Monday, July 03, 2017

Right Ho, Jeeves?

What is it with the British political right these days?  It increasingly seems to be populated with characters from PG Wodehouse.  Take that Jacob Rees Mogg, for instance, (oh, how I wish someone would take him, preferably the grim reaper), surely he's one of those acquaintances of Bertie Wooster who are forever being intimidated by potential fathers-in-law and former fiances of the current object of his affections?  Gussie Fink-Nottle, that famed fancier of fish and newts comes to mind.  Perhaps I'm being unfair to Gussie Fink-Nottle - he didn't after all live in a country mansion inherited from his father and wasn't the sort of person who liked to gratuitously quote the classics in order to demonstrate his obvious intellectual superiority to the plebs.  Then there's Boris Johnson - the very epitome of the sort of bumbling upper class buffoon who used to hang out in the bar of the Drones club in the Jeeves and Wooster stories.  People keep telling me that, despite appearances, Boris has a 'first class brain'.  I can only assume that he keeps it in a jar on his desk. There's a persistent misconception in this country that just because someone has read classics at Oxford or Cambridge, they must be some kind of intellectual giant.  In reality, it just means they've read a lot of stuff in  Latin and Greek and can quote it.

It's rather like that journalistic fallacy which equates dullness with gravitas - that's the only reason that Vince Cable keeps getting held up as some kind of economic guru (completely ignoring his actual track record in government, which is abysmal).  I've had the misfortune to actually hear Cable speak: he is, quite possibly, the most boring speaker I've ever experienced.  Which, obviously, is his secret: he is so dull that  everyone listening falls asleep, then wakes up to hear polite applause as Cable finishes and assumes that he must have said something important.  Moreover, as the press will tell you, important things are always boring. Exciting stuff is just trivial.  Of course, Cable is another PG Wodehouse staple - the club bore, like the Oldest Member, who insists on telling their stories over and over to a captive audience.  But it isn't just the mainstream of the political right which currently seems to be inhabited by PG Wodehouse characters - UKIP (remember them?)has more than its fair share.  We'll just take one as an example: Godfrey Bloom, the loathsome patrician who likes to refer to 'Bongo Bongo land' and to patronise women.  He's surely the outraged retired colonel who is always misunderstanding Wooster's intentions to his daughter and threatening to horse whip him, before the inimitable Jeeves contrives to resolve the situation in a suitable bizarre, yet urbane, way.  It's all very disturbing.  Where is Jeeves when we need him?



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