Friday, October 9, 2009

Desperately seeking an instant convert

I'm slightly baffled by an article that's just appeared on the Telegraph blogs by Will Heaven (who, appropriately for both his name and subject-matter, is described as 'a writer who specialises in religion'). He seems to have genuinely convinced himself that Ian Hislop underwent some kind of Damascene conversion while on the Question Time panel this evening, and became a Conservative supporter midway through, after realising that his Tory-bashing jokes weren't carrying the audience.

Just two problems with this startling theory. Firstly, the Tory-bashing jokes (to the extent that there were any at all) were actually resonating. "Witness his opening jibe," says Heaven, "that Cameron’s was 'quite a dull speech'. No laughs." Actually, I think you might want to "witness" that again on the BBC iplayer, Mr Heaven, because there was in reality a loud spontaneous laugh.

But the second thing, far more to the point, is that Hislop has clearly been mildly sympathetic towards the Conservatives, and Cameron in particular, for quite some time - for at least a couple of years in fact. His so-called opening 'jibe' was in fact merely a teaser leading into a clearly pre-prepared line which was very supportive of Mr Cameron - the unfunny punchline of which was that 'dull' is exactly what people actually want at present.

So if Mr Heaven's goal is to eventually report on a real-life instant political conversion, I fear he'll have to be patient and look elsewhere - and that doesn't mean towards David Freud or Richard Dannatt either.

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