Wednesday, 29 April 2009

"Negative Campaigning" - An American Import we need to chuck back in the pond

One Day Gerry Gable will say you will find a youthful JohnofGwent alongside Dai, John and Phil from UHW Medical School in this crowd. A tenner to the man or woman who can spot the JoG.

by johnofgwent

I have a confession to make.
At the age of 20 and a half I took an 18 year old woman to a student "vicars, tarts and flashers" party. There I danced provocatively with three male medical students each of whom would not look out of place on the set of St Trinians. Their fishnet tights and blonde pigtail hairstyles (wigs from the stage school for two of them, his own golden locks plaited in the case of the third) gave a particularly convincing finishing touch.

I drank copiously in the company of a work colleague whose appearance convinced all he had spent weeks living rough drinking meths and cider. His subsequent stage performance stripping to his boxer shorts to reveal a codpiece built around a stolen orange flashing road cone light brought the audience to tears.

Meanwhile the "Reverend JoG" spent the evening showing his flock the evils of wine and fornication and delivered a sermon on "hellfire and retribution" with demonstrations of puinishment meted out with the riding crop he had cunningly concealed in the jodphurs he'd worn under his cassock all evening. Many applauded as he proceeded to spank all and sundry to the accopmpaniment of the popping of camera flashbulbs.
OK so by now those who rolled on the floor laughing as you visualise the scene I describe above which really did happen in Cardiff University in 1977 are probably asking what on earth I am on about in this post and why.

It is simple really. Negative Campaigning is alive and kicking and needs to be kicked into touch. There was a day and not so long ago when American Presidential Elections were fought by two people slugging it out with each other over their failings, their dodgy finances, their dubious sexual conquests and their indulgence as teenagers in sex, dtrugs and rock and roll while British Politicians of all colours both political and skintone who were faced with such matters on camera would instantly wipe the floor with their interlocutor for having the audacity to drag the personal life and foibles of oneself and one's political opponents into the media. Such things were just "not done" in British Politics the chastened paxman wannabe would be told on air.

And they would have a point. For as the late Clement Freud said to camera a few years ago speaking of the time when he was Member for The Isle Of Ely "in those days it was customary to PAY your secretary and SLEEP WITH your wife". And while there may have been some (or many) who had other ideas, no-one in their right mind would think of using it as a weapon to smear their fitness for political office.

Yet this week despite Gordon Brown's denials and his distancing himself from his former "closest and most trusted aide" I have seen attacks against George Osborne who apparently aged 22 was photographed at a party in the company of a (fairly stunning, actually) woman of ill repute sixteen years his senior. I have seen another aimed at David Cameron who is said to be shown in a youtube vid "raving the night away at an acid house party". In truth that vid from nearly two decaded past is of such poor quality it might well be David Cameron but equally it might be David Icke. What I think I can say with certainly is that a fellow partygoer is probably buying a new car this morning with the blood money handed to them by some hack for the provision of that ancient footage.

And that brings me back to my opening confession. One of these days I might just decide to stand up and give our political overlords a bloody nose at the ballot box - or have a damn good go. And if I did, you can be sure someone's dirty little helpers would be out there digging up whatever they could. And who knows who might hand over a grainy, underexposed photograph of a grainy, but highly overexposed (!!) JoG wielding a riding whip in suggestive circumstances.

Why would they do this ? Because their policies are as bankrupt and empty of substance as their party bank accounts. They have nothing to offer in the way of positive policy and resort instead to trying to knock lumps out of the other guy. "Vote Labour" says Rhodri Morgan at the Party Spring Conference, "not for what we will do - which you will hate - but for what the opposition will do as they are crap". A sentiment echoed by his stand in and Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy. And meanwhile I see Trish Law is "taken to task" - by some Labour Upstart Nerd half her age who looks like he hasn't found the need to buy a razor yet - for "not bothering to stand up in the hot air politician pit in Cardiff Bay", when in fact she spends most of her time in her constituency listening to and dealing with issues raised by her constituents . Pardon me Mister Labour Nerd Soon To be Expelled From Office but isn't it your job to deal with your constituents and how much of that have you done ?

Coming back to party festivities, in reality the fact that I managed to borrow the riding gear I mentioned from my previous girlfriend and wear it in the presence of my current one AND use it to spank her and three blokes yet still persuaded her to marry me a year or so later should demonstrate beyond doubt that I have the skills necessary to stand for high political office in this country (!), although what may possibly count against me is the fact I'm stilll married to her twenty eight years later and haven't gone near another woman since (and if you'd seen what she looked like then, you'd know why). But I believe in getting my confessions in first.

Feel free to take the credit for the scoop, GA (!!!)