Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mr Brightside's Opus

I'll admit that I've had some trouble picking the winner of the 2010 Scunner Broom Award for Stupidest Political Quote of the Year (the fact I'm only awarding it in 2011 has more to do with law school exams than anything else, mind you!) Not that there weren't copious gallons of air expelled or ink spilled in the cause of saying stupid things for the sake of politics; on the contrary, in the first General Election year with Twitter availability the sheer weight of idiocy hit record levels.

What was missing, however, was the magical mix of ingredients that goes to make a Scunner winner; the ostensible reasonableness, the fundamental absence of truth when subjected to scrutiny, the breathtaking gumption needed to stray so far from the facts...

In the end, I fear I've cheated slightly, in that my winner isn't so much the stupidest quote of last year as it will be the stupidest and most repeated of this year. Ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding for David Blunkett MP on BBC News in November;

"If there was something desperately wrong with our present system and if there was an alternative that provided all the answers that people want then by all means let's consider a change but we are not. We are talking about a system that does work being replaced by an unknown system that could distort completely the votes of those who have the temerity to actually vote from one of the two major parties."

The system works.

So much of the No campaign in the AV referendum will boil down to those three words and the idea that after a thousand years of history, everything's fine, nothing to see here guv, move along please. It's the old joke; if it isn't baroque, don't fix it. My response to that?

Baroque? It's ******* rococo!

I won't rehearse all the myriad reasons why first past the post doesn't work at all; the Yes campaign themselves do that far better than I can. What makes Blunkett's comment award-winning is the sheer hubris it takes to actually flat-out say that it might affect the two major parties, as if the two major parties have droit de seigneur over the voters and that majorness is somehow a natural state and not the corrosive result of a system designed more for the 12th Century than the 21st.

So David, for hubris above and beyond even your impressive resume, the Scunner Broon Award is yours.

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