Almost a week on and it takes a dreadful tragedy to deflect from the constant reportage of political bickering between the toffs, the lefties and all the other nutters jumping onto the bandwagon of public name calling and snook cocking. Brenda from Bristol voiced her surprise and distaste at the prospect of the big guns squaring up to each other and the constant barrage of desperate personal slights being thrown down our faces. All in the name of electioneering.
The fourth plinth in Trafalgar square could easily have been utilised for any forms of muck raking and s**t chucking between any two public figures.
I’d have happily refereed any such contest. The only condition would be that contestants had to dress as a sumo wrestler.
Although the emphasis would have been on verbal sparring a contest could be swiftly brought to an end by a decisive move where the winner would barge their opponent off the plinth. There would be no soft landing but I’d have a hotline to 999 so an ambulance could be called and the victim could experience first hand a lengthy wait due to government cut backs.
This would open up the contest to all manner of sneaky malicious moves. We could even do it on a winner stays on basis. Who would be the champion? Eric Pickles? Bo Jo? Would Jeremy be able to practise a clever manoeuvre with his bicycle clips? How about Rudd versus Abbott? Green against O’Donnel?
I’d start with Farage and Reckless.
These two former UKIP colleagues fell out when dear little Mark found the stain of his new party a little too squalid, thus putting the chance of his fruitful political career in real jeopardy. Even if the appropriately named former tory won, he would then have to face stage two of a dignified return to the comforting arms of the strong and stable Conservative family.
As poor Mark lay exhausted but victorious on the hard dusty surface the crowd gave a mocking laugh towards the prostrate Nigel, lighting up after wrapping his Armani kerchief around his bleeding knee. “I’ve survived a plane crash,” he boasted.
Then the long angled shadow appeared over the shining Reckless face.
“One more thing,” came a low husky voice. Against the fierce sun he recognised the silhouette of the PM, standing there, feet apart in true conference pose.
A thousand mobile phones went into video mode. The crowed bayed. She began snapping her spindly fingers. “I’ll show you how it’s done.” The tone was threatening.
“Jacob,” she whispered. Just over the edge of the plinth the foppish little head of Rees-Mogg appeared.
“Yes bunny chum?” he exuded.
“Show him how to please me.” There was a short yelp.
At the back of the crowd was Cameron and Gideon. Bored with proceedings, they began to play strip poker. “This is one way to get noticed,” giggled Osborne, shivering in his underwear.
At prime time, the nation tunes into BBC Parliament. Boris is due to appear. The eager anticipation reaches fever pitch. “BORIS BORIS BORIS,” chant the heaving crowd. From the loud speakers comes Eye of the Tiger. His blondness emerges clad in a shining pink silk kimono. He rides a chariot pulled by Kezia Dugdale. On the plinth he removes his gown, showing a lime green sumo nappy. The cheering moves up a notch. He casts his kimono over the side of the plinth. The crowd go silent. With hands on hips Boris struts around the perimeter. But where’s his opponent.
“Where’s Donald? He asks before dreaming of his most desired encounter.
In one corner while his back is turned a little boy is held up by his father. He places a laughing bag on the edge. “HA HA HA,” mocks its tinny little voice.
Johnson jumps. He turns and runs aiming a powerful kick at the jolly box. It fires off into the crowd, laughing defiantly. On the other side the boy places a jack in the box.
As it pops up, our tory blue hero darts at it with foot recoiled. The boy moves it and he kicks at nothing, falling onto his substantial rump. Around the country, tea cups tumble in joyful surprise. A fire service crane arrives to rescue him. “Get stuffed,” he bellows before tumbling off the end.
Then it’s time for the great Scottish duel. In an instant, Alex Salmond and Michael Gove are on the rostrum, jockeying for position.
Alex is distracted: “Ooh Mikey, when did you do that?” He points to the silver ring pierced through his left nipple. “It was a surprise present from Mrs Blurt,” he answers shyly. The discussion begins. Not a blow is traded. The crowd boo.
“Say what you like about his politics,” yells Alex to the disgruntled mob. “But he has a full set of good manners.” Amid further hissing and cat-calling, they descend before walking off hand in hand.
Miles away in a northern civic hall, Dimbleby was tapping his microphone. He loves an occasion. He can’t wait for his all nighter. But now he has to make do with an hour of question time. He can’t help himself: “And our first guest is the right honourable Andrew Bridgen, MP for Ashby de la Zouche.
Andrew emerges from the background clutching a three day old Costa Coffee beaker.
“Oh Dimby, can you just put a little more spice into Zouche?” He takes a sip from his saliva stained mug. It tastes foul. He spits it over Dimbleby’s sleeve. “Do it again you bitch,” sneers David.
Then Angela Eagle comes onto the set doing a sort of “shake and vac” step. “Let’s put the freshness back into political debate,” she teases, licking her lips at David.
He cringes. In the background, the rumble of Paul Nutall’s coarse Liverpool brogue can be heard.
“Fu**inell you daft b*****d, didn’t yer know I had two sugars in me skinny latte?” Everyone’s face drops. The director turns his head grinning slyly.
“You sly bugger” snarls Dimby.
Meanwhile, in every normal home in the land, the great British public is practising the art of stoicism. When faced with the brutality of another general election, there is only one way to be. They will secretly giggle and the supposed truths exposed by the chinless protagonists of “Have I got News.” And so it goes on.
Longer than Wimbledon, longer than the open, longer than the world cup and even longer than a proboscis monkey’s nose, our attention, fired by a genuine concern for what is right, is battered about the squash court with heavyweight rackets.
The result was surprising. The result was whatever you wanted it to be. Will hard brexit turn into hard labour? The energy of the whole episode will force us lumbering forward into brave and cowardly new worlds. Politicians will cling to face saving scraps.
In the end it dies down. We are humbled by the events of a heart rending tragedy. In Kensington the rich live alongside the not rich. Guess who’s flats were burned down?
In a food bank somewhere in the home counties, David looks at Nick.
“We could have been so good together.” Nick looks back and blows smoke in his face.
Thank you for reading.