Playing to the galleries

In the Jeremy Kyle confessional culture of modern Britain the arrival of the Pope on the third world soil of in-debt Blighty was heralded by the governor of the Bank of England hoisted onto a TUC platform to say sorry for the financial trench we are all, apparently, in – together.

This was a clear case of playing a message or series of messages to audiences both in an outside the hall. Sir Mervyn King wept for the lost opportunity of a stable economy and sustainable growth like a knight who has let the Holy Grail slip from his fingers.

He rounded on the financial sector who, given they have the status of a biblical leper, are in no position to rebut his scorn, and warned that the system for governing their wheeling and dealing had to change.

This was music to the ears of the delegates, echoed a popular sentiment among the ‘general public’ and allowed him to wave the flag for tighter regulation.

But then Sir Merv went on to warn delegates (and the rest of the world) that unless a credible alternative to the Coalition’s planned cuts is on the table there’s no point in kicking up a fuss because we have to balance the books.

Clever stuff. Effectively he’s saying, “look guys, brothers, sisters, comrades, Mr and Mrs Joe P, I know it’s not your fault, we screwed up and do not even the good grace to stop stuffing our pockets with bonuses financed by the taxpaying saps, but that doesn’t matter because we if we are to dig our way out of this cesspit it means using a bloody big shovel.”

The galleries were not whooping but they saw his point.

The RMT members walked out, fingers in ears, going ‘la la la, can’t hear you’ and tuned their stand’s TV set to Cbeebies.

This was not escapism but playing to different galleries, their members and the people most likely to suffer from cuts in public spending.

Which lends a new twist to Timothy Leary’s 1960’s phrase ‘Turn on, Tune in and Drop out,'  but then again the financial sector have been in La La land for a lot longer.

Richard Tibenham