+How many cabinet ministers can you name? How many shadow cabinet ministers can you name? I’m sure I’m indulging in a generational sort of thing here, but I have this fond idea that ministers and their counterparts 30 or 40 years ago were in some way more substantial, that is they had ‘bottom,’ could actually write books, sounded authoritative and were often household names. This is strictly not a party political point. It just seems to me that in my living memory, the 1960s and 1970s and even in the 1980s UK politics was a scene inhabited with political figures who had something resembling stature, even the seriously flawed types like Reggie Maudling and George Brown. Yes, this sounds a bit preposterous, rosy tinted spectacles and all that, but where one might ask is today’s Barbara Castle, Michael Foot or Tony Benn (and there are names on the other side too)? Now we seem to be stuck with more sycophantic crews on all sides who owe their position not to some serious and weighty political presence but merely to their obeisance and on-message discipline.
I’m not sure I should have mentioned Reggie and George in this context but at least they didn’t resemble cardboard cut-outs.
+Prime Minister Johnson thinks Covid-19 shows or has ‘an insensitive and cruel disregard for others,’ in a word he thinks the disease is ‘callous.’ This abuse of language is his metier and a lot of people seem impressed by it, as if it made him very witty. I accept that if he truthfully described the disease as ‘indifferent’ it wouldn’t have the same dramatic effect. So we’ll have to live with a heartless and cruel ‘mugger’ which (who?) lurks in wait for innocent victims. One day it might serve us well to learn that nature is totally and utterly indifferent to human sensibilities which is not quite what ‘heartless’ means.
+It’s that time of year when building society AGMs take place, and voting forms plop through the letterbox. I always take pleasure in voting against the executive remuneration packages, but it makes no difference. Despite being told that by voting I ‘can make a difference’ one AGM report notes that on this topic votes are purely ‘advisory.’ So I can’t make a difference after all, unless re-appointing the auditors and re-electing the board takes us into a new world. The top dog at one of my building societies got £646,000 last year. That might sound a lot, but compared to the City, it’s peanuts. Votes tend to make no difference there, either.