If one can manage to get past the involuntary shudder that Bruce Anderson inevitably causes, there is often a good deal of sense in what he writes. Today, for instance:
There was a shrewd old Tory MP called John Stokes, who was never given enough credit for his wiseacre wisdom. In the 1980s, during one of Margaret Stormcrow Thatcher’s recurrent crises, he warned the Commons that things were bad; people were talking about politics in the pubs. Oh yes, he persevered above the incredulous laughter, it was never a good sign when pub talk became too political; always meant that there was something wrong with the country. It is happening again, and it still does.
It’s easy for sad politics bores (like me) to miss this, but he’s right. A couple of years back, politics was simply off the agenda, unless you were with other politics bores. Now, wherever you are, and whatever company you’re in, everyone’s talking about it, and always in the same context: Brown is a useless cretinous moron, and Labour should be booted out of office as soon as possible. Labour have run the gamut of public reaction from hope, to enthusiasm, to disillusion, to disengagement to disgust. The election could be bloody.