Round and round the goldfish bowl we go

As frightening as this burgeoning post-fact era of politics threatens to become, arguably greater willies should be derived from an apparent trend for human memory to go the way of demonstrable truth.
LEP Columnist Barry FreemanLEP Columnist Barry Freeman
LEP Columnist Barry Freeman

The political Holy Grail here is an eternal now, where mistakes and corruptions and Machiavellian antics of yesterday melt away, forgotten, if one can forget things which never happened.

Blair is an estimable exponent, possibly the philosophy’s birth mother, popping up last week to anoint Owen Smith as if Chilcot was a dream we all had. And you know what? If he and the tireless media team batting on his behalf get their way Chilcot will, eventually, be a dream we all had.

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A clearer cut example of this emerging strategy occurred a few days previously, during Prime Minister’s Questions.

Theresa May took the opportunity of Corbyn’s query on job insecurity and despicable working conditions to fire off a hilarious gag (Westminster jokes are easily the equal of those that set Wimbledon Centre Court crowds howling) at the expense of the Labour leader.

To the merriment of every plump soft-handed sap behind her (and many on the opposing benches), May (now a Thatcher tribute act to quell Brexiteer grunts about a ‘Remainer’ nipping in) droned a preamble noteworthy solely for its absolute lack of wit which limply climaxed in the inferred punchline that of Britain’s ‘unscrupulous’ bosses none could be worse than Corbyn. Cue gales of forced wholly joyless braying. Brays heard repeatedly that day, each subsequent news outlet reporting the exchange as proof of May’s victorious debut in the House.

Not one qualified this version of events by reminding us mere weeks ago May nabbed the job via an orgy of unscrupulous behaviour to make the bleeding Borgias look trustworthy. Ascending on the back of backstabbing and backstairs deals, was there ever a sitting PM so lacking the right to cast aspersions on the propriety of an opponent?

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These people want you to become goldfish. Once around the bowl then wondering why you’ve never been this side of the bowl before.

“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting,” wrote novelist Milan Kundera in 1978, and in Britain this has never been more true.

Remember that if nothing else.