I am in a somewhat odd position for a political obsessive. I am simultaneously without any desire to be elected to office, admiring of those that are willing to endure that torment, and a loyal Labour supporter.
The latter is the kicker, because the obvious move for someone in my position is to relay the action from the ringside, but my commentary is partial and coloured. I am rather like a boxing commentator who only speaks when one fighter lands a punch, and sometimes goes on a tangent about the need to keep one’s guard up in case a future right jab makes it through an inadequate defence, apparently àpropos of nothing, but perhaps being meaningful (and irritating) if you are that fighter’s cornerman.
However, I do sometimes get asked if I want to run for things, because A) I used to want to, and not that long ago. B) It’s what everyone interested in politics is assumed to want to do.
What’s more, sometimes I forget how much I hate the poor politicians life. I forget that I like having weekends, for example, or drinking champagne in public, or not having to watch every damn thing I say to anyone. Usually this is rectified by meeting an MP, and sneaking a look at their diary. It’s a handy corrective to personal ambition.
Yet the temptation lurks. I think I have it under control, but one never quite knows. I would like to rule it out forever because other people could do it just as well and I know it would make me very unhappy. In this mistrustful, sceptical age, even such a categorical ‘Sherman Statement‘ is likely to be questioned, however. We have learned that a total disavowal of personal ambition can itself be a clever political move
So the only way to really rule out a political career is to make a Modern Sherman Statement. That is, to express a view that is so outrageous, so contrary to the public will, good taste or common sense, that you are disqualified from elective office forever.
This is harder than you might think, not simply because Nick Griffin exists, but because most outrageously provocative or controversial statements would make you a truly horrible human being (or expose your interior life in an unacceptably personal way), and that seems too high a price to pay for merely limiting a public career. While I’m happy to rule out ever being elected to anything, I don’t want to be a social pariah.
I’ve come up with a few options though, which I hope will be enough to stop me ever having an elected political career without preventing me being around politics and scratching my chin while telling other people they’re doing it all wrong.
All other suggestions gratefully accepted.
Modern Sherman Statements
1. Both Harry Potter and Game of Thrones are terrible, and anyone who likes either has incredibly poor taste.
2. Stephen Fry often seems a bit of a pompous annoying pillock, and not even that clever.
3. Innovative contemporary dance is better than football.
4. I have strong opinions on Cava versus Prosecco, and I share them at length given the opportunity.
5. I have paid £25 for a Cocktail, and regarded it as a wise decision.
6. I’d usually choose a nice lie in to holding a constituency advice surgery. Almost always, in fact. Oh, who am I kidding? Always.
7. If my job had paid my mortgage interest payments, I’d definitely have used it to enrich myself considerably.
8. If nominated, I will peremptorily denigrate all local schools and charities I visit. If unanimously elected, I shall describe local shops and businesses as being rubbish, and declare I prefer big chains for most purchases.