At the end of a season there is a certain hollowness that lies within every faithful fan. Something that took a not insubstantial role in your life has been taken away and a small indefinable absence is left in its place. Not so for the party conference season. This season-end emptiness results from the game itself.
In truth I wasn’t fully engaged with the entire season. I don’t think anyone saw the Lib Dem conference as surely everybody concerned had this on repeat for four days. I read about the leaders speeches for the Greens and Labour because at that time I had an episode of The Thick of It to re-watch all week. Coinciding with the Tory conference was a break from “our man Ian Ucci’s” show (for a Beatles doco, because nobody knows anything about those 3 boys from Manchester) so I found myself being drawn into the melee.
Whilst Miliband went to the labour stronghold of Manchester, Cameron went on the offensive taking the fight way, way, way up the M1 to the simple, pleasant northern town of Birmingham. The last time I worked in the city the Tories were conferencing, why Brumingham? Is it the central location? Well, yes, but indulge me. Is it the “thick, clumsy and sexually unattractive” accent of the natives? At least partly. Or is it that it displays a perfect microcosm of Britain at large. A bland industrial centre made vibrant through an influx of different ethnicities, and now with its industry all but dead has nothing to boast of except for its curries, average sports teams and Frank Skinner (who’s from West Brom).
George Osborne got all the early headlines with his predictable swipe at the working class, insisting that “Britain does not need a Plan B” and later that “There is no Plan B!” His obvious disdain for rap aside, how can he deny the existence of a man who released a film this year? The answer came, to those eagle-eyed among us, a few days later. Ozzy was obviously trying to clear a path for his home(counties)boy Big D. Cam’ron subtly dropped the line “Aspiration Nation” into his closing speech, a clear sign he’s trying to enter the hip-hop game. Now Osborne’s attack can be seen as it was, a threat. A threat that with their control of law and order and finger on the trigger of a military attack, the Coalition rolls deep!
Cameron’s speech was of course largely bullshit: “The compassionate party”, “The party of the NHS”, “We don’t preach about one nation but practise class war.” His contempt for the public is astounding, as if we haven’t been paying attention for the past two years. The only people that could have believed his lies are probably still convinced of an American plan to bring democracy to the Middle East. I did agree with his self-description though – “I’m not a complicated man”. True.
At the end of a season there must be a winner. When it comes to pleasing the plebs (with his hi-jinks) and the party (with his popularity) there is only ever going to be one winner. The political colossus on his unimpeded rise to the pinnacle of British power is of course, Boris. BoJo stole the show, as he always does, with a few pop culture references the self-deprecating humour that defines us and his one-of-us public persona. I’m quite worried that to many people this makes him seem electable as PM. Boris Johnson is to politics as X Factor is to music: Entertains millions and seems like harmless fun but is driven by a predatory cynicism and demeans us all.
The Thick of It is back tonight, fictional horrible bastards are much easier to tolerate than the real thing.