Our elder statesmen are disgraceful - and Ken Livingstone is the worst of the lot
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I have no sympathy with those who bang on about ‘decolonising’ thought and expression. I study philosophy; my sexless yet loving harem contains such things as ‘literature’ and ‘history’ and ‘science’. I know many Old White Men and find that they often have interesting things to say. I’d not be without them. But my word, they can be obstinate fools as well. Those who now spend their days shuffling to and fro between the various broadcasting studios in London are not the best of their kind. Michael Howard, for example. Darth Plagueis the Wise. Imposing himself upon the (quite sensitive) issue of Gibraltar, he decides to make a very silly comparison between The Rock and The Falklands, Spain and ‘another Spanish-speaking country.’ Because what you really want, before negotiations with the EU have even begun, is an old vampire threating one of its member states with war. Annoyingly, he’s on my side of the Gibraltar argument, and the wider EU debate. A most unhelpful ally. Not so another old Michael, this time Heseltine. Seldom a day goes by, it seems, without Tarzan appearing on our screens. He was once an amusing figure. He strangled his mother’s Alsatian, you know. And in 1976, during a particularly fractious argument in the Commons, he took up the royal mace, seemingly with the intent to attack the honourable members opposite him. This constituted an ‘incident of grave disorder’ and Parliament had to be suspended. But he has become something of a bore and a nuisance on the Europe question. He puts one in mind of Lord Marchmain, returning to Brideshead to die, and determined to be an inconvenience in the meantime. He seems to enjoy being an inconvenience. This is an odd position for a Conservative to take, for it is quite radical and not at all conservative. But I must pay attention, for I am waiting for him to slip. Should he ever claim to respect the voters of this country -something to which he has hitherto never admitted - I shall be amongst the first to point out that he once thought, and presumably still thinks, that the people of this country shouldn’t even have a parliament. I’m not old enough to know whether my impression is correct, but it seems to me that once, in the long, long ago, the before-times, a political grandee threatening war against an ally, or attacking the leadership of his own party, would have seemed most remarkable. The sort of event which would dominate headlines and gain a monopoly on political gossip and conversation. John Major’s bastards spring to mind. Yet this is no longer the case, for these outbursts are now mere footnotes to the events of the day; destined, it seems, to be trumped tomorrow by some other farce, something even more outstanding in its stupidity, something even more unpardonably tactless and nonsensical.
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