Wednesday 19 December 2007

Clegg to play either Mbeki or Zuma in the final

High drama. The votes have been counted and the results are in...

Nick Clegg - 20,988. 
Chris Huhne - 20,477. 

That was close, wasn't it? It's as if the tiny wee liberals were having trouble making up their minds. Fancy that. Not to worry, it's all over now and the (British) Lib Dems can get back down to the seemingly contradictory business of being studiously ignored by everyone whilst simultaneously generating fierce loathing. How do they do that?

Anyway, I don't loathe them - in fact, I'm pretty keen on a whole load of their stuff - it's just, well, I don't know. They're a bit wanky, aren't they? I don't really want to vote for them in the same way that I sometimes don't really want to phone my mum. Hard to explain. Sure, she wants what's good for me and probably does actually know best. But still.

I wonder, incidentally, if the new leader, Nick Clegg, knows how tired and stale he sounds to neutral ears? His winning speech was weepingly offensive and seems to have been stolen directly from The Great Big Manual of Vacuity that Tony Blair pored over and memorised. I feel tired and insulted by this approach. Say something Nick. 

"I want to bring in a new politics." 
Say something, Nick.
"The beginning of Britain's liberal future."
Say something, Nick.
"An optimistic Liberal Democrat Party is the party for you."
Seriously, Nick, I'm begging you, say something, anything.
"I want change."
Yes, you and me both, sweetheart, but I've heard this before.

I imagine young wonks behind the scenes, horribly divorced from real life, deciding on key words, optimistic words, young words. Never mind substance, make it sound good. Who are the people that actually fall for this stuff? They should have to undergo tests before being given a voting card. And why do politicians suppose that this blinds (the rest of) us to the fact that they're not actually saying anything? And wait, but this feels old. Ten years after the event, the poor wee Libbies are going for the Blair thing. Is it possible they have learnt nothing from the sense of seething disaffection and betrayal, even, that Tony Blair left in his wake? I can't bear the thought of being left feeling that empty again. We don't buy your bullshit, Nick, just say something, anything.

Nick is young, Nick is new, Nick is coming after you.

Fuck, since I'm here, actually, I need to moderately note that Thabo Mbeki and that other guy are battling it out to see who might be declared the next leader of the ANC. If the other guy wins, then he'll just have to bide his time for eighteen months or so as Mbeki lame ducks his way through to the next national elections. (Who plans these things?) You don't need a head filled with brain, of course, to see that Mbeki is a total dick, but the other guy - oh my good God - seems even worse. 

Cleared of rape charges - hurrah - he nevertheless acknowledged in court that he had enjoyed unprotected sex with the HIV-positive woman he didn't rape. As former head of the government's National Aids Council and Moral Regeneration Campaign, however, he was super careful to put his learning and expertise to good use and so made sure to have a shower immediately after the consensual sex - thus, he claimed, protecting himself from infection. Is it wrong, is it really really wrong, to sort of hope he caught the disease? And is there a special laboratory in Africa, by the way, where they exclusively concentrate on teaching people the finer arts of being totally stupid and stuff? There must be. Then, just as soon as they've got their certificates in crazy-dumb, they are hastily propelled towards sensitive and leading positions in African governments and institutions. What a shower of cretins.

British Liberal democrats should probably feel very lucky, therefore, that they were given a choice between those two gratifyingly middle class guys with their Oxbridge educations and stultifying smugnesses. Smug versus Smugger? That's not such a bad choice, really. Just pity the long-suffering souls in South Africa who have been so badly let down and mistreated by their leaders that they are reduced to considering a vote for Jacob Zuma as a step in the right direction. 

Disastrous versus Disastrous? That's no choice at all and South Africans, of all people, deserve so much better than that.

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