Monday, October 02, 2006

Party on big, fat, ugly dude

I watched most of the Labour Party conference last week. I won’t be watching the Tories this week as I woke up this morning and remembered I have a book to finish writing. Not even the promise of a banana-skin moment or two can raise the slightest interest in these silhouettes. Even John Major was composed of shades of grey. I’ll take mine distilled via Simon Hoggart next Saturday. I once nearly ran over Boris Johnson who was teetering precariously around the back streets of Islington on a bicycle that looked four sizes too small. That was the pinnacle two-wheeled Tory event as far as I’m concerned. It can’t be bettered.

Labour has strayed so far from its traditional roots that it doesn’t even seem to remember what the words ‘labour’ and ‘party’ actually mean. Labour – to work and toil as opposed to flannel and spin. Party – to enjoy oneself with people of like mind. More turgid fare than the stodge that was dished out last week is difficult to imagine. What you find yourself doing is trying to work out what they are really saying, except for Gordon ‘Scrooge McDuck’ Brown whose agenda is tattooed onto the very furrows of his brow.

John Reid managed to confuse even himself at times with an intoxicating cocktail of mixed metaphors. ‘We need to help each other in this party from top to bottom’, he intoned with a sincerity that recalled Esther Rantzen in her That’s Life days. ‘Leadership is not a zero sum game’, Reid announced prompting quite a few delegates to reach for their BlackBerry and check Betfair for verification. ‘When one of us shines it does not diminish the others, it reflects on all of us.’ He should probably have qualified that by stipulating who was doing the shining and out of which orifice.

I spent quite a long time contemplating the oddity that is Alistair Darling from the neck up. It is difficult to reconcile how hair so white can nestle next to hair so black when it comes from the same source. What these thoughts inevitably lead to is contemplation of just how old and fat everyone is. At that point John ‘Prezzies’ Prescott stepped up to give his last ever conference speech, finally acknowledging that his retirement as deputy leader of the party is as imminent as Tony Blair’s. He’s been moved so close to the door that he’s already received one of his leaving presents – a thick knitted scarf.

In a tear-jerking final statement he urged colleagues to recall who the ‘real’ enemy is. Out came the BlackBerries again and Betfair reported brisk business in one particular corner of Manchester around the time of Prezzies’s speech. Everyone relaxed a bit once they realised that he was talking about the bicycling Tories and roused to his imperative to ‘get after them’ after they realised just how easy it would be to mow down someone on a bicycle with a pair of Jags.

Timely then that today a new law comes into being that makes it illegal to discriminate against older people in employment. With the plethora of political retirees about to flood the job market, the Government is wise to bring something like this in now.

‘We've tried to put in place something that is common sense, and something that also will help change people's general culture and attitude towards age. Because unfortunately there is a minority of people who do discriminate because of age’, cautioned the folliclely-confused Alistair Darling. Businesses have reported that they don’t entirely understand the new laws. This does usually happen when the Government attempts to bring in a law that takes ‘common sense’ as its basis. It is only after the fact that someone remembers that ‘common sense’ was seen as the enemy of ‘modernism’ and was outlawed in 1997.

What the new law says is this - it will be an offence to advertise for someone with ‘energy’ or ‘experience’. All potential employees in future will be expected to be lethargic and know nothing at all about the job for which they are applying. It is certainly not before time that discrimination against the lazy and useless is ended. Employers should no longer find that they can’t get the right people for the job as the country is full of lazy, useless old buggers. So Prezzies, get on yer bike and get yer fat arse down the Job Centre now!

Photo - Life of the party, Prezzies entertains conference as Mr Blobby. From The Guardian

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