How to Be a Politician

Yesterday we lobbied our MP. "We" were about 10 of the usual lefties, and another 10 made up of immigrants and Muslim women. The lobbying is part of the officially recognised machinery of British democracy, whereby concerned citizens - one or a group - get an hour of the time of their town's Member of Parliament, to ask for support on an issue. Our issue was the government's demonisation of Muslims as a cover/distraction from its many failures, especially the Iraq war.

The MP is Sarah MaCarthy-Fry, one of those politicians who used to be on the left of Labour, but has followed it sheeplike whenever it moved to the right. I estimate 90% of what she told us were lies.

When asked why she supported the initial invasion of Iraq, she flannelled for a full two minutes before inventing the story of how she met a sweet Iraqi couple at a dinner party and heard how Saddam Hussein's regime had killed most of their family. From that moment, she backed Tony Blair on ethical grounds. Interesting how she couldn't come up with military, economic, or even large-scale ethical grounds for her stance - it came down to a single anecdote about a single conversation.

She claimed to have given an interview to the local newspaper on how she backed a withdrawal of troops from Iraq "soon" - but the paper had chosen not to run the story. This is highly unlikely - an MP disagrees publicly with her own party about a war, and a newspaper with nothing else to report except lost pets and "The Graffiti Menace" decides not to run it. Yeah, right.

She also said she was bullied and pressured for mentioning mild private doubts to other MPs - which is plausible. But when asked why she stayed publicly loyal to the Labour Party, said it was because she could influence it gently from the inside. We didn't even bother to pick up on that inconsistency.

She made sympathetic noises about Muslim women being spat at in the street, and claimed to have argued vociferously with racist children while visiting a school. You might think that "MP In Bust-Up With BNP School Kids" would have been a good story in the paper - but they mysteriously didn't report on this either.

She tried to regain her leftist credentials by saying she'd supported the miners' strike in 1985, and gain our trust by revealing the big secret - unknown to the public - that a few other MPs also had doubts. Wow, no one ever knew that before.

And then spoiled it by reciting verbatim Blair's line on General Dannat's recent speech - that Dannat exaggerates the failure of the occupation of Iraq, he doesn't really know what's going on and it's not his place to have opinions on military strategy (being only the head of the British army), and even if he's right he shouldn't have said anything because it undermines morale.

Sometimes I wonder what these people really believe. But I don't think even they know what they believe anymore. 50 years ago a politician was someone who told one side of the truth as they knew it, and if they got caught lying they lost their job. 25 years ago it was someone who tried to slant the facts to support their opinion within the general party line, and if they get caught lying they lost their job. Now it's someone with no real concept of truth or falsehood, who will say anything to support anything. And if they do tell the truth, they lose their job.

I spent an hour on the phone with C, at 3 in the morning. I'd had two weeks to figure out how to say what I thought without bruising his ego. But it turns out his ego isn't that easily bruised, and he's had the same thoughts.

Basically, we both rushed headlong into a relationship, and both overreacted at the first problem. It was probably my fault, but blame isn't important. Now, we can meet as friends, and if it goes beyond that we now know to be cautious. If it doesn't, we're still two of the few people around who actually understand how the other thinks.

So on the one hand I've been dumped and feel good about it. On the other, the basis of the relationship and it's problems are still there. But on the third hand (there's always a third hand), we have everything we had before except the holding of hands and the tearful recriminations. And the guilt and worrying. Which sounds like a pretty good situation.

I've said it before: I'm a much better friend than lover. Though that's mainly because I'm a lousy lover.

There's an extra door in the house. Actually, it's a dog-gate, designed to prevent the dogs going upstairs when they're not supposed to, investigating rooms at random, leaving small puddles and sniffing things till something falls over.

Unfortunately, it took the dogs less than 24 hours to work our how to open the gate. Well, papillions are supposed to be intelligent - it's one of their main selling points.

At a rough calculation, filming the sky at 1 frame every 30 seconds during daylight hours gives me 50 seconds of footage per day. Unless it's a day like today, where the sky is one huge immobile grey cloud.

Remember I was planning to record a triphop version of Gloomy Sunday? The autumn weather seems appropriate as a "video" for the song. There's just a part of me that wants to sing it in Esperanto - possibly on the grounds that I know 3 words of Hungarian. I have a basic Esperanto translation, and if/when I've got it all rhyming and scanning I'll post it here. To go with the translation of Dragostea Din Tei. Ha!


  1. Now you're mine! ALL MINE!!!!!!

    *evil Halloween-esque laugh*

  2. This third hand thing ... umm, well where does it attach? I can see hand on end of arm, and there are two arms so that's obvious ... but the third? Unless ... but surely not ;)

  3. Tony:
    Trick or...Treat?

    And people say I've got an immoral imagination! There was me with an image of Zaphod Beeblebrox, and some people's thoughts got off in a completely different direction.

    Ha! Dankon. Aspekte unu bona ideo ekestas en pluraj mensoj. Kiel lerni internacian komunikon de tri knaboj sur aviadilo.

  4. There's no «how to be a politician» anymore nowadays... I thought you of all people knew that quite well. Those arguments of your MP are worse and weaker than those we had when we discussed politics in highschool many, many years ago...
    I couldn't imagine you had a crush on that song... Okay...
    I just might have something to tell you about being a «lousy» lover... Perhaps later.

  5. hmmm

    latter or former?

    Which sounds better?