Clare: Did you see the debate on telly last night?
Martin: No, but I did see the Paxman interviews last week, and what a bloody horrible thing it was as well.
C: Hmm. An unedifying spectacle, indeed – enough to drive you to drink. Cheers.
M: Cheers. I know, the papers are all full of the “who won” punditry rubbish, as if that matters.
C: Well, it probably will have an impact on the way some people vote.
M: OK, but if likeability is a big factor, neither of those two will get a single vote.
C: Yep. Unfortunately – and call me superficial, if you must – I just can’t bring myself to vote for a man who was shouted down by Myleene Klass, and just sat there and took it. I mean, Myleene Klass for fuck sakes. Littlewoods saleswoman and former popstar Myleene Klass! I could vote for someone who barely looks or sounds human, but I just cannot vote for a person that allows himself to be trounced in such a manner by such a person.
M: That’s fair. You’re always fair, it’s your biggest weakness.
C: Oh, do shut up.
M: Did you see, after that, Milliband tweeted something about Labour’s tax policy being “pure and simple” – talk about a mis-calculated gag! He gets ripped apart by a Daily Mail B-lister and tries to make a joke about it. Read your audience, man.
C: Well, you’d know all about inappropriate jokes.
M: Touche. I just can’t believe Cameron was so scared of debating with him. What an insignificant, dough-faced nonentity. Klass would tear him to fucking pieces, if he weren’t her spiritual king.
C: Now, that would make good TV. The thing is, we’re middle-class, we’re over-represented in parliament –
M: And on TV, in music, comedy, films –
C: – Exactly. And ever since Labour decided to respond to Thatcherism – ten bloody years too late – by lurching right, working class people have had little or no representation in Westminster.
M: Well, I don’t know if it’s quite that simple…
C: Pure and simple: I can vote for several parties who are courting me: they’re offering tax breaks, pension policies, stuff like that – people on minimum wage are being offered nothing but casual contempt. The whole campaign is aimed at middle-income people in marginal constituencies.
M: And that’s us, the Chosen Few – we are the statistically-insignificant proportion of the population who matter. The ones whose votes actually count. We’re King-makers, top of the world – so why don’t we embrace it, take the chance to use this influence….?
C: You’re trying to play Devil’s Advocate.
M: I mean, what’s the point of being educated, liberal, middle-class intelligentsia if we can’t pretend to care about poor people?
C: Fuck off. Do you take anything seriously?
M: Then it’s settled: we’ll all vote SWP
C: That’s not even funny.
M: The point is, Labour are back to their “we’re not as bad as the other lot” strategy and the Lib Dems can’t answer a single question honestly because they know that at best they’ll be a junior in a coalition again, so they’ll have to pick one policy not too offensive to their bosses and push that through… that’s the trouble with being middle class…anyone who truly cares for you will leave for someone who needs them more.
C: What’s that from?
M: I think it’s The Simpsons
C: Great. Also, in government, Labour’s foreign policy relied heavily on mass murder. You know, they want to distance themselves from Blair for the entirely understandable reason that he’s seen as an electoral liability, that he’s seen as a money-making machine and a smarmy wanker. But I’d stay away from him because he’s a mass murderer.
M: Right, that’s again very fair…like Bill Hicks said about George Bush The First: “it’s not that I disagree with his foreign policy, or his economic policy, it’s that I believe he’s the son of Satan, sent here to destroy the planet earth.”
C: Yeah. That’s not really a joke, though, is it?
M: I suppose not. I don’t think Hicks really did jokes, with the political stuff, but it was challenging to an American audience, they just weren’t used to being told the President was a war criminal, and supporting genocide…
C: Yes, I expect they saw it a little bit differently in Buttfuck, Idaho.
M: Indeed. Anyway, Blair’s not standing, and how would bombings and gunboat diplomacy be different from any other candidates for prime minister?
C: Maybe it wouldn’t, but I’d rather vote for someone I’m not sure about than someone who I think – actually, know – is a war criminal.
M: Better the devil you don’t know. So, we’re resolved: we’ll both vote UKIP.
C: Ha ha, Mr Comedian. Obviously, no self-respecting creative professional would vote UKIP! I’d rather people thought I was an arms dealer than bloody UKIP.
M: Or a 1970s TV presenter….
C: Exactly. At the same time, I don’t think I can possibly vote Labour, because of their total abandonment of their founding principles – AND all the wars.
M: Good, then we’re resolved: we’ll both vote Communist.
C: As if.
M: So we’re resolved: we’ll all vote for no one, and see what happens…
C: In a way, you’re right, the whole thing’s a bloody joke. My son could vote for the first time but he’s been reading all this Situationist stuff and he’s talking about how the election is just spectacle. I’m trying to encourage him to vote, but it’s really difficult – how can I when I basically agree with him?
M: Well, you could say that the process is a joke but the result matters. All those people who say it doesn’t matter who gets in should consider that the poorest people are much worse off under this government than the last, and if you don’t care about that then you might as well vote Tory or UKIP or something….are you sure he hasn’t just been watching those Russell Brand videos on youtube?
C: He probably has.
M: Did you hear what Stewart Lee said about the Paxman-Brand interview?
C: It always comes back to comedians for you, doesn’t it?
C: Must be a bit of a busman’s holiday for you to make jokes about politics in a pub!
M: Yeah, yeah, do what you love, love what you do.
M: Anyway, he said it was like watching a monkey throw its shit at a foghorn.
C: It’s a good line, but it doesn’t say much, does it? Typical of him, really, it’s clever, but it doesn’t mean much. It’s like the opposite of an Oscar Wilde aphorism.
M: Well, now who’s being clever.
C: Well, you’re trying….
M: Ha ha, OK. We’re both trying.
M: What about The Greens?
C: I’d vote Green if I thought they might get in. Most people I know will vote Labour to keep the Tories out, but without any real enthusiasm for Labour, just the conviction that the Tories need to be kept out.
M: But you won’t vote Labour, surely, given what you’ve just said…?!
C: Well…I really don’t want to, but…if I vote Green and the Tories get in I’ll look pretty stupid.
M: So, like everyone else, you’ll vote against what you don’t want –
C: – in the absence of candidates or policies I actually would want? Yes.
M: But you’d consider Greens, so you must support them somehow?
C: Yes, but they can’t actually win, can they?
M: Well, not with that attitude!
C: Bloody Hell!
M: I’m serious, if no one votes for them because they don’t think they can win, then they definitely won’t win, will they? And we’ll be stuck with the same rubbish we’ve got now.
C: Hmm. The whole election campaign is pretty depressing really. And it’s only just started properly.
M: Yeah, it’s enough to drive you to drink. So we’re resolved: we’ll vote for Al Murray. Same again?