Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Fingering In The Twilight Zone

Yes, it's the last of those Tory leadership speeches. Yawn. Vomit. Yawn.
Well, I've only been watching them so you don't have to. The ultimate in public service blogging.

Firstly, a rap on the knuckles for the BBC's coverage which, two days running, managed to miss the beginning of speeches because they were too busy babbling about their new interactive viewers' panel.
Secondly, I was amused by Theresa May's unintended martial arts metaphor: "when the shadow boxing first kick-started".

But now to the speech of David Davis.
It's always been said that a successful Tory conference speech has to tickle the erogenous zone of the party faithful in the hall. The master of this was Michael Heseltine, despite the fact that he was a Europhile on the left of the party and shared hardly any of the views of the people he was addressing. In short, Heseltine was faking it but the audience's response was genuine and ecstatic.

Admittedly, when you survey the rows of elderly buffers and bufferines from the Shires who make up the Tory conference audience, 'erogenous zone' are not the two words that would immediately come into your mind. Nor theirs, for that matter.
"I'm sure I've got one somewhere but I can't remember where I put it. And I've got the wrong glasses on. Put the big light on, would you dear, so I can find my readers. Then we can look for....what was it again?.......an orange comb?"

That said, David Davis was the favourite in the leadership contest. And the ex-SAS Territorial from a council estate was expected to press all the right buttons and pull all the right switches. And since the blazered buffers and their twin-setted Good Lady Wives had spent the week in the bachanalia of binge-drinking and bad taste that is Blackpool, why wouldn't they be up for a fling with a bit of Tory rough?
Well, as I said to Annabel when that nancy-boy vicar put the verger's wife up the duff, how wrong can you be?

It wasn't for want of trying on Davis's part. He threatened to tear up the Human Rights Act and chew it into tiny pieces with his scarily carniverous teeth. He spoke of our town centres on a Saturday night being like downtown Basra as painted by Heironymous Bosch.
But mostly they reacted as though the gardener was being over-familiar and had mis-interpreted the invitation to come into the kitchen for a cup of tea and a Gypsy Cream.
Like all the others, Davis played the patriotism card but tried to combine it with what he calls 'Modern Conservatism'. He wanted a country where people were blind to race and creed but he also wanted a country that celebrated diversity.
I'm still trying to figure that one out.
'The diversity that chaps like you bring to our country is splendid and should be celebrated. Not that I'd noticed you were different....er....diverse. Good grief, no......I hadn't even noticed you were black. Totally blind to that kind of thing. Just thought you'd overlooked the Factor 15. Still, this global warming will make you chaps feel more at home. Not that this isn't your home, of course. And it's jolly good to have you here. The wife and I are very partial to a Tikka Masala. You could say it's our way of celebrating diversity. Or it would be if we noticed. Which we don't, of course. To be honest, it could be roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding we're eating and I doubt we'd even notice. Especially the wife. She'll eat any muck you put in front of her. Where did you say you were from again? Edgebaston? No, but where did you come from originally? You see, I want to celebrate diversity like that little council estate oik Davis said we should , but it's not easy unless I know what the diversity that I hadn't noticed because I'm blind to that kind of thing actually is.'

Davis also did the obligatory paen to The Family. And in emphasising the inclusiveness of his diverse, modern Conservatism, he used the dread phrase 'gay or straight', always risky at a Tory conference. I would, of course, congratulate him on this but for the fact that he voted against adoption by gay families and voted for 16 and 17 year old gay family members to be thrown into prison.
He also aligned himself with Trevor Philips' recent comments on the dangers of segregation. But he voted against making faith schools take more pupils from other backgrounds.

The response at the end of his speech was decidedly lukewarm. And the BBC's new method of measuring reaction showed it had played least well with Tory voters.
If Davis has blown it with this speech it may be his reward for wanting the leadership much too badly. Ken Clarke has been pursuing it for ten years or more. Yet if he loses again one imagines him just lighting a cigar, putting on a Dizzy Gillespie record, saying 'Fuck the bastards' and giving that little ack-ack-ack chuckle.
Davis would probably go and look for a gay chav, kick him to death and stick the Human Rights Act up his arse.

And finally, Liam Fox oozed on to the platform on a slick of Brylcream.
"We must be bold enough to lead
And big enough to listen
".
Or was it:
"We must be big enough to lead
And bold enough to listen"?

Simon Hoggart's test of the fatuousness of political rhetoric is to reverse the words. It never fails.

Liam Fox would be the rank outsider if Malcolm Rifkind hadn't already laid claim to that position so effectively.
But Liam, right-wing in tooth and claw, had a surprise up his sleeve. He devoted part of his speech to the rarely-mentioned crisis in our mental health services. He pointed out that 1000 people with mental health problems kill themselves every year and that 70% of prisoners have mental health problems or learning difficulties.
Then he moved on to domestic violence and pointed out that 40% of all murders are women murdered by their partners.
The delegates looked puzzled, even uneasy, at these remarks. After all, the real social problems are feral youths and binge drinkers and people who split infinitives.
'True, there was that time that Cecil's wife went a bit doo-lally and got her tits out at the Rotary Club dinner but the doc gave her some pills and although she doesn't say much she's right as rain now. And Humphrey's wife seems to walk into an awful lot of doors, but then you know what Humphrey's like when he hits the whisky but the Japs gave him a bad time in the war and he thinks the world of her really.'

Then, Dr Fox (he's a real Doctor) lifted the delegates onto the couch, popped their pants down, took a spatula from his top pocket and said:"We need to re-establish pride in what it means to be British!"
An orgasmic sigh rose from the hall. They smiled. They clapped. They cheered.
Found it!
'That thingammyjig. You know, the deciduous cone. The heterogeneous gnome. The extraneous bone. The orange comb! Trevor had used it as a bookmark in Country Life. Silly old sausage. I bet that nice Dr Fox could have put his fingers on it straightaway.'

3 Comments:

At 4:55 PM, Blogger Merkin said...

If (and it's a big "if") the Tories ever get in to power again, will they move from shadow boxing to real boxing? Would Prescott become the new Shadow Boxer? Thanks for the precis, Willie, saves me having to watch the news tonight. God it bores me silly. Can't the Tories go and implode somewhere quietly while another credible opposition party is founded that:
a. Does not include Kilroy
b. Does not suck up to Rupert Murdoch.
c. Gives Blair a hard time for the things he is genuinely screwing up, rather than knee-jerk condemnation of everything.

Lupin for PM.

 
At 10:09 PM, Blogger Jane said...

Willie, wonderful precis, far better than the speeches themselves.

 
At 9:18 PM, Anonymous Graham said...

The Merkin said "if the Tories ever get into power again".
They are in power now,they jumped ship in 1997 and formed New labour they have been in power ever since.Tory Blair been Thatcher's Heir for years he's not fooling anyone..

 

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