This piece was written in May 2012 following the re-election of Boris Johnson as mayor of London. Back then, Michael Gove was still education secretary and UKIP were nothing more than a harmless bunch of buffoons getting themselves in a lather about publicly funded sculpture rather than immigrants. And Johnson, apparently, had just had some sort of altercation in a lift with his old rival Ken Livingstone.
In an ideal world, the Big Political Story this week would be the terrifying news that Michael Gove doesn’t have “a perfect recall” of all his girlfriends at Oxford – not only a horrific thought in itself, but a somewhat ironic one, given that all of Michael Gove’s girlfriends at Oxford have a vivid image of the Education Secretary’s face contorted by the first spasms of sexual ecstasy indelibly burned into their retinas. (Other than a nice girl from Guildford called Fiona Musgrove who chose to gouge her own eyeballs out with a shoe horn.) Sadly, though, the world is a long way short of ideal, and this week’s BPS is actually the news that, yet again, the selfish suburbs and the idiots who’d prefer to vote for someone who makes them laugh rather than someone who makes their lives better have lumbered us Londoners with Boris Johnson for another four years.
Although, of course, that’s not actually true. Londoners have been lumbered with Boris – whose election material here in Labour-voting SE10 was so vacuous that it didn’t include a single policy statement, just attacks on Livingstone – by the 62% of people who chose not to walk to the polling station on the facile and imbecilic grounds that politicians are all the same.
When plainly they’re not. The Lib-Dems are pathetic, the BNP are racist, and UKIP, according to their own election literature, are utterly incensed by public sculpture. That’s three differences straight off – neither Ken or Boris are, when push comes to shoving each other about in a lift, sad, bad or mad. I’ve no idea where Ken and Boris stand on public sculpture – usually, you’re not allowed to – but I do know that Ken wants to reduce fares on the tube whereas Boris wants to remove the drivers from tube trains and re-employ them as totally unnecessary conductors on equally unnecessary and hugely expensive new buses.
Politics is still the most important thing in the world, and just sitting around doing nothing is inexcusable. And, by “doing nothing”, I don’t just mean the act of not voting. What I mean is that I could have stood for election with a list full of promises, or I could have stood outside Elephant & Castle station with a fistful of leaflets – or maybe Bromley South would’ve made more sense – or I could, at the very least, have written something on this blog.
But I didn’t do any of those things, and now look what’s happened.