Political insight from a comedian: we know we’re in trouble.

ADE 2013: To The Ale

Al Murray’s The Pub Landlord has been holding up a mirror to our society’s prejudices to great effect for some time now, and earlier this year he stood at the General Election in the South Thanet constituency, in direct competition to Nigel Farage the UKIP leader. In case you don’t know, UKIP is full of characters like The Pub Landlord which makes it all the more effective satire: The Pub Landlord clearly has a jaundiced view of the world, so are you really going to vote for a party just like him but doesn’t get the joke?

This week Al Murray appeared on Richard Herrings’ Leicester Square Theatre Podcast and discussed the experience at some length. Listening to the podcast, it was interesting to hear themes covered in some of this blog’s previous posts.

In ”The great stage of fools” I commented on comedians being the only source of political commentary holding our politicians to account. I forgot to mention Al Murray, which was a shame, because he’s gone that step further than his contemporaries and put himself in front of the electorate and gotten insight he would not otherwise have about politicians and our political system.

Apart from exposing Farage and UKIP for the ridiculous bigots and idiots they are, the major insight Al Murray had reflects my post, ”What to do?”, and how terrible the mainstream media are. They were so bad Murray professed an inkling of sympathy for politicians. Yes, that bad.

The point he made about the media was that they weren’t concerned about the policies or the nuanced and reasoned arguments made to arrive at a policy, but were more concerned with catching-out a politician - pestering them with the same question over and over again to say something that didn’t quite align with their party’s policy or that didn’t quite square with something they said previously, just so they could say this or that politician has been caught out, and all through the particular political lens of their employer.

Murray said that he absolutely understood why politicians are so cagey and circumspect to the point of not actually saying anything.

It may be understandable, but it’s not right, and our media are as culpable as our politicians in the failure of our political system.