to try to fool everyone that he is NOT just another screaming Conservatory nutter, obsessed with immigration?

After all THAT worked SOOOO well at the last election (manifesto author Mr D Balloon).

Mr Tabman over at the Liberal Review suggests that it may have been the SHARKS in the WATER that made Mr Balloon get frit.

But I wonder if the problem isn't deeper than that.

It has been a year and we are STILL waiting for Mr Balloon to have ANY policies. He is supposed BY NOW to be reaping the benefits of some of his policy reviews: the tax commission (hastily photocopied Liberal Democrat green tax pledges); Iain Drunken Swerve's family policy review (damp squib hailed as "Back to Basics 2"); and now this report on national identity (a hint: you might need an identity of your OWN!).

Oh, and the "responsibility, responsibility, responsibility" mantra does not seem to have worked either. This week, Mr Balloon is trying out "failure of multiculturalism". He was using it on Monday morning's the The Today Programme interview. We lost count after the first FIFTEEN repetitions!

So Mr Balloon has to go out on the media stage and is caught without even a figleaf. His only option is to wrap himself in the FLAG. Man bites immigrant plays almost as well as man hugs huskie. Patriotism, or rather JINGOISM, is the only string left to Mr Balloon's bow, the only tune he has left if he is to get the press to watch him dance.

Of course, there is also the fact that he and Mr Frown have the same IDENTITY AGENDA. Mr Frown wants to use "Britishness" to overcome his paranoia about being seen to come from Scotland. Mr Balloon wants to use "Britishness" to overcome his paranoia about being seen to come from Gymkhana-land.

Mind you, at least Mr Frown has been a consistent supporter of the United part of the United Kingdom. Mr Balloon has largely abandoned Scotland and is only Vaguely interested in the North.

(Sending Mr Vague on a TOUR is NOT REALLY the same as trying to get elected… as anyone who remembers Mr Vague's "Save the Pound! Save My Job!" tour of the 2001 General Election knows only too well!)

So, does this mean that the curtain is coming down on the "All New Mr Balloon Song and Dance Spectacular, standing room only, women and children first"? Are the wheels are coming off the travelling circus?


Quite simply, Mr Balloon has done ENOUGH so that everyone thinks of him as "the sort of nice but dim one". He can remain buoyed aloft not by his own hot air but the bonfire of the vanities that is consuming the OTHER wing of the NewLabourTory Party (i.e. Lord Blairimort going up in flames!)

Offering an alternative would be too too confrontational, but as long as he remains the media darling and keeps repeating oh how awful the government is, he gets to be the only game in town.

All he has to do is stay in the public eye and let the heat waft him higher.

The only danger is if the public eye loses interest, wanders off, spots the Liberal Democrats and starts reporting on some REAL opposition.

Which means ever more attention grabbing launches of empty reports and a dance of the seven veils to tantalise the press and keep them putting him on the front pages.

A snag: after dropping the first veil, we've seen that he's an old fashioned bash the immigrants Conservatory underneath. The dance may not last as long as anyone thought it would!


Good news: Mr Balloon is to try to look LIBERAL by backing gay adoption!

Bad News: Mr Davis David has already arranged to look TOUGH by vowing to vote against!

Did it REALLY take them all week to work out a strategy so transparent?

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