Coming out of the Woodwork

We have started having General Election nonsense already – politicians saying dumb things, people listening to them a little too closely. Two MPs in hot water yesterday for comments about Grenfell. One for uttering the comments in the first place, the second for trying to excuse him.

Rees-Mogg (the guy uttering the words) appeared to be saying that he would have ignored Fire Service advice, and that by doing so, he would have got out alive, or would at least have stood a better chance of doing so. The problem was that he asserted that this stance was just common sense. So you can see why people are incensed – Rees-Mogg would have got out because he was sufficiently sensible, whereas people died in the fire because they weren’t. He issued a statement later – the opposite of the first (a radio interview) – but the damage had been done.

Nonsense, leopards don’t change their spots, certainly not a seasoned politician during the course of just a single day. He apologised because he realised (or more likely, was instructed by his bosses) that his view was offensive.

Let’s be clear, in respect of Grenfell:

  • people should have followed Fire Service advice, because one could not reasonably expect Joe Public to be an expert in how fires spread. But,
  • people should have had the right to expect that that advice was the correct advice. Not just to expect, but to be able to bet their lives on it. Which is exactly what they did.

Just two questions. There are other associated issues, of course. How people bend either regulations or results so that their property developer friends can jump through a few fewer hoops, and save a bit of cash. The cladding on the tower was shown to be flammable, yet it ticked all the right boxes to end up on the tower block – totally legal. Or the issue of the value of life – social housing is not built to the same safety standards as, say, some swanky millionaire apartment block – which will at the very least have sprinklers. But those are the two key things. A simple guy like me can express these views both concisely and clearly, so why not a professional wordsmith? Or even two of them?

Just on the election itself, I forget litte facts but I generally remember feelings. My current feeling, I had it back in 1997, when John Major’s traincrash of a government was swept away in what heralded the Blair era. I feel that parties don’t win elections, they lose them when voters just become sick of their antics.

At the moment, there is also concern over Corbyn and Labour. They haven’t done themselves any favours, for sure. Blair, at least, was a credible guy, at least before he was elected, before we saw his imperial tendencies. Whilst people might be sick of one party, they are wary of the other. So there we have it – and we are left to choose the least worst option. What a choice!

Another five weeks of this.

Knickers

Hahaha. Bexit is making the UK politicians get their knickers well and truly into a twist.

We all need to compromise.

Have you compromised? Or, do you just mean that other people should compromise by falling in behind you?

My door is always open, if they want to speak to me.

Well,have you tried speaking to them?

The UK is in a mess over Brexit. But one good thing that might be coming out of this mess is our general dissatisfaction with the quality of politics. All this adversarial nonsense…

When we work in business, we collaborate, even with people we might not like, in order to reach a common goal. It’s about time we elected politicians who could do the same.

Cliché

It’s quite amusing – at the moment, in the UK, we’ll often see people being interviewed on TV, and hearing things like Look! Boris Johnson is an asshole, or Look! Boris Johnson is Superman, or Look! Boris Johnson is somewhere in the middle. (Maybe that last one not so much!) Look! Pay attention!

Somewhat surprisingly, it seems to have become fashionable among politicians.

Er, anybody who is watching the interview already is paying attention! It is not a big thing, but something I find amusing – seeing the clichés, the little fillers people use to allow their brain to catch up with their mouth.

For years, I remember y’know, and I associate it particularly with footballers, tunnel interviews, although that is probably unfair to footballers!

My daughter uses one cliché after another, she strings them together to the point where they trip naturally off her tongue. You listen to the sentence, you analyse it, you realise that every word is a cliché, and that she hasn’t actually said anything. At one stage, she would prefix her sentences with I’m not being funny, but… I would mischievously interject by saying something along the lines I’m glad you’re not being funny, because this is a serious subject. Slapped legs.

The French have a habit, something I often did myself as my brain was searching for the correct word in what was, after all, a foreign language. A tiny “er….” – just enough to let somebody know that you might be having a pause, but that you haven’t finished speaking completely yet. I hear it in English too, sometimes.

And it is true that you need special skills. Years ago I went on a public speaking course, and it does indeed take training to make the listener think that you have a constant, uninterrupted train of thought. So I appreciate that good TV presenters are more than just eye candy.

But I’ll bet footballers don’t go on such courses. Or politicians, it seems.