These are dark times, for some. The politicians in particular
have suffered. A week last Tuesday, the PM, his chancellor and the leaders of
the opposition, that is of all the other political parties, were hung in
Trafalgar Square. The crowd was big, bigger than at New Year. People hanging
off the pillars of the National Gallery; on the roofs of the surrounding
buildings; standing, climbing on to anything they could to get a decent look.
According to the press, they were the first public executions in well over a
century and judging by the crowds, they are right back in fashion.
And to think that that two years ago, this country was an
example to the world of a stable democracy that worked in both theory and
practice. Now, we have no political parties; we have a very narrow political
system; we live, to all intents and purposes, in a police state; and we are a
country that stands isolated on the world stage. But what we do have is rule of
the people by the people through that ever present friend of the people, TV.
As I say, it was about two years ago it began with our PM
looking for an electoral gimmick to arrest the slide in his popularity. Ever
the populist he decided install a Peoples Politician as
deputy PM as a representative in the House of Commons for the people. The irony
that the politicians were supposed to be doing that anyway seems to have passed
Anyway, he and his coterie decided that the best way to appoint
this representative of the people would be to allow the people to appoint him
or her and in turn, the best way to do that would be to make a reality TV show
out of it. They referred to it as the democratisation of democracy.
And so every Saturday evening there was a show in which various
ordinary people would go through a series of tests and challenges
to prove they truly were the Peoples Politician. As in any other reality
TV show people were eliminated as the show progressed until we got to
the final and that years winner was anointed. The show broke all viewing
figures, regularly pulling in over 40 million viewers a night.
The first to win was a school dinner lady called Marjory. She
served her year term and was popular but ultimately ineffectual the
politicians patronised her but would not let her do anything or, as one of the
politicians was caught saying in a tabloid sting, allow her the room to
cause any damage.
The second promised more hope. Ben - he was an accountant but he
left after only eight months baffled at the way Government kept its accounts.
The third was a former England footballer called Paul. He was voted in on a
wave of jingoistic fervour but everyone agreed that his year long stint was a
disaster. In fact some commentators even suggested that he had placed the whole
project in jeopardy.
And then He came. On his first appearance he told the judges and
the nation his name was Seth, had worked in media, was single and dedicated to
his country. He was handsome, articulate and as the series progressed and he
passed through the relevant stages, he showed himself to be caring, funny
thoughtful and determined. He was like us he had the same fears, hopes
and insecurities and when he spoke, you could just feel that it came from the
heart. He won the fourth season of the Peoples Politician easily. He won
95% of the public vote.
On his first day in office as the deputy PM, he got straight to
work and in doing so, caught the politicians by surprise. He insisted that in
order for the Peoples Politician to execute his duties to the greatest
effect, he would need three years rather than the one that he had been elected
to. Long story short, the motion was put to the vote and the house agreed that
the deputy PMs role should be a three year position. However, rather than
accept this, Seth surprised the House again by insisting that he could not
accept the Houses vote and that the issue must go the public.
The following Saturday, a special edition of the Peoples
Politician was hastily arranged and the issue of the length of term was put to
the public vote. Seth, still riding a wave of popularity, got 97% approval for
He always had a knack for judging the public mood perfectly
he was a populist and unashamedly so. Many of his proposals
increased funding for the health service and police, greater accountability for
politicians, stricter control over sex offenders and immigration - were all
enthusiastically embraced by the public. Although all were put to the vote in
Parliament, Seth insisted on a separate vote on the weekly Peoples
Politician show before he would accept any changes.
The more opportunist politicians began to draw themselves closer
to Seth and align their policies with his populist ones. They were wise enough
to see that it was Seth who really had the backing of the people.
Although his power and influence in Parliament increased as the
months and years went by, Seth was always humble when addressing the people. He
understood them and understood how to talk to them. After all, as he constantly
reminded us, he was one of them. He wasnt one of the politicians, those
who purported to represent the interests of the people yet were entirely self
serving. He told us what we already knew that he alone in Parliament was
on the side of the people. The rest were taking us for a ride. He was our man
on the inside.
It was just over two years into his three-year term that Seth
made his first really daring move. He waited until the PM was particularly weak
politically and confronted him at PMs Questions. He demanded to know why
politicians were in charge of the police and not the police themselves. As the
police were in charge of the people and made up of the people, then they should
be run by the people.
Seth suggested that policing should be administered by a board
of the countrys most senior police officers with little or, preferably,
no input from the politicians. If there had to be some political representative
on that board, Seth reasoned with the House, then he as the Peoples
Politician, would reluctantly agree to take that role.
Not surprisingly, when it went to the vote, the House voted with
a majority to reject Seths motion. However, true to form, Seth did not
accept this vote and took it to the Saturday night vote he took it to
the people. Predictably, Seth won the vote by a significant majority. Armed
with this popular approval for his plan, Seth challenged Parliament to resist
and discard the will of the people. The people have spoken and once again
you refuse to listen to them, he said in an epic and historic three hour
speech to the House.
