Wednesday, March 30, 2011

From gravitas to chavitas in a period of Purdah

AS we swing into what I was astonished to find out is still called Purdah (curtained-off women's quarters in traditional Persian household / the six weeks before election during which government must not issue policy which could swing election outcome), the purveyors of gravitas and chavitas furrow their brows and practise their glottal stops.

For this is the time when politicians must illustrate to voters  not only their depth and intellectual strength, but also that man/woman of the people ability to kiss babies, head footballs at shell-suited toerags, and generally show how much they know about Lady Gaga,  dubstep, Plan B and other such down-with-the-kids cultural touchstones.

And they fail, nearly all of them. I'll mention no names, as the Representation of the People Act probably precludes me, as a BBC presenter and (very part time) paid local government advisor, from picking out my least favourite. But the nauseating sight and sound of suited and booted Holyrood habituees swivelling uneasily between the Tragedy of Japan and the Need For Caution In Libya, The Price of Petrol and The Importance of Take That, Tinchy Strider's iconic status and the state of Sharleen Spiteri's haircut leaves me reeling with irritation.

It's their sound. The way they change their voices to meet different kinds of question from different types of questioner. Their vocal equivocation is caught on camera and microphone ('awright, big man, howzitgawn...ah yes, the tragedy of Afghanistan lies in the global inability to recognise the country's key historical and geo-political role...") one voice for the landowner, one for the serf. One noisy slurp for the mug of council tea, one dainty hissing sip for the Rotary Chardonnay. And is there contempt once the doors are closed, the dram is in hand and they're relaxing with series three of The Thick Of It? Contempt akin to Harry Dean Stanton's when he tells Emilio Estevez in Repo Man: "ordinary people. I f*ckin' hate 'em"?

Names? You want names? Nah, mair as ma joab's worth, pal. There's an election on, doncherknow?

1 comment:

Ian Bell said...

Remember the bloke who said something about April being the cruellest month? Weeks of this lie ahead, and since I work in the for-profit (theoretically) sector, I can say it: Shoot us now, please. (But shoot Morton first).

Repo Man? I love these allusions to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.