SHEDNOTES 101: Billi on Mili and the rise of the pseudo-event

Bill Bailey had a good line about Ed Miliband …
“Like a plastic bag stuck in a tree. No-one knows how he got up there and no-one can be bothered to get him down.”

The Shed has also enjoyed Marina Hyde’s cold eye on all sides in the election in the Guardian, on her way to her conclusion that the defining theme of 2015 politics is the replacement of actually meeting people by the strategy of using them as background props for press releases …

She said: “Back in the 1960s, the writer Daniel Boorstin defined a pseudo-event as one that would not happen if the cameras were not there. It’s almost as if he could foresee the day when journalists would travel to Somerset to watch George Osborne smile at a vacuum cleaner.
So far, this has been an election staged in out-of-town business parks, cleared factory floors, deserted building sites, and town halls filled with pre-screened party supporters. The list of venues to which the party leaders are bussed or flown satirises itself: a heavily-guarded empty barn, a facility that makes virtual reality suites, a rural hedgehog farm. On Wednesday, the Lib Dems retreated to a woodland adventure centre, prompting a return to that old thought experiment: if Nick Clegg says something political in a forest, does he make a sound?”

She was funny, a few days earlier, 10.4.14,, on David Cameron in just such a scenario …
To Sherwood, Nottingham –where the prime minister was patronising some National Grid apprentices. Hard to pick a highlight, but there was much to enjoy in the bit where he painstakingly explained the minimum wage to people who were probably a shade more across its realities than he was. Still, he was an apprentice once: maybe you’ll recall his little face in the background when Norman Lamont was explaining why the ERM had just handed Britain its arse.
The event itself is one of those regular-ish gigs that Cameron styles as “PM Direct”, which … involves Cameron standing in the middle of tightly circled rows of chairs, and answering questions.
Mainly, though, he wanted to say things they weren’t really asking about. “What’s this election about?” he asked himself. “I’ll tell you in one word: security.” Or as defence secretary Michael Fallon had put it in that morning’s Times: “What’s this election about? I’ll tell you in one word: security.”
Which all eventually served as a sort of terrible local radio link for getting onto the Tories’ card of the day: Trident. It may look OK on the TV, but in person it always feels so weird – this business of politicians coming somewhere and having lines they just have to get out there for the cameras, no matter who the flesh-and-blood audience is. There’s always some class of nine-year-olds sitting quietly as a minister announces a ramping up of Iranian sanctions, or a crowd of National Grid apprentices probably wondering why Cameron is twatting on and on about Trident.

Read the whole thing at

thatsenoughpoliticsfornow ….

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3 Responses to SHEDNOTES 101: Billi on Mili and the rise of the pseudo-event

  1. Yeah. You have to admire them; politicians, that is.

  2. Is anyone watching this site, Chris, apart from you?

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