Occasionally on this blog I like to comment on the world of politics. Not often and usually with the kind of authority that you might associate with someone who exclusively reads tabloid newspapers. In real life I don’t read tabloid newspapers. I don’t read newspapers at all. I get all my information from the internet. And sometimes the television. But I like to think I’m relatively discerning about the forums I choose to peruse and so I think it would be reasonable to claim that I’m quite well-informed. Certainly, I’m well-informed enough to know that I don’t really know or understand anything. Knowing that you know nothing is, of course, the definition of true wisdom. I believe it was Socrates who said that. But before you go attributing too much intellectual weight to me, you should know that I’m only aware of Socrates, and what he might have said, because I’m a big fan of the 1989 movie ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ rather than because I’ve ever read any ancient Greek philosophy.
Anyway, my understanding that I don’t really understand anything makes me more than qualified to comment on the world of politics. Possibly more qualified than many politicians who regularly fail to understand that they don’t understand anything and often choose to hold quite firm opinions on a myriad of topics that they know nothing about.
It has been quite a tumultuous time in politics of late. The results of a certain US election appear to be beyond all reasonable doubt. This hasn’t stopped the incumbent casting doubt on them, but even the most ardent of Trump supporters would have to acknowledge that the ability to adopt a reasonable position is not one of his strengths. Well possibly not the most ardent of Trump supporters, because they are probably strangers to reason too, but I imagine a lot of Trump supporters are actually relatively reasonable people who appreciate that he did, in fact, lose.
But that is none of my business really. I mean the global influence of the USA is such that I am, of course, interested in who the POTUS is, and I am relieved that it will no longer be Donald, but the departure of Trump does not and will not do very much to alleviate the total car crash that is the current British Government. Although it might positively influence the current trade negotiations between the EU and the recently Brexited Britain, now that we no longer have the prospect of an, always unlikely, Trump trade deal to hide behind. I expect a trade deal with the EU will happen and it will be one that will satisfy neither Brexiteers nor Remainers, but it will allow a lot of people with quite big egos on both sides to claim some sort of victory, while remaining suitably vague on the nature of that victory.
One person who won’t get to enjoy the latest apparent denouement in the never-ending Brexit saga is a certain Dominic Cummings, along with his good friend Lee Cain, who both departed their roles as Boris Johnson’s brain on Friday. One presumes Boris is relatively confident he can continue to operate without a brain and all the evidence thus far is he is correct to feel optimistic about this as he appears to have done tremendously well in his life to date without the burden of too many coherent thoughts. If you’ve never heard of Lee Cain then you wouldn’t be alone. Despite having a name that would be more suited to the world of stand-up comedy than political advice, he was, according to the British media, quite important. But as the emphasis is very much the past tense, given that he has now gone, it doesn’t really seem worthwhile learning anything about him.
Cummings, on the other hand, is quite well known. Partly for being the architect of Brexit but mostly for breaking lockdown rules and then pretending that he hadn’t and that he was just being a good dad while displaying some highly questionable road safety etiquette.
Cummings is a highly divisive figure, and I can’t quite make up my mind what I think of him. Obviously at face value I detest everything about him and what he stands for, but his utter disdain for the British media and his description of Tory MPs as “useful idiots” do make him slightly more endearing.
But there is one thing that I can’t quite get over.
There was a lot of media attention given to his departure over the weekend, which resulted in a kind of ‘highlights reel’ being played endlessly. One clip that was regularly featured was a moment in which he avoided answering a reporter’s questions by referencing the children’s TV show ‘PJ Masks’.
In and of itself, I quite enjoyed the irreverence of his response, which was as follows:
“The night-time is the right time to fight crime. I can’t think of a rhyme.”
However, I subsequently came to realise that he was directly quoting the lyrics to the ‘PJ Masks’ theme tune and, frankly, he got it wrong.
The actual lines from the song are:
“Bedtime is the right time to fight crime. I can’t think of a rhyme.”
‘Bedtime’ and ‘night-time’ are not inherently the same thing as any parent, let alone a ‘responsible parent’ such as Cummings, ought to know.
Cummings is guilty of many morally questionable acts, but misquoting a cartoon theme song is just unforgiveable.
Frankly he is a monster.