Electile dysfunction

Gordon Brown has treated us like fools, apparently. He has messed with us. He has come into our tree-house despite the stringent anti-cootie policies; he has fiddled with the radio in our car while we were driving; he has rearranged the cushions on our sofas and usurped the remote control while the footie’s on. In short, Gordon Brown has made the UK public very, very cross. And how has he done it? He has failed to call an election.

I know I’m annoyed. This throws out all my plans for next month. My plans, as I’m sure yours are too, being very dependent on voting and Westminster and, um, stuff. Yeah. That’s how I feel. Sortof. The thing is, even though I’m being told by that nice David Cameron, good old Ming Campbell (Can anyone tell me why we pronounce his name like a slur from a slang-talking youf? Why do rich men not drive Mercedes Bings?) and that Scottish National party chap with a name like a fish, how angry I’m supposed to be, I’m really not feeling it. Are you? Would you have been had you not been told to?

After weeks of speculation on news programmes and in political analysis columns as to when Gordon Brown would call an election, The Prime Minister told us last week that he would not be doing it any time soon. It came as something of a shock, apparently. Though not, I’ll admit, to me. Because I don’t care. I’m sure some people must do. But I just can’t imagine significant numbers of them existing outside the professions of journalism and/or politics. Yet news report upon news report confirmed it: people are going to be annoyed; his credibility has received a body-blow; the voting public are angry. But are we? I’m not.

I mean, when news reporters (not analysts, mind you, not people paid to comment subjectively but those supposed to objectively tell me what has happened) make statements like ‘this was definitely a mistake and Gordon Brown has alienated voters’ and tell me I should be angry, that admittedly grates, but I’m not riled at the PM. Sure, Gordo, who promised to free us from cynical slick political posturing has clearly just been messing with the Tories. But that’s what politicians do. The Tories’ petulant whining (like a child who has had the rules of the game changed on him and starts blubbing that he’s going to tell his mum. Or the voting public) doesn’t bug me either. Good move, I say.

I am annoyed at the media, now frothing at the mouth with rage, making unresearched and unprofessional pronouncements on your and my behalf about something we wouldn’t be fussed about if it weren’t for them. Because that’s what this is about. Gordon played them. The press. Have you heard any announcement from the PM that he was going to hold an election? No. What we have heard is analysis by awfully clever journalists who have interpreted everything that the PM has done in public as pointing towards an election around the corner. And now they feel stupid. They complain bitterly that Brown’s aides have been leaking election intentions off the record and how it’s all so jolly unfair. But think about it. Does that affect you? Hearsay, gossip and off-the-record statements might be the lifeblood of the political journalist, but they are also the bread and butter of magazines like OK, HELLO, HEY THERE, Heat and the like. Would you care if Victoria Beckham misled them? Perhaps journalists should stick to reporting the news instead of making it—that way they wouldn’t be so undignified when they got caught out.

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