Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Things I Hate (#27364)
Two things that really annoy me. With subheadings.

The attitude of the EU Establishment (in all new Microcosm)
I went to Peter Mandleson's debut "grilling" by MEP's, yesterday. I say "grilling"; it was more an "Isn't the EU, and everything we do, simply marvellous?" session. Non-rabid UKIP leader, Nigel Farage (who, obiter dicta, I think is charismatic, excellent and a real loss to the Conservatives), asked a perfectly reasonable question concerning Mandelson's position as a privy councillor - his gist being that as someone sworn to act in the Monarch's best interests, Mandelson should resign his "Rt Hon" status before swearing an oath of allegiance to the EU. Farage's position was perfectly cogent and arguable, whether you agree with it or not - as was Mandy's reply that he didn't consider the two incompatible: fine - that's his position and he is entitled to it.

What really riled me, however, was the supercilious and arrogant manner in which Mandelson replied. Knowing he had the backing of the room, he slipped happily into the EU establishment attitude that I've seen over and over again - if you don't agree wholly with the EU 'Project', then you are wicked or stupid or misguided or all three, and deserve pity and condescension. It's deeply unpleasant and ugly to see, and sums up the sheer arrogance of those who run the EU.

The Conservative Party Conference
Stop. Trying. To. Be. Trendy. There have been some excellent speeches and contributions; Howard's speech was largely decent, although it descended into soppiness at the finale; Redwood's speech was excellent; even Oliver Leftwing's effort wasn't bile-inducing. By the same measure, however, the matey, chummy, trendy atmosphere they're trying to put across just doesn't work. I can't stand the sub-Kilroy chatshow format they're using in some debates, and all these slick video vignettes in the background, where mid-forties MP's drone on about their favourite book, the last CD they bought, or the last brothel they visited (or something) are just cheesy, and this almost Bridget Jones-y presentation clashes horribly with the octogenarian audience-shots to which the BBC keep cutting. People aren't looking for an all-new, funky, Tory Party: they're looking for a coherent and believable alternative to the horrendous, corrupt, ineffective and arrogant Blair government. The Conservatives need to avoid the Labour all-spin, no-delivery appearance trap. Don't look too slick - although, for the most part, the message is good.

But if Liam Fox really listens to Scissor Sisters, then you can paint my arse red and spank me.

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