He wore the politicians down: he backed them into a corner. They
couldnt say what they wanted to. Namely that they werent listening
to the will of the people, that the people werent competent enough to
know what they were voting for. But at the same time they knew that passing
legislation and transferring political power could not be conducted through a
reality TV programme. Such was the moral weakness of the politicians in the
eyes of the people, they didnt dare to contradict them and their
representative, the increasingly powerful Seth. They had to accept the
And so it came to pass that the police ran themselves with Seth
as the only political presence on their governing board. Seths stock with
the police couldnt have been any higher: he had finally freed them from
the shackles of opportunistic politicians who were more concerned with
headlines and straw polls than they were about the daily vagaries of policing
and making the streets safer. Gradually, but unmistakably, Seth exerted his
influence over the police eventually, he became the de facto head of
policing in the UK.
Seth lavished money and resources on the police. If they wanted
the latest body armour, he saw to is that Parliament provided it. If they
wanted 10,000 more policemen and women on the streets, he saw to it that
Parliament gave them the means to achieve that. If they needed new laws to get
the most dangerous criminals off the streets, Seth saw to it that they were
passed. And how did he achieve this? He took every proposal to the Saturday
night vote of course.
The politicians had become terrified of defying the people
they were in thrall to the power of their weekly vote. How could they
maintain the pretence that they represented the people and yet go against what
the nation had voted for? They increasingly found themselves enslaved to the
will of the people in the physical form of Seth.
Once he had consolidated his power over the police, Seth pulled
the same trick with the armed forces. Why should the politicians dictate
whether or not our soldiers, sailors and pilots, the people, go off to foreign
lands to fight? They, who are comfortably secure and distanced from any danger,
are arbitrarily deciding whether our men and women should sacrifice their lives
or not, said Seth on the Peoples Politician show. How many of
you have sons or daughters fighting in your dirty little war in the oil fields
of Turkmenistan? he demanded to know? The resultant silence in the House
sealed the fate of the debate. The politicians were defenceless. From this
point on he didnt even bother calling a vote in the House anymore. He
routinely went straight to the people. The power of the House had been
irrevocably broken the mirage had been shattered.
Predictably, the people saw reason in his argument. For too
long, for too many centuries, politicians and kings had played with the lives
of the people for their own selfish gains. Now the army would decide, in the
same way as the police, the fate of its ranks and how to operate itself. Again,
Seth positioned himself at their head. The army and the people not only
acquiesced to this, they positively embraced it. If he could achieve the same
with the army as he had with the police (crime rates were at an all time low by
now) then there was no reason Seth shouldnt be in control of the army.
And it was then that he changed. With this power and security,
gone was the pretence of respect for the politicians. He became openly hostile
to them, constantly questioning their authority and purpose. He argued that now
the people were in charge, the politicians no longer had a use. They
werent required to form laws, call for votes, or represent the people.
The people were doing this all by themselves now. The age of the politicians
had passed, the people had matured.
Some say it was engineered, others say it was always going to
come out but what finally broke the politicians was what became known as the
expenses scandal. They had been fleecing the people for years by exaggerating
their expenses to the tune of thousands and thousands of pounds. Seth leapt on
the opportunity and turned on his best rabble rousing rhetoric to whip the
people into a frenzy.
He invited the PM, his chancellor and the opposition leaders on
to the latest edition of the Peoples Politician under the pretence of
giving them the opportunity to explain to the people just what had been going
on with the expenses. But come the night, when all seven of them were on stage
ready to defend themselves, Seth strode on to a standing ovation from the
audience and announced that the politicians were to stand trial on charges of
He immediately put that proposal to the vote and the people
obliged 96% believed the leaders of the politicians should be tried for
treason. Next up for the vote was the punishment. The people had a choice:
imprisonment, exile or execution. The people came back overwhelmingly in favour
of execution. A couple of the politicians began to sob and one even made a
break for it but the police standing in the wings quickly brought him back to
his seat, ready for his public trial.
The trial was both swift and perfunctory. The verdict on each
individual went to the public vote and each one came back guilty. Cue more
sobbing, some pleading and some urinating from the politicians. The
people have spoken Seth declared to the rapturous studio audience and a
wholly empowered electorate.
Which, in a roundabout way, brings us back to our present
situation. All the traitors were hanged a week last Tuesday and the people
loved it. The rest of the politicians are hunted daily by death squads
every now and then a couple are caught and brought before the public vote but
the majority have managed to slip back into society. However, Seth assures us
they will be caught and we trust him. To this end, he has declared a state of
emergency until all are captured, there is a nationwide 10pm curfew and all
travel in and out of the country is on hold until we catch them all.
It might sound draconian but this is no brutal dictatorship, nor
is it mob rule. This is the will of the people made manifest every Saturday
night on our TVs. Its not pretty, in fact it is downright ugly, but it is
clearly and unambiguously us.