If you are not familiar with the programme, the idea is that contestants deliver a short essay on a given topic, the majority of which will be false but which will include random truths to be identified.
So, for example, the topic might be the Patel policy of exporting asylum seekers to Rwanda for ‘processing’. It’s a policy which has drawn criticism from labour, Lib Dems, SNP and the Church of England.
None of these organisations, however, has pointed out that Johnson was right, at least in this: that the originator of this policy was not Patel but David Blanket, the Labour Home Secretary under Tony Blair. Blanket described this policy, at the turn of the millennium, as “a 21st century innovation” to solve the “problem” of immigration.
(Johnson went on to describe Starmer as a “Corbynista in a smart Islington suit”. This may not be true now, but it was certainly true when Starmer stood for the Labour leadership. He stood on a programme which adopted the 2019 manifesto but which promised that, with his haircut and tailoring, he was more electable.)
The issue here is Labour’s complicity in the creation of an anti-immigration stance, the “hostile environment” which has empowered Patel and Johnson to put this vile and immoral strategy into practice.
I raise it not merely because I am ashamed and embarrassed by the current Labour party. I raise it because I am ashamed and embarrassed by the state of our politics in general. The government is a shambles of corruption. The opposition is fighting its own activists with more resources and vitriol than it does the government.
Which leaves us where, exactly?
We are nowhere. Nothing shall come of nothing. We are under the hegemony of a political elite which includes both “major” parties, plus the press, plus the broadcasters, plus the church, plus the global oligarchs and financial markets.
I shall work for my local MP - an honourable exception to the above - at the next election. And I will almost certainly continue to howl against the dying of the light in this blog.
But I warn you: It’s not dark yet. But it’s getting there.
Today from the everysmith vaults: Shostakovich of course - the magnificent 10th symphony performed by Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic.