Age-related ailments and irritations (and a bit about Margaret Hodge too)…

OH, the aches of age. My intermittent twinges include my left elbow and my right foot. Oh, and that nasty rash I get whenever Saturday Live comes on BBC Radio 4.

I used to love that programme, especially under John Peel’s tenure all those years ago. But now it’s become a self-congratulatory racket. The Reverend Richard Cole (no relation) is all right up to a point, but that point was about two years ago. Now he’s everywhere, although presumably not much in the pulpit. Still, at least he isn’t Shaun Keaveny, who sometimes acts as a stand-in: he irritates me about as much as Aasmah Mir, who often brings her cackle into the studio with the media rev.

And, as they stay, don’t get me started on all those assorted millennial-slop columns and features in the newspapers. Their twittered silliness does make me feel old.

One thing about getting on a bit is that you are meant to become more right-wing in your politics. An article in Psychology Today from 2014 offered the following explanation: “A review of 92 scientific studies shows that intellectual curiosity tends to decline in old age, and that this decline explains age-related increases in conservatism.”

I won’t add “age-related conservatism” to my list of minor aches. My politics haven’t changed that much. Started out left-wing and stuck that way – that’s my stab at a personal manifesto.

I guess the political landscape has moved around me, reshaped by the shudder of events. Those dipped more deeply in the left-wing pool probably see me as a right-wing Blairite or some other Twitter-bandied insult.

Well, sticks and stones and tweets, and all that. Watching everything unfold, sometimes I feel like a red-eyed observer on the shuttle bus to oblivion.

Looking out of the windows, you see Labour busy in-fighting over whether it’s an antisemitic party or not, and whose fault that might be. And all the while a terrible government of warring Tories squabbles and slides towards the cliff-edge chaos of Brexit – unopposed by Labour, which is too busy arguing with itself.

To taste the bitter flow of modern Labour politics you only have run your eye over Twitter. At the time of writing/bashing out, tweets were addressing the news that Labour had dropped its investigation into MP Dame Margaret Hodge over a confrontation she had with Jeremy Corbyn after allegedly shouting at him over antisemitism.

Here are some typical charmers…

“Has Margaret Hodge called Boris Johnson a fucking racist yet? Or is she too busy posting passive/aggressive smug crap?”

“When you have got Tory sympathisers like Tom Watson, John Mann and Margaret Hodge and other MPs who curse the ground on which JC walks makes a mockery of the electorate who overwhelmingly voted for JC to be their leader. My advice ‘Vote wisely in the next GE’ Blairites must go!!!”

“Keep the faith Corbyn supporters. Had the vile @margarethodge been sacked, she’d have been seen as a martyr and got even more publicity. It’s hard, but let’s focus on the end game.”

And Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, received bucketloads of abuse for saying that his party risked disappearing “into a vortex of eternal shame and embarrassment” in this deepening row over antisemitism.

Here is just one charmer…

“Fuck me, @tom_watson and a handful of his chums have spent every day since Jeremy Corbyn’s election trying to get him to resign, but as soon as ordinary people suggest #ResignWatson, he’s “being bullied”. Grow up and #ResignTomWatson

It’s all enough to make you want to find something annoying on the radio to listen to. Is it time for Woman’s Hour yet?

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