Party fears plus one? Poopers on front foot

LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
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Criticise Party (or leader or policy) X and you therefore support Party (or leader or policy) Y and are toiling to advance their cause.

No debate necessary. Case closed, continue with this unambiguous and inarguable fact right at the forefront of your mind.

Welcome to the weird and weary bipolar world view of your friendly neighbourhood (until politics comes under discussion) party political
animal.

A tiresome beast at best of times, these hardwired zealots are mercifully rare and fairly low profile for most of the calendar. When elections loom, however, they come crawling from the woodwork to lie thick on the ground.

‘Thick’ being the operative word.

One such specimen battened on yours truly the other day, during a spot of UKIP Twitter baiting which included a sly dig at the current government (said UKIP are further to the economic right than the ConDems, which takes some doing).

“Very funny but here on planet Earth @Ed_Miliband is looking increasingly stupid as the economy grows,” chipped in a total stranger.

Needless to say, steam jets blasted from my ears at the inference of loyalty on my part to the cast of barefaced brigands and careerists now trading as Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.

Battle was immediately joined, and with maximum prejudice.

After a furious exchange (during which Miliband was thrown repeatedly in my face) I had the nit rattled to the extent he clumsily submitted an incoherent ‘no, you’ rejoinder which could have tumbled from the lips of a barely literate tot.

Naturally I shared this singularly cruel reading and advised he work on his syntax, bringing our pointless spat to a triumphant conclusion.

Sweet. But why must it come to this? Why, once allegiance has been sworn to one or other party, does said allegiant lose the ability to grasp that some people, misquoting Marx, would never dream of joining a club which had people like THEM (and their representatives) as members?

After all, with party membership at an all-time low and turnouts for every kind of election in freefall for decades, this has never been a more absurd proposition. Indeed, basic maths suggests something close to my blanket mistrust of these parties (including the extreme new populists who arrive as fully formed clones barely distinguishable from the old order) is the default these days.

The party is over. They should get used to being pooped.