AA Gill On... Politics

Esquire's Uncle Dysfunctional on the looming general election

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Dear Uncle Dysfunctional,
My friend is leader of the Liberal Democrat Party, and he is having a horrid time at the moment. Once he was really popular with the public; it was "I'm with Nick-this" and "I'll have to see what Nick thinks-that". Now there's another election coming up and he's worried he's just going to lose lots of his team, and he might not even hold on to his own seat. I keep telling him to relax and get back the old confidence – more certainty, more fist-waving. He's got to be the man with convictions.

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Dear Nick. Sorry, dear Tony,
You couldn't be more wrong. Nobody cares what Clegg or the Liberal Democrats think, or stand for. Or their policy on fishing. Indeed, most Lib-Dems don't know what their policy on fishing is; they have completely different ideas in Skye than they do in Cornwall. The Lib-Dems are sidekicks. They were born to be sidekicks and that's what they should concentrate on being. Nick has got to choose what sort of sidekick he's going to be. At the moment, he's trying to be Martin Freeman playing Dr Watson to Dave Cameron's Sherlock Holmes, and it's not working for him. He needs to move along and perhaps channel Chewbacca: strong, dependable, talks hysterical gibberish. Or, if he's going to be a sidekick to the Conservatives, he should go for the confusingly named Cameron in Ferris Bueller's Day Off: funny, big-hearted, but a bit of a loser. A lovable loser. That would be a good look for Nick, and not too big a stretch, in a Brechtian sense. Although he could go for Kurt Weill in a Brechtian sense. But I'm thinking, what about Ron Weasley from Harry Potter? He'd be good. Ron Weasley: he gets the girl in the end, which will probably be Theresa May – not necessarily an improvement on Mrs Clegg – but that's politics. And if it turns out to be a Labour government, then what about Donkey from Shrek? If he channelled Ron Weasley and Donkey from Shrek, he could be a ginger ass.

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Salaam alaikum,
I am writing to your esteemed self on the venerable behalf of his graciousness Nigel Farage, leader of the Ugandan, Kenyan, Indian and Pakistani Party. Just my little, ever so cor blimey, English joke. What? You can't even have a laugh now? Political correctness gone tonto barmy, mate. Nige doesn't actually know I'm writing this, so please don't use my name. The honourable Nige doesn't know anyone or anything at the moment because he's passing out in the gents with his head down the khazi. It's Thursday and he always says, "Oh boys, come on. It's Throw-up Thursday. Last one down The Grenadier is a Gunga Din." So we've been sinking the damn fine bitter for eight hours now, and I'm bored. The godawful, would-you-credit-it truth is everyone's bored with Nige. He was the life and soul of politics – always a laugh, always up for a bit of banter – but we've heard all his stories a million times. He is a saloon bar bore. What can we do to get his old magic back again? Get him top dog, tally-ho for president, and no more wogs? He doesn't mean me, obviously, not that I'm one. Oh no, cor blimey, matey. Just because I'm a pediatric consultant in a general hospital doesn't mean that I'm a free-loading, Paki-style curry-muncher not used to our traditions and funny little ways. Actually, it probably does.

Well, thank you for that, Salim. You've got it about right for Farage. He's just run out of material, and he's beginning to take himself seriously, like Russell Brand, which is a classic problem with politicians. They all take themselves seriously. Who knows where they get the idea that anyone else does? Nige thinks he needs to grow up and look statesman-like. It's a career-ending mistake. His joy was that he was Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses: we don't believe him; we just think he's funny. And what he's turning into is Trigger: we do believe him but he's not funny. In another month, he's going to be doing impressions of Last of the Summer Wine and thinking he's Churchill. He needs to get back to being a wide boy, and a kid. And his role model should be The Young Ones' Rick. Altogether, he is Rik Mayall. Perfect. Actually, Ukip could do a very good Young Ones' tribute act. Nige is Rick, Douglas Carswell is Nigel Planer's Neil the hippy and Neil Hamilton is Ade Edmondson's Vyvyan. Any of the other ones could play whatever the other Young One was called because none of us can remember his name.

Hello Uncle Dysfunctional,
We at Conservative Central Office want to let you know, off the record, having consulted lawyers, that if you make any comic or satirical allusions, references or inferences as to David Cameron (hereafter referred to as The Prime Minister) being in any way transvestite, like, a cross-dresser, lady-boy, big girl's blouse, wearing clothes usually commonly considered to belong to the girly sex, including silk gloves, corsets that do up round the back, suspenders and thongs, then we will not hesitate to use the firmest measures the law allows, including having you beaten in front of the whole House with your pants well and truly down so that everybody gets a good look, and no exeats for the rest of term. Got that, thicky?

Dear Rupert,
You see, the problem with Dave Cameron is that people know who he is. The less people know about him, the more he's likely to get re-elected. Frankly, every time you see or hear him, you realise that he is actually the early evening local news presenter from BBC Points West. He got to the top of the Tory tree by being less frightful than everyone else. Do you remember David Davis, who would have been played by Anthony Hopkins if the Conservative Party were a film? Dave needs to keep well away from cameras, microphones or real people. His greatest asset is his mystery. Nobody wants more politics or politicians at this stage in the game, Brian. They want entertainment and a whodunnit. Cameron has been playing Jeeves and Wooster with Osborne for five years and it's not a winner anymore. So, let's go a bit left field. Has he considered dressing up? His core voters love a costume drama, and he needs to get into a character from when Britain was high and mighty, before political correctness and feminism; and beat Farage to the nostalgia vote. A small walk-on part in Downton Abbey would be perfect. Something not too posh, self-made with a bit of cash and an eye for that weird young daughter. But how about something a bit more out there? Stay with me – I'm thinking Poldark. No. No, no. I've got a genius idea. Squeeze your pelvic floors because you will  wee yourselves when you hear this: Game of Thrones. Exactly. Cameron Stark: on the Wall, holding back the White Walkers. The posters will be Ed Miliband looking dead, strapline reads: "Winter is coming: vote Conservative." Back of the net.

Dear Uncle Dysfunctional,
Hi, Ed Miliband here. We met once, years ago. You probably don't, um, anyway. Look, I've got this election thing coming up. I'm sorry – I'm a bit desperate – could you, you know, have an idea that I could score, well, you know, win a bit, a little maybe, something?
Ed, via email

Dear Dave,
Sorry. You caught me at a bad moment – I'm in pre-production. Look, why don't you write again after the election? We'll both have more time. Or try Rod Liddle over the way – he's full of… ideas.