There was a time when politicians were like space aliens in the way they were so completely out of touch with most of the population. They came from an elite social class that only knew of 500 year old music and ballet. They knew the entire works of Shakespeare off by heart and were completely unaware of the popular culture enjoyed by the rest of the population they ruled over.
From time to time they would be trained by their advisers to get down with the people, and so would be highly briefed about some aspect of what they should say in order to sound or appear cool and so get the popular vote.
Nobody can forget the hilarious wooden attempts at being cool from Neil Kinnock. He appeared in TV shows playing that damn ‘pop music’ and was even embarrassingly in a Tracey Ullman video. Kinnock wasn’t the only high profile politician guilty of this, either. The war-mongering Tony Blair even tried it and was seriously uncool.
Anyway, all this carefully choreographed ‘getting down with the kids’ never fools anybody. The middle class political elite have always been removed from popular culture and unable to identify with the youth or modern trends.
Slowly, this changed and we started to get politicians who were part of ‘our’ world. Recently, I was reading the tweets of a Labour MP who was doing his thing and enjoying the V Festival. Cool.
|Louise ‘cool’ Mensch, a modern-day hero|
However, not as cool as
This lady is super-cool!
Historically she’s a writer of what some might label ‘low-brow’ raunchy chick-lit books, but cooler than that she used to be a rock chick. She worked in the music industry and was a party animal with all the right hair and hanging with people in leather. Not the normal stuff of Members of Parliament. Her second (current) marriage is to the manager of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Metalica. Yep, how cool is that?
Louise Mensch first came onto my big-time radar when she was part of the committee asking some of the world’s most powerful men, the Murdochs, questions they didn’t want to answer about the News of the World and ‘phone hacking’. Fearlessly she stared down these men and asked what had to be asked.
She even challenged millionaire socialist Piers Morgan and his knowledge of phone hacking. Mistakenly, but under the cover of Parliamentary priviledge, she was alluding to Morgan being involved in phone hacking directly, something he apparently denied rather than admitted to in one of his books. Morgan, previously sacked from the Daily Mirror for using mocked-up pretend photographs of British soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners, had previously talked a lot about the results of phone hacking and even is on record as describing how Paul McCartney sounded ‘lonely, miserable and desperate’ on one of his messages left on Heather Mills’ voicemail.
Still professing denial on the points Louise had mentioned in committee, Morgan angrily went after Lousie in public and via CNN, but she had the presence of mind to not repeat her comments in the public fora, lest Morgan sue.
Not unsurprisingly, some three days after Louise giving the Murdochs and Morgan a hard time, she received an e-mail detailing some of her past indiscretions, including taking drugs in the 1990s in Ronnie Scotts in Birmingham, and suggesting the story was about to be published.
Normally, a revelation about such indiscretions is designed to threaten, silence or punish a politician for crossing the powerful millionaires who like to control everything and everybody. Normally it gets published and leaves the victim squirming and discredited, ruined even. Their career is over, their credibility is gone. They are no longer a threat to the powerful millionaires. They resign and disappear from public view.
But, did this phase Louise Mencsh?
No it didn’t.
Absolutely brilliantly, she published the e-mail, and published her responses. Included in these was the answer that she couldn’t remember a specific event but that the allegations about drug-fuelled dancing at Ronnie Scotts were ‘highly probable’ and she apologised for anybody who had had to suffer her dancing.
Her perfect answers of effectively shrugging her shoulders and saying, “So what?” completely back-fired on those trying to control and silence her. She defused the situation and publicly reinforced her resolve to not waiver from asking the questions that needed to be asked about phone hacking. Brilliant.
It was at this point that Louise Mensch became one of my heroes. I avidly watched her extensive muttering via Twitter and stalked her (in a nice and loving way, of course) via the ‘net (not in real life, officer!) and concluded that she was exactly the new face of the kind of politician that we need in this country.
Of course, with her style and public persona there comes a price. She’s already been threatened by a bonkers person who wanted to do her and her children harm. Luckily, the police have dealt with him, which is excellent. At last people are not allowed to be anonymous via the ‘net and make serious and worrying threats without there being consequences.
Less scarily, she’s often bitched about by those (usually from the left) who much prefer a more conservative (with a small ‘c’) approach to life and see her as an upstart who needs pulling into line and to stop having all the fun. They hate fun. Well, unless it’s being nasty about Conservative politicians. That’s their only idea of fun. They will constantly snipe and growl from the pages of the left-wing newspaper, the Guardian, or from their uninspiring Twitter accounts.
Hopefully, this will not stop Louise Mensch being Louise Mensch. She is raw, down to earth, and most importantly, she is in touch. I like her. Heck, I love her! She makes politics interesting and humanised and brings it back to the people.
Politics needs more Louise Mensch types connecting with the people.
Maybe, just maybe, she could be a future Prime Minister.
Now that really would be cool!