Now the election is mercifully over, I thought I might venture an apolitical political observation. I suppose it comes from a feeling, and surely I can't be the only person who thinks this, that the present batch of politicians (batch: an appropriate word, it feels as if they were made in the same mass-produced process), are distinctly colourless.
It was agony watching them all trying not to make a mistake wasn't it? And the newspapers waiting to guillotine the first of them to make even the slightest foray beyond some pre-ordained (by whom one wonders) notion of what is acceptable if they want to be elected.
Actually, perhaps Farrage, beyond his jumble sale of nasty, threadbare tat, may have something the others might do well to take notice of. He is, whatever you think of his politics, recognisably human, replete with faults and idiosyncrasies. He has, and perhaps he would not appreciate this, a little colour. It may even be that people were not voting for his party because of it's policies, but because, no matter how lamentable, it has a personality. Boris Johnson's appeal is much the same. It doesn't mean that either of them will ever become prime-minister, but at least they are not an unrelentingly drab bunch of jobs worth's.
OK, OK, I will get on and make my point, as trailed in the heading of this piece. The point is, that the use these politicians make of words is as ill-judged as their concern to be that impossible being, the person who is all things to everyone. Someone, presumably an individual who has been delegated to take notes at focus groups, has told them certain key-phrases they should use that will ingratiate them with that non-existent entity, the electorate. Hence the risible over reliance on the phrase “hard working people.” This is what I mean by words matter, use them sparingly.” The more you say it the less sincere it sounds. I suppose it would be pointless to suggest to them that there might not be any point in their efforts to be considered acceptable, that the so-called electorate might actually give them marks for saying something they didn't want to hear, on the basis that they were at least being honest.
Now we have the desperate spectacle of the Labour Party electing a new leader. The word that matters in this arena, in case you haven't already noticed, is “aspirational” it looks to be the one word they will all try to get into every speech as often as they can. I wonder if it will make them any more believable? Perhaps the needless repetition will actually make them sound just a bit boring. Perhaps someone should point out to them that aspiration rhymes with desperation.
There is an adage used in the poetry world that says “show not tell” perhaps that would be a more useful bit of advice to proffer them. But I doubt they would believe a poet would have anything worthwhile to say to them, or could even be considered part of the mythical electorate. Far too untypical, or are they?