Sunday, January 17, 2010

The inimitable Mr. Cameron

About a billion, zillion years ago - to be more specific it was probably about 1993 - I recall seeing the impressionist Rory Bremner being interviewed on the much-missed (ahem) weekday morning show Good Morning With Anne and Nick. He was lamenting the gradual erosion of his potential 'material', with the vivid political characters we'd been used to, such as bushy-eyebrowed Denis Healey, spluttering Roy Hattersley, and hush puppy wearing Ken Clarke, gradually being supplanted by a new generation of bland, made-for-TV politicians such as - and the examples he offered seem bizarre in retrospect - John Patten and Tony Blair. Those two could hardly have had more contrasting futures ahead of them - I doubt if more than about 2% of the population even remember who John Patten is (excluding those who think he's the former governor of Hong Kong), not withstanding the fact that the late Peter Cook found him so objectionable at the time that he wanted to consign the Tory Cabinet minister to Room 101. But of course Bremner could not have been more wrong about Blair, who was to become a staple of his show for the next decade and a half. Just a year later in 1994, Bremner had not only perfected the voice, but was also expertly capturing the basic rhythms of primordial New Labour-speak - "Tea for two. Of course, of course, tea for two. But, also...two for tea."

Fast forward to the present, though, and David Cameron is proving a very different kettle of fish, in spite of (or perhaps because of) his status as a Blair tribute act. More than four years after he became Tory leader, Bremner's impression of him still sounds more like Peter Mandelson (and strangely even has echoes of Keith Floyd) than Cammo himself. The satire doesn't have a lot of bite either. Jon Culshaw's Cameron is a little better, but still doesn't quite hit the mark, and the whole 'Where Does David Cameron Go At Night?' concept seems more than a touch random. A similar problem exists with a new website called David Cameron Facts, which consists of user-generated spoof 'facts' about the Tory leader. A great idea, but to my dismay none of them really made me laugh. People are shying away from the obvious target - poshness - and the problem is when you take that out of the equation all you're left with is a bland, essentially fictional character created for the media, which doesn't offer much to get your teeth into. Even after twenty minutes of thinking, the best I could come up with as a submission of my own was this -

"David is actually a very ordinary guy, but as part of a secret mission was required to attend Eton, acquire royal ancestry, join the Bullingdon Club at Oxford, and marry a millionairess – because in this country you’re not allowed to become Prime Minister until you’ve learned about how the other half live."

Unfortunately that's about five times as long as most of the other 'facts', so probably won't make it in. So if you think you can do better (shouldn't be difficult and heaven knows somebody needs to) you can submit your own Dave fact here.

No comments:

Post a Comment