Wednesday, May 05, 2010

BBC Radio 4's election: Satire but no reports from the hustings

Besides pounding the mean streets of Market Harborough, I have been helping the Lib Dem cause in this election by emailing the odd idea for Nick Clegg's speeches to Cowley Street.

I provided a similar service for Paddy Ashdown in 1997. In fact, there was one evening when every extract from Paddy's speeches on the late-night Radio 4 round up from the hustings was written by me.

It was a little like having your work read out in class, but I was rather pleased of the way I likened John Major's attempts to keep the Tories united on Europe to a man attempting to get an octopus into a sack. ("Just when he thinks he is getting there, two more legs break free and grab his arm.") Surrealism is an underused weapon in politics.

I have no idea if I have proved similarly successful this time because there is no longer a late night programme from the hustings.

Instead, they broadcast a nightly satirical programme - The Vote Now Show. In it:
Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis present a nightly satirical round up of election news and comment from comedians, journalists and commentators.
I suppose Punt and Dennis are amusing enough in their sub Beyond the Fringe way (though Hugh Dennis is undermining Western civilisation through his involvement with Outnumbered). But this replacement of straight reporting with satire is symptomatic of the influence such comedians now have over public discussion of politics.

Yet what do they offer beyond smugness at their own cleverness and stereotyped showbiz leftiness? In many cases not very much. And in the case of Mock the Week, nothing at all.

What we really need in modern Britain. is not satire of the politicians but satire of the satirtists. Look for the first metacomedian to emerge any day now.

No comments: