challenging them that they had become MP's of television - not of democracy".....about 11.45pm last night when Dr David Starkey was asked to give a historical view of where we are with UK politics today on This Week with Andrew Neil, Diane Abbott & Michael Portillo.
I am normally comatose at that time of night - but as it comes straight after QT was still vaguely conscious - but Starkey's brilliant insight into the murky world of current politics - filmed at The Globe was one of the most prescient, illuminated and incisive pieces of analysis I think I have ever heard.He conveys so much so richly - he said of Blair that he was our first elected monarch - and was less than charitable about Cherie - and how diminished and debased our democratic system had become. Later, in a sharp and intellectual exchange with Abbot and Portillo he was scathing of what had become of so many politicians - challenging them that they had become MP's of television - not of democracy - and the hypocrisy of Abbot sending her son to private school - what an abject failure of her as a politician and of principles.
When asked by Portillo why he didn't stand for Parliament if he feels so strongly about what has happened - he said what the was the point - it no longer served any purpose and anyway he could have far greater impact and with principle through his writings and TV programmes.
It was incredible - so much insight and intelligence - and so well informed - referencing it to periods of history. When challenged by Abbot that what he really wanted was to go back to the Tudor monarchs. He said absolutely not - he couldn't stand the Tudor monarchs - what he really would like is the Anglo - Saxon model which allowed for real local decisions and accountability - and ensuring the voice of the people was heard.
Abbott and Portillo looked like balloons who had been pricked - really he was saying 'why are you sitting here, spouting a load of hot air - and getting personal payment for it - when, if you're an elected politician you should be getting on with the job of making parliament and democracy work?'
Faced with such incontrovertible honesty they were completely floored. Went to bed completely invigorated - it was such a gale of fresh air blasting into the stale and tawdry state of politics today.
Starkey's brief was to comment on Blair's Big Idea - the wide ranging guff he has been coming out with all week on pensions, social order, etc - in an attempt to distract from Iraq.
The Globe was used as a metaphor for the stage of public life - and how Blair is more of an actor than a politician of integrity. Starkey said "Blair has about as much chance of having a big idea as he is of finding weapons of mass destruction" He then went on to list all the flaws of presenting 'ideas' without Blair having the faintest clue of what they actually mean, let alone, with any detail of turning into actions - it was nothing more than an act, an illusion - the Blair state and the state of Blair - where the role of Backbenchers is nothing more than to be there.
He also said that as Labour had now taken on the Tory values and occupied the middle ground that there was no future for the Tories - their days are over - just as the Whigs disappeared with the birth of the Labour movement.
Political parties are as much a product of their times - as of their ideologies - cometh the need - cometh the party. Just as the need for a 'Welfare State' now is a completely different situation than when it was conceived.
His delivery was precise, concise and sharpened with wit.