...a blog by Richard Flowers

Monday, September 06, 2010

Day 3536: For Labor Day… Your "Which Monster Are You" guide to the Labour Leadership Contenders, or Why They Are All Dreadful


The contest to be the next Labour loser is more and more seen to be less and less interesting, what with most commentators having it down to a grudge match between the two Millipede brothers: Mr Red and Mr Dead.

Apparently it IS possible to tell them apart.

Daddy Richard says that he despises Dead Millipede more for being the British Foreign Secretary who made us complicit in torture and rendition on behalf of the Americans.

Daddy Alex disagrees. He thinks Dead Millipede was ONLY complicit because he is SPINELESS; whereas his younger brother actually LIKES being evil. Or the "Emissary from Planet F… Badword" as Mr Lord Mandelbrot, former First Fractal of Darkness, put it. Talk about takes one to know one!

So we did Votematch's which Labour loser should you support quiz…

…and these were the results we came out with:

Ms Diane: 69%
Mr Red: 58%
Mr Bully Balls: 35%
Mr Dead: 35%
Mr Andy: disqualified for not supplying his own information.

Well, that came as a bit of a SHOCK, I can tell you.

No, not agreeing with Ms Diane – she was against the war, we were against the war, that much is obvious. No, the shock was the big number two for Mr Red. Well, it was until we caught a repeat of the Radio 5 / BBC News Chanel debate and saw him in action, triangulating desperately, trying to appear as the Mr Compromise between every other position possible, and ironically being more Heir to Blair than even his big bro.

In fact, watching them all sat around with enormous day-glo gonks strapped to their faces as they spouted various forms of self-serving dribble, made me realise what a total bunch of WANDERING MONSTERS they are.

(Or, for those of you who've never heard of "Dungeons and Dragons", they're the random, time-wasting hazards that get thrown at you between bits of the plot that actually MATTER.)

Which gave me the idea for doing you a quick spotter's-guide to the "big beasts".

So, roll your five-sided die and determine which of the following you will have to beat up before moving on to the Dungeon of Deficit…

Ms Diane Abbott-and-Portillo is… the Mummy: all wound up in old wrappings, but resurrected with new CGI for diminishing returns.

The problem with Diane is that she can't stop behaving like the kind of five-year-old who is far too pleased with herself. Whenever anyone in the audience said that they voted for a party that wasn't Hard Labour you could hear her barely-sub-vocalised "oh dear"s or "tut tut"s. To the point where it had to be pointed out that this was alienating exactly the people she is supposed to be bringing back to the fold.

And repeatedly applauding herself for being "the one who voted against the war" isn't big and isn't clever – thousands and thousands of people died because we DIDN'T stop it, a fact that fills most of us are filled with REMORSE not smugness.

Mr Andy Crash-and-Burnham is… the Goblin: grotesque sprite of mischief, voted most likely to be squashed by a Mûmakil in the Battle for Minas Tirith

Maybe it's the big, pleading, "don't hurt me" eyes, maybe his face is just made that way, but the poor man always looks like he's wearing too much make-up. Doesn't seem to stop him using the crassest of clichés though, e.g. continually repeating the "Con-Dem Government" line as though it was even funny when it was original.

Played the "it was the most agonising time of my life" card when asked why he voted for war. That's not actually an answer and, worse, it's really not an apology either.

Mr Bully Balls is… the Troll: a huge bruiser of a beast, known for lurking under bridges and on Lib Dem Voice threads deploying their Zombie Arguments.

Mr Bully Balls' advantage is that since he is already known as the big bully he can throw his weight about as it's what everyone expects. Consequently, it's BIZARRE that he's trying to portray himself as the loveable misunderstood one.

To his credit, he's the only one willing to go out on a limb with actual policies. On the down side, his policies are BONKERS. He's the one saying that we shouldn't try to reduce the deficit at all. Economic madness. Tactically, it lets him duck the "Labour said THEY would do cuts" questions but strategically it leaves him open to the "and when the market refuses to lend to us under those conditions and you have to sack every single state employee for lack of funds, what would you do?" question.

Is looking for third opportunity to deny Mr Frown before cock-crow.

Mr Red Millipede is… the Golem: a lumpy, barely-humanoid form made up from spare parts and animated by a magic word, the better definition of spin I have yet to hear.

More twisty-turny than a twisty-turny thing. Clearly trying to position himself as the left-wing (but not TOO left wing) radical by denouncing both his brother and Mr Bully Balls. Becoming obvious, however, that HE is the one using the "dark arts" of spin, leaks and off-the-record briefing to try and undermine the others.

Adopting the INTERESTING position on the war of saying that everyone knew he was against it he just didn't tell anyone. And by "interesting" I clearly mean "easily lampooned" here.

Playing heavily on his position as Cabinet Minister for the Fluffiest Bunniest Possible Department to distance himself from any impression that he may have been part of the Hard Labour Government of the last thirteen years.

Pity that letting slip his desire to "exterminate" the Liberal Democrats revealed his more… Dalek-y side.

Finally, Mr Dead Millipede is… the Vampire: the bloodless, soulless spineless creature of the night; lack of reflection probably explains unwillingness to examine New Labour record in power.

I must confess, for the longest time I expected that, when it came to the count, Mr Dead would top the poll from the outset only to be pipped at the final post as his brother picked up the transfers from the other candidates one by one.

But it's now looking like he is SO far in front that the only thing that could stop him is if Lord Blairimort actually came out with that endorsement.

One suggestion though: a sneering snigger when someone brings up the rendition allegations is NOT going to serve you well, Mr Millipede.

Not that any of this actually MATTERS.

It's all too painfully obvious that Hard Labour are HAPPY to be in opposition, they are COMFORTABLE there and they look to be settling in for a LONG STAY again.

Mr Millipede may be under the COMPLACENT illusion that he can WAFT back into power at the next General Election, perhaps on the back of a Coalition made unpopular by years of cuts and Eighties-style economic hardship, but he's wrong.

History's NOT going to repeat itself. For a start, the devastation wrought by the Queen Maggie in the Eighties was mostly on communities, often in the North, dependent on a kind of industrial mono-culture and those communities just don't exist any more. Mining, steel, shipbuilding… the damage has been done. Actually, if there is a risk it is in places like the North-East where the government directly employs a huge percentage of the workforce.

But more importantly because Hard Labour are not offering any alternative. You can't wish away the years of overspending (as four-fifths of the Labour candidates seem to want to) nor deny them completely if you're Mr Bully Balls. And the hangover is going to be with us for years.

So there's no danger of Hard Labour coming back.

No, the real danger next time is that the Liberal Democrats will take all the blame and that will let the Conservatories win outright!


Of course, you CAN do this for OUR side too…

Mr Balloon is… the WILL-O-THE-WHISP: the sinister spirit with no substance that lures the unwary to their doom.

While Captain Clegg is… the WEREWOLF: you thought he was just an ordinary little man but OOH! he's turned out to be something much more scary and powerful after all.


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