Three PMs

All three of the TV contenders last Thursday were suffering from PMT(ension). It’s a pity they weren’t wired to electrodes, so that we could have measured the extent to which they believed they were lying, or perhaps just what their pulses were. The whole thing struck me as a slightly R.D.Laing-type exercise, as in

Gordon likes Nick because Gordon does not like Dave.  Nick does not like Gordon, but he does not like Dave because Dave does not like Nick.

Carry on at will. The whole thing was not very informative, really, except that it suggests that the ‘plague-on-both-your-houses’ attitude is likely to prevail, and that Cameron is not invincible. It struck me during the debate – I have been trying to place this for a bit – who it is that Cameron reminds me of. And the answer is Pinocchio. Cameron is an inherently Disney figure. It’s not his fault that he looks like one, any more than it is that Brown looks Le Vache Qui Rit. (Clegg looks like Christopher Robin. That’s enough insults.)

It was predictable that Clegg would win. For the same reason, many football fans are hoping that Portsmouth will beat Chelsea in the FA Cup (I wonder what odds you would get on Clegg and Portsmouth both winning). He did do himself some extra favours, largely by talking to the audience and not the middle distance, and by name-checking the questioners. He also got away with being unable to think of an original phrase, once or twice, and nicking Cameron’s phrases (Cameron spoke of carers as ‘unsung heroes’ – Clegg immediately called them the ‘unsung army of heroes and heroines’. You couldn’t help thinking, though, that Blair would have wiped the floor with all of them: so it really was about style and not substance. (I also suspect that Mrs. Clegg’s comparative invisibility is actually going to help Clegg.) And Cameron’s mention of Iran and China … this was a Bush-ish moment, surely. The SNP leader, Alex Salmond, spotted immediately in a post-election comment that Cameron meant to say ‘North Korea’. But it is a blunder Cameron can’t undo, because it would become more obviously a blunder.

I am now officially accepted as an elector, meanwhile, in the Darlington constituency. I have never successfully voted Labour in a general election, so I’ll try again: it seems to me a safe seat (although the Tories did hold it in the 1990s, after winning it back from a by-election victory). I won’t therefore be obliged to vote LibDem in what seems to be the hopeless case of the new Central Devon constituency, into which my former home has been shifted since boundary changes in Devon. I would actually like the LibDems to win, too, in that I am a long-standing supporter of proportional representation – and not the Alternative Vote, which is just a means of getting the person who came second to win, and is a frankly stupid system, as dodgy as First Past The Post.

I am going to risk a prediction, which is that the LibDems will gain 101 seats, and that there will be a tie between the others. I suspect that there will be two Independents (Wyre Forest and the one in Wales), three Plaid Cymrus, one Green, and ten SNPs. And that there will be no change in Northern Ireland. I also think UKIP might nick the Speaker’s seat. I ought to say that I have never ever predicted anything but nonsense in the past, but that’s my best shot.

Cameron listens to John Major


2 Responses to Three PMs

  1. I appear to be related to you. Both William Pottinger and Ethel Mary Grace were my grandmother’s first cousins i.e. they were the children of Captain William Pottinger brother of my greatgrandfather Captain Thomas Pottinger. I live 5 minutes walk from the house where Ethel and William were brought up in Sunderland. I am fascinated by the China link because as far as I can work out Ethel’s only sister Florence married a man called Cox who became a missionary. Their son George Pottinger Cox was killed in Gallipoli at the very end of the campaign and he is remembered on his grandfather (WP’s) gravestone in Ryhope Road cemetery. Some of the military sources say that his father was a missionary George Innocent Cox and he was in Tientsin in China at the time of his son’s death. This seems to link in with some of your work.I am a professional writer and musician and have published a number of articles on the Pottingers of Burra Isle Shetland. Captain William and Captain Thomas’s paternal grandfather was called Innes Pottinger – that’s how I picked you up on google.

    • J N RUDD says:

      Hi Keith,
      My wife is the grand daughter of William Pottinger and the g grandaughter of Captain William Pottinger.
      I have a large amount of Pottinger Papers and am transcribing some of Alex Pottinger’s Notes.
      Could you contact me please.

      Norman Rudd

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