Charlie Brooker Gets it – Finally

A year ago, I lambasted Charlie Brooker because he professed to be a hard wired Labour supporter regardless of the facts. Well, it seems that he has had an epiphany:

My personal snapping point was reached last week, at the precise moment Jack Straw announced the government was vetoing the Information Tribunal’s order for the release of cabinet minutes relating to that whole invasion-of-Iraq thing. Come on, you remember Iraq: that little foreign policy blip millions of us protested against to absolutely zero avail, because Straw and his pals figured they knew best, even though it turned out they didn’t and – oops! – hundreds of thousands of lives were lost as a result. Remember the footage of that screaming little boy with his limbs blown off? Maybe not. Maybe you felt a shiver of guilt when you saw that; guilt that you hadn’t personally done enough to prevent it; should’ve shouted louder, marched further. Or maybe it stunned you into numbness. Because what was the point in protesting any more? These people do what they want.

They do what they want, these people, and you and I are cut out of the conversation. I’m sure they’re dimly aware we still exist. They must spot us occasionally, through the window, jumping up and down in the cold with our funny placards . . . although come to think of it, they can’t even see us through the window, since they banned peaceful protest within a mile of Parliament.

My word… This is the man who, twelve months ago, told us that he would support Ken Livingstone no matter what. Ken Livingstone, I might remind you is just another NuLab politician and one of the more reprehensible ones at that. So, finally, another Labour supporter has seen the scales slide from his eyes. For Brooker it was Jack Straw’s perfidious piece in the Groan the other day that was the tipping point. For all of us, there is a line over which we will not step. As a Labour party member, I watched as, one by one, local activists reached their personal line and said “enough” and cancelled their membership. To some it comes later than others – Brooker is about four years behind me and about five or six behind some of my erstwhile campaigning buddies. But, still, more joy in Heaven and all that. He has seen the light and that at least is good to witness.

“People have the power to vote out administrations which they believe are heavy-handed.” Thanks, Jacksy – can I call you Jacksy? – but who the hell are we supposed to vote in? Despite a bit of grumbling, the Tories supported the veto. Because they wouldn’t want cabinet minutes published either.

The old conundrum, eh? He realises – as many of us have realised before – that the alternatives aren’t exactly scintillating. Thus, Charlie Brooker is introduced to Sean Gabb’s menu of stinking fish. Welcome to the restaurant, Charlie.

Of course, the Righteous don’t like it when one of their own turns on them. The deeply arrogant and incredibly thick Kerry McCarthy dismisses these criticisms with typically sweeping disdain:

I suppose it’s inevitable that politicians will be accused of not listening when they do something someone doesn’t like… As I’ve said on here before, many a time, to the trolls – I know what you’re saying, I hear you loud and clear. I just don’t agree with you!

If you disagree with Kerry, you are a troll. How wonderful. She hears but she chooses to ignore. Actually, Kerry, my dear, we don’t give a flying fig whether you agree or not. Your opinion is of no consequence. What we expect you to do is represent your constituents – and that means not treating them as suspects, that means not trotting through the “aye” lobby just because the whips tell you to. In short, it means that we expect you to uphold, not erode, our hard won liberties. That you personally disagree is of no import in the matter – you are not paid to have opinions, you are paid to represent others. You are a servant, not a master in this relationship. It is our opinions that you represent, not your own, they are irrelevant.

This cynicism, this disillusionment, this disgust even, with politicians? Is it really about the decisions that are being taken, or is it the way we communicate those decisions, or the way we consult or fail to consult before we take them?

Yes. Yes. Yes. Next question? Although, it is pointless engaging with someone who titles their post: “Nobody like us… but do we care?” The sheer arrogance and pomposity is staggering – not least for someone who may well be given her marching orders in as little as twelve months. With this attitude to the public that she has been elected to serve the sooner the better, frankly.

Still, Charlie Brooker went up in my estimation. There’s a first, eh? Maybe Neil Harding will surprise us all with his Damascus moment. On second thoughts… Nah…


  1. I can’t remember exactly when I gave up on Labour. I know I still voted for them in 2001, but certainly not after that. I didn’t end up in UKIP until early 2007.

  2. For me it was the aftermath of the twin towers attacks when Blunkett went on the rampage through our civil liberties. What had been a nagging doubt up to that point became crystallised into the kind of realisation Brooker now experiences. That was the moment when I thought “Shit! I have been soooo wrong all these years.”

  3. “For all of us, there is a line over which we will not step.”

    For New Labour members, that line seems very, very far away, doesn’t it..?

    Still, ‘more joy in heaven…’ and all that! 🙂

  4. To be honest LR I’m quite dissapointed that you ever supported Labour. You seem like quite an intelligent chap. And you’re old enough to remember the last time they were in power, so what gives?

    Anyway you’re on the right side now which is all that matters! 🙂

    As for Neil I wouldn’t hold your breath mate!

  5. Indoctrination. When you are brought up to it, it takes a long time to shake it off – it takes the hard fist of reality punching you on the nose. Also, I suffered somewhat as a consequence of the early Thatcher policies, so my dislike of the Tories was reinforced. It took the detachment of hindsight to see those years differently. Interestingly, my parents who were both Labour are now no longer supporters.

  6. I’ll let you off 😉 As I said you’ve been on the right side for a while now!

    Good to hear about your parents as well, if even older Labour supporters are deserting them then I think Gordon might actually finish off the party for a considerable time! 438 days to go apparently!


  7. “That you personally disagree is of no import in the matter – you are not paid to have opinions, you are paid to represent others. You are a servant, not a master in this relationship. It is our opinions that you represent, not your own, they are irrelevant.”


    Actually, I’m afraid this is not true and that’s part of the problem.

    MPs ARE paid to have opinions. They ARE paid to make these decisions on our behalf. The way it is supposed to work is that candidates make clear what their beliefs, principles, views etc are during the election and the electorate votes for the candidate that they believe will represent them the best.

    The problem is that there is a big chunk of the electorate that doesn’t vote on this basis and we get lumped with pigs bladders on sticks like Kerry McCarthy because she was wearing the right rosette.

    Essentially she turned up and said, “Here are my views and principles: I will do and think and believe, vociferously, exactly what the Labour whips tell me to” and enough people signed up to that.

  8. Fair point. However, there will always be occasions when the personal opinion of the MP is in conflict with that of the constituents – what then? Surely representation is just that, representing the will of the electorate whatever their personal opinion on the matter

    My MP voted strongly in favour of ID cards – I did not vote for that and he was most certainly not representing me in any way shape or form. All of which leads to democracy being a farce – a small group of people impose their will on the rest. So, no, I do not consider that I pay them for their opinions. I’m not entirely sure what I do pay them for; they are of bugger all use to me.

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