George Osborne again (or A eulogy for John McDonnell)

Osborne 2

I suppose I should’ve drawn Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell after his toe-curling response to Big George’s spending review last week. But, given that it’s likely to hasten his already fairly imminent departure from frontline politics, I’m not sure it’s worth bothering to learn what his face looks like.

For those who didn’t catch it, McDonnell crowned a toweringly incoherent riposte by quoting from venerable despot and genocidal tunic-enthusiast Chairman Mao Tse Tung’s Little Red Book – an item so incongruous in the House of Commons he could’ve whipped out a massive red dildo and raised fewer eyebrows.

I mean seriously, talk about confirming unhelpful stereotypes. Imagine John Major ironing his Y-fronts on the despatch box or David Cameron going full Bullingdon and announcing, between lusty swigs of Bollinger, the privatisation of the NHS to fund a vast annual subsidy for the British pig farming industry. Perhaps Boris riffling through his Little Black Book and fondly recounting conquests past (or possibly present). That’s the level.

And the thing is it could – if handled with a soupcon more acuity – have been a moment of cautious triumph for McDonnell.

Osborne had just announced two whopping great U-turns on tax credits and police funding. U-turns for which J McD should’ve bounced straight up to claim the credit by having made the anti-austerity case with such formidable verve and eloquence (ha) while at the same time amplifying the vox populi in the palaces of the mighty, doing a passable impression of a united, coherent opposition party and even nursing a few green shoots of economic credibility into the bargain. Utter bollocks of course but who cares? ‘Engine of the North,’ anyone? Yeah, exactly.

Instead, what Johnny McDonny did was to stagger up to the mic like someone’s pissed grandad crashing the after-dinner speeches at a wedding and begin rummaging through the dusty, clutter-strewn attic of his mind. Minute by minute, one by one, Labour faces froze into veneers of clenched, expressionless fury. And, as he brandished his Little Red Career Coffin, political sketchwriters all over Wapping slid their 2012 ‘Omnishamble budget’ write-ups back onto the shelf and, en masse, settled down to craft Mao puns (‘Mao money, Mao problems’ is one I was disappointed not to see).

By the time he concluded with a limp attack on Boris Johnson (who had buggered off about half an hour earlier), McDonnell had succeeded – masterfully and totally – in wiping the Chancellor’s fiscal flip-flopping from a nation’s collective memory.

“I got the point across though didn’t I?” bleated the old goat on the Channel 4 News that evening.

“What point would that be then?” more or less replied a broadly grinning and almost recumbent Krishnan Guru-Murthy.

“The one about selling off our national assets.”

*Baffled ‘what fucking planet are you from?’ silence*

“We wouldn’t be having this conversation now if I hadn’t raised the issue in what was perhaps a slightly jocular manner” he insisted with chuckling derangement.

No, course not. You’re only the Shadow Chancellor of the bleedin’ Exchequer in the wake of the most important economic statement of this parliament. How could you possibly have wrangled yourself a millisecond of air time without transporting us to the People’s Republic of Top Bantz?

I know ol’ Ronald McDonnell had previously promised not to make political capital out of any climb down the government might perform on tax credits. But he could’ve at least let the rancid stench of surrender hang in the air for a few seconds and people’s eyes water a little before obligingly charging in to stink up the place himself.

I mean it’s one thing staying dutifully po-faced when a rival cuts a violent fart in unreceptive circumstances but quite another to take the bullet yourself by immediately wrenching down your own pantaloons and curling off a vast, varnish-melting deuce on the coffee table of the commentariat.

Anyway whatevs. Here’s Gorgeous George who, courtesy of a commendable effort to lead a national tightening of belts literally and by example, now looks like he’s inhabiting someone else’s skin.

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Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage 2

Genuinely saddened to see how ruthlessly the one-track hysteria of the Great British Electorate has done for the Lib Dems.

Still, at least we won’t to put up with Nigel ‘the Marlboro toad’ Farage belching into microphones, taking his pit stains to parliament and smearing his slimy residue all over the green benches. So that’s something.

Hulk rant – spatial awareness

Hulk Background

You know what really grinds my gears? The lack of spatial awareness people in our fair city have.

Why the christ do people think the best place to stop and gather their bearings is invariably at the mouth of an escalator, in a doorway, at a shop checkout or underground ticket barrier, or on the edge of the curb at a zebra crossing? What is it about these architectural bottlenecks which whispers to them: “whoa there, busy little bee, where’s the fire? Slow down, relax and pluck a precious moment to contemplate life’s rich pageant.”

Wankers.

If you’re reading these words, I imagine the only acquaintance you have with the following concept will be from having seen the film Anchorman but, like the slave to fashion that I am, I’ve recently taken up a no-doubt ephemeral fad called ‘jogging’, or ‘yogging’ (I believe the ‘j’ is silent). Essentially, you just run around for an extended period of time.

It’s almost impossible to go for a run in East London without gangs of mangy youths loudly questioning your sexuality, fleets of white van drivers trying to pebble-dash the pavements with your entrails and hordes of tattooed dog-owners launching their bull mastiffs at your genitals.

But the obnoxious bastardry of these loveable rogues is entirely deliberate and there’s a certain honest nobility in that. You know what you’re going to get and can deal with it accordingly.

For instance, my housemate Al told me of an occasion when he was out running and a bunch of spivs caculatedly arrayed themselves so as to block his path. Now Al is generally a pretty affable fellow and nine times out of ten, his response to such pubescent posturing would be to stop and politely ask if he might be granted safe passage but he’s also a hulking heap of mobile muscle and on this occasion he just thought “fuck it”, put his head down and scattered them like blunderous bowling pins.

It’s not often that I find myself in agreement with Big Al on matters of civic policy but for once I think he’s got it spot on. People won’t learn to mind their surroundings unless you fist them into insensibility.

So I’d like to propose an amendment to the social contract. Specifically, the clause which apparently grants people the right to say “I’m going to stagger about blindly, flinging my limbs, jowls, buttocks, pets, children, etc. into random pockets of air and if you should happen to fill that air, it’s your own fault.”

No.

You remain, of course, perfectly entitled to dither about the place like some drunken tramp with an ear infection but if you choose to exercise this right, you must henceforth expect to have your limbs snapped off and used to pummel your jowls and buttocks into haematomic purée, your pets stabbed to death and your children set on fire.

I’m not a human wrecking ball like my housemate but, as that old lady who ill-advisedly went for the last packet of chocolate digestives in the Bow Road Tesco Express last week will tell you (if she ever re-enters the realms of the conscious): when I hit you, you know you’ve been hit.

Fair warning.