Thursday, 15 January 2015

Why Al Murray should stay out of politics

Wish I had time today to write about this at length and more subtlety but it appears that Al Murray is going to challenge Nigel Farage for the parliamentary seat of Thanet South in Kent.

The first thing to say is that the problem of politics is not the system. It's the people. As much as I dislike UKIP, I hate to see politics debased by these cheap stunts. If people want to vote for Farage, then they have the right. It's not up to others to 'spoil' the election. It's why I dislike these schemes whereby people try to 'swap' votes. Politics looks like a game but it shouldn't be played as though it's a game where cheating is tolerated.

The second thing is that the title of Murray's party 'FUKP' is pretty risible. Again, the problem of politics is not the system and a General Election is not the place to make cheap vulgar jokes. Culture is already debased so much that we hardly need another 'fuck' placed prominently on our news media. It might make a few schoolboys snigger but it's hardly the best of Al Murray. Nor, incidentally, is a general election the place to to enhance your profile as a comedian.

The third thing is that Al Murray's act has always been problematic. He supposedly has a brilliant mind and razor sharp comedic senses. He claims that he does what he does with a knowing wink. However, it's sometimes hard to see the wink. I know for a fact that many people who enjoy his act, don't understand the act. Sometimes it's easy to become the very thing you mock. Murray plays the bigoted English nationalist so well that he's enjoyed by people who enjoy listening to bigoted English nationalists. Watch a video of a typical Al Murray performance and question why the audience is laughing. It's clever stuff but I'm not totally convinced that there's not a small undercurrent of real nationalism running through it. That's not to say that pride in your country is bad. Patriotism and nationalism are too easily elides in meaning and, as Orwell points out:
Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved.

Damn. Now I'm quoting Orwell and I really wish I had time to write more than this. I have a website to build and a tutorial for my new Windows application to record.

I guess all I wanted to say was that the General Election will is too important to devalue with cheap stunts. David Cameron should attend the debates and Al Murray and every other celebrity should keep out of politics. As for last night's cartoon: I drew it in a rush. I'll try harder tonight.

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