Monday, October 15, 2012

now that's what I call a trade union CONGRESS

Never let it be said that I don't like a bit of politics from time to time; I mean, who doesn't? I do tend to avoid the party conferences, though, partly because a lot of the main action tends to happen during the week when I'm otherwise occupied, but also because they are - the odd Portillo moment aside -  so deadly dull. Even the leaders' keynote speeches towards the end of the conferences are usually irredeemably drab and awful, but they do provide an opportunity for the keen amateur social anthropologist to observe one of the more bizarre political rituals - the public parading of the political wife, followed by the public demonstration of her uncontrollable sexual arousal following her man having given his all behind the podium.

So basically the drill seems to be: party leader (still invariably male, even after all these years) gets up on stage, talks for a couple of hours - formerly from behind a big podium, but the thing these days seems to be to wander around the front of the stage, thereby demonstrating that you've memorised the speech by heart, but not quite knowing what to do with your hands - and then finishes with some slightly clunky crescendo, at which point the audience realises it's all over and goes mental with a standing ovation in the obligatory fashion. At this point the party leader stands around raising his hand for a couple of minutes and blinking a bit as if to say: all this for me, well, gosh, and then grabs his wife (who has made her way onto the stage) and gives her a big lingering kiss on the lips while she gazes up at him admiringly as if to say: I am so rampantly moist for your policies right now; also, cock.

Here's a little montage of the kisses from the 2012 conference season:

It is peculiar to have to remind ourselves that it's 2012, and all three spouses are career women in their own right to a greater or lesser extent - Miriam Clegg and Justine Thornton are lawyers, and Samantha Cameron (who, I should remind you, was a contemporary of mine at Bristol University, though we didn't move in quite the same social circles) has a slightly comedy job working for ludicrous luxury goods company Smythson of Bond Street, as befits someone only slightly posher than the Queen. And yet they still have to be wheeled out to prove the virility of our glorious leaders - not only can John Q Politician talk for an hour without recourse to notes, he's still got enough left in the tank to service the missus afterwards, and a good thing too, because she's hot for his criminal justice policies.

I predict that this will go one of two ways - either sanity will prevail and the whole thing will be ditched as a cringingly embarrassing sexist anachronism, or someone (and it could be me) will make a fortune patenting the Conference-O-Matic speech podium and integral spousal sex platform with full pelvic height adjustment for easy insertion without having to break your verbal stride. So the missus comes up on stage with 30 seconds or so to go, hops up onto the platform, hitches up her dress, and then it's "so, in summary, the party must go forward, not back [knickers off], look to the future, not the past [unzip, drop trousers], and the future of Britain will be NNNNNGGGGGGHHH [insertion] safe in our hands. Thank you." [standing ovation, commence furious thrusting]. Well it would certainly bring back some of the old cynics who have given up watching; I might even have a look in.

On the subject of sexism in politics, I must just give a quick tip of the hat to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard (she's an atheist, you know) for her epic parliamentary smackdown of reptilian opposition leader Tony Abbott last week. It's difficult enough for a woman to become leader of a political party (see above), let alone Prime Minister, and for the tiny number that do the day-to-day sexism and sniping and casual dismissiveness must pile up towards the eyeballs on a regular basis. Margaret Thatcher remained immune to it all by virtue of being a psychopath, but that's not an option available to most. So it was quite refreshing and cathartic to see Abbott getting both barrels; top marks also to the various political analysis websites for the extensive post-speech use of the phrase "ripping a new one".


Andy said...

I feel I should point out that Sam Cam went to Bristol Poly rather than Bristol University.

Just saying.

electrichalibut said...

Well, there you go - I wondered why I hadn't seen her round the Mandela Bar on tequila slammer night. Must fire that sloppy researcher; good job I didn't make any wild fabricated claims about having met her.