When it comes to politics, Billy Connolly has it nailed. As he wryly put it: “The desire to be a politician should bar you for life from ever becoming one.”
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Although, these days it seems, the more determined you are to become Prime Minister the less likely you are of getting the job.
Just ask Boris Johnson and Michael Gove. The moment Johnson became favourite to land the keys to Number 10, he was stabbed in the back and pull out the race.
Michael Gove, considered a safe pair of hands, was a PM in waiting, despite maintaining he didn’t want the job. As soon as he expressed an interest, he was jettisoned.
I mention all this because my kids are becoming increasingly aware of politics. Or, at least, they are becoming increasingly aware of men and women in suits talking more than most on TV. Like Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May. The latter, who was never particularly in the frame for the top job, is now, naturally, the current Prime Minister. It’s how politics works.
Soundbites are the name of the game these days. Two have stuck. My favourite is May’s mantra that “Brexit means Brexit.”
Have you tried looking it up in the dictionary? It’s not there. Which means, in effect, Brexit can mean whatever Theresa May chooses it to mean. She might as well have told us that “Brexit means supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” But then that might have seemed precocious.
As for Jeremy Corbyn, all I ever hear is that his is ‘unelectable.’ It’s a soundbite that has stuck. Just to be clear, that’s the Jeremy Corbyn who has been elected MP every four years or so since 1983! And he’s been elected to the Labour leadership, twice. The second time, at the weekend, by a bigger margin than last year. If he keeps up his ‘unelectability’ he may be PM before we know it.
But when it comes to politics, it’s not the UK that has captured the imagination of my two boys, but the States.
In particular, Donald Trump. Our Isaac, 12, keeps blurting out Trump’s quote “That woman’s a disaster.” He applies it to everything.
I can see the attraction of American politics. It’s simple and visual. While Brexit and the economic intricacies of triggering Article 50 can give you a headache, Trump and Clinton keep things simple.
She’s smashing glass ceilings and he’s building a wall.
That wall to keep out Mexicans would certainly solve the unemployment problem in the South, given the wall would need to be about 2,000miles long. The bricks wouldn’t be a problem. Apparently there’s a few in Trump’s camp. At least that’s what I think they said.
Whether it would stop people crossing the border is another thing. But if you’re looking for a company to invest in, the Mexican Ladder Corporation is looking like a good bet.
I will, however, leave the last word on politics to Billy Connolly. “Don’t vote,” he said. “It just encourages them!”