Thursday, October 27, 2005

Hangover from power- A review of David Blunkett, A Very Social Secretary

This is a country where the Prime Minister gets re-elected in spite of lying to go to war, while a member of his Cabinet loses his job because of an affair.

Those in a position of power like to suggest that we live in a democracy where there’s freedom to voice opinions. It is part of the unwritten rules of human interaction. And yet you think for a minute and the word “bollocks” spring to mind.

Most of the British population remain against the Iraq war in some form or other. Nevertheless, neither the press nor the balance of power at Westminster are reflective of the country’s views, given that two parties out of three (and three-quarters of MPs) voted pro-war. The same applies to tuition fees or privatisations. A study found that 60% of the UK population would favour renationalising British Rail (which, incidentally, given the hideous subsidies that private rail operators have been enjoying, would save the tax payer £80 million ). Yet, aside from a handful of maverick MPs, to expect a parliamentary majority to favour anything like it is wishful thinking.

There is an immense list of issues where British citizens aren't represented. Even when the high-ranks of the BBC are in attrition with this control freak of a Prime Minister they end up losing their job (i.e. Greg Dyke over the Andrew Gilligan scandal). The result is a media class that prefers focusing on trivialities.

It is in this frame of mind that many may have approached the film David Blunkett, A Very Social Secretary, one of the jewels in the crown of More4 manic promotional campaign. At last a chance – you’d think- to watch one of the most arrogant and powerful politicians being lambasted on TV. At the very least you’d expect Blunkett’s lawyers to be up in arms, given how focused the comedy is on his life’s most cringeworthy aspects.

The former Home Secretary’s very own personality, love-life and social skills are thorn to pieces in front of a potentially huge audience. Ridicule is there aplenty, along with the depiction of the hypocrisy and brutality of Downing Street’s media machine. And yes, as you watch A Very Social Secretary you almost feel a hint of guilt for holding the view that you live in a country where democracy and transparency are viewed with contempt.

And yet…And yet…you may want to reconsider. How much Blunkett is just a pawn within no.10’s obsession for manipulation is evident as the film goes on: there he is, the blind, common man, used and championed for his bit-of-rough qualities when he’s needed yet ruthlessly ditched as soon as his sexual antics threaten to corrupt Tony Blair’s self-righteous bliss. There's no doubt left about who's the easy target and who's the one that really matters.

So perhaps when critics suggest that if David Blunkett is to be attacked it should be so for policy reasons -and not about how amusing the idea of a blind person having sex is- they’re a little ingenuous. In a country where the Prime Minister gets re-elected in spite of waging war based on a pack of lies while a member of his Cabinet loses his job because of an affair, I’m afraid A Very Social Secretary is as far as the slate will be allowed to stretch. Let’s cherish the rare opportunity...


Linda Johnson said...

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Judith said...

His eye-rolling was class though.

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