I can’t claim a great love for Lord Mandelson, but throwing green custard in his face is just plane stupid. Describing him as ‘slimy’ is an opinion, one that is shared by many, but does it advance a debate? Of course not.
One of the causes I espouse is to try to lessen the distance between the citizen and its political class. To physically attack politicians will have the obvious effect of them being forced behind a security screen and make them more distant, more unapproachable from the people.
In the film of the event, Mandelson is seen approaching the lady, clearly intending to listen. Instead of talking to him, or even telling him what her concerns are, she threw custard.
Earlier this week, she sounded a klaxon horn whilst Geoff Hoon was speaking. Like the British Army, I’m no admirer of him either, but surely he should be allowed to speak? If you don’t like it, rebut it. I’ll bet the farm that she, who tried to silence an elected politician, is in favour of free speech. But, of course, only free to people she approves of.
Sadly, many seem to approve of the action, purely on the grounds that they don’t like Mandelson. It’s either OK to assault politicians or it isn’t.
In her defence, she says Mandy is unelected. Well, Mandy has previously been elected by the people of Hartlepool and is in his current position at the request of an elected government. Precisely who elected Leila Deen? Who elected Plane Stupid to represent them?
God save us from spoilt middle-class angst. Lord preserve us from privileged kids feeling guilty and angry at Mummy and Daddy. They’ve been a blight on the Left for decades.
Brussels has civilised Mandy. He arrived with his usual panache, his joyful spinning and smearing. Within a week he was in deep, deep trouble as EU politics are much more sophisticated than the rough and tumble of the UK. Over here, it’s about concensus, about coalition building, not the “Yah! Boo!” screeching of the Uk’s Animal House of Common’s. He learned his lesson well.
Whenever I meet a politician, no matter what I feel about their party or policy, I deal with them politely and talk to them. Usually, they respond well and we can have a useful and interesting discussion and they do tell me what they really think and can be very open indeed. Most of these conversations are ‘off the record’ but they do inform my views and what I write.
It also means that I can talk to them in future. I can’t see Plane Stupid having many high level meetings in future, can you?
They can gleefully boast about this juvenile act as much as they want, but they have done a disservice to their cause and to those of us who want a more open, a more democratic politics.