COLUMN: Public has had enough of unsteady leadership
In 1961 Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse launched a West End musical entitled Stop the World, I Want to Get Off. They got the title from a piece of graffiti on an East London wall. The musical's long forgotten, but the graffiti's back, and after the events of the past few months, it's hardly surprising that some people still feel moved to write on a wall. However, for many of the victims of Kensington's Grenfell Tower inferno the wall is one of the main channels for anger.
The world has turned upside down. This week marks a year since the UK voted to leave the EU. And we’re still in it until 2019. America’s political system left the rails and crashed down a historical mineshaft with the election of a vile, mendacious narcissist devoid of one iota of statesmanship. Maintaining a ‘special relationship’ with Donald Trump is like poking a rabid Rottweiler with a sharp stick.
And the UK had an unnecessary election which has probably done us all a favour. The dam of public disapproval for the economic suffering inflicted upon us has finally burst. We’ve had enough.
Yes, Theresa May’s battered, laughingstock of a ‘government’ is hanging on by its fingernails, but this election had only one winner; The People. The ‘strong and stable government’ campaigning by an over-confident May, thoroughly expecting her ‘deserved’ landslide, was stilted, repetitive, lacking any empathy with the public.
Stage managed by the Australian Sir Lynton Crosby, it used the same defunct slogans and methods which failed miserably in the last New Zealand elections, yet Britain’s Tories have been happy to pay Crosby’s reported £2.4 million fee. Now they intend sharing power with the DUP, the political wing of the Old Testament.
The barrage of media hatred against Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn during the campaign was breath-taking. Painted as everything from a lunatic to a terrorist, he never the less battled on. His rallies, compared to May’s Top Gear-style gaggle of supporters standing around her battle bus, were natural events attracting thousands. The rally at Huddersfield looked like the Sermon on the Mount.
And now, in the richest borough in the UK, the avoidable tragedy of Kensington’s Grenfell Tower fire. In November 2016, on their blog, (Grenfell Action Group) the residents angrily predicted this fire after so many safety recommendations had been ignored. The inequality and unfairness in our society have been brought into sharp focus in Kensington, as well as revealing the true nature of some of our public figures.
Challenged by Andrew Marr on TV, the Chancellor Philip Hammond admitted that he’d voted against a bill last year which aimed to ensure that “all private landlords made sure their homes were fit for human habitation.” Hammond’s response was that “No regulation isn’t always bad.”
Mrs May said she couldn’t visit the Grenfell survivors because of ‘security’ reasons, yet the following day our 91-year old Queen was there talking to distraught residents, as Jeremy Corbyn had done two days earlier. And in the midst of all this, someone has to start the Brexit talks. It seems at last that we, the peasants, are revolting. And as that ex-punk and unlikely Brexit supporter Johnny Rotten said, ‘Anger is an energy’. Let’s use it wisely.