Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Rowing boats

There were three men in a boat; Cameron, Clegg and Miliband. No, that’s wrong... and anyway it was the other Miliband and also, it was a crap metaphor. It’s a sign of how bad Labour is on this issue that I found myself comparing the two over their use of metaphors. The leader of the opposition stuck by the “seat at the table”, tried and tested many times before and endorsed by Peter Mandelson today. This is a “unless you agree, they’ll stop listening to you” argument that I find difficult to stomach; whatever happened to the understanding that disagreement is the sign of a healthy democratic discourse?

David Miliband’s riff - the UK had jumped into a rowing boat next to a 25 nation supertanker - has originality to commend it, in that it’s more original than his brother’s effort, but is weighed down by all those unfortunate connotations we have with supertankers; big slow cumbersome vessels that take an age to slow down and stop, even when going in the wrong direction - and their unfortunate reputation for running aground. This is the man seen by many as a better option, but whose party chose his brother to lead instead; thus proving they do have a sense of humour. Labour’s position on the EU veto - if it’s possible to discern one - appears to be that they wouldn’t have needed to answer “No”, because had they been in charge the question would have been different. I like it when it's deadpan.

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