Late last week Trebuchet’s politics department was seized with an urge.
An urge to report on the happenings at Saturday’s TUC march in central London. An urge informed by vestigal half-memories of Scargill and Thatcher facing off, of class war and straight-talking politicians whose rhetoric was, if obviously abhorrent in content, at least uncouched in its expression.
Instead, there was Ed Miliband, mumbling out a flummox of Search Engine Optimised soundbytes through a filter more flanelled than the pyjama deparment at John Lewis’.
As Trebuchet’s reporter put it: ‘The TUC march was fun but utterly uneventful, with the only real story being Ed Miliband’s self-serving, smarmy speech.’
Gripped by the satyr of the perverse, and in the absence of deathless political grandiloquence, we lampoon:
They say journalism is the first draft of history, which probably explains why the first written account of the Battle of Hastings had a topless woman on the third page. This brings us onto this Saturday’s mammoth TUC ‘A Future That Works’ march in London, where Ed Miliband gave a brilliant speech of such intensity that it induced thousands to tears, made the earth shake and encouraged Godzilla to go bi-curious for a week.
But was it the speech Ed wanted to give? A quick rummage through his bins revealed an earlier, more urgent draft that revealed Ed’s true vision for Britain – untrammelled by party spin doctors and not-at-all limited by the deep, undying terror of telling the punters anything approximate to the truth.
THAT ED MILIBAND TUC MARCH SPEECH – THE FIRST DRAFT
I am here to pretend I have something in common with people from all walks of life, from all parts of our country, including bits of Romford and those places where they make custard creams.
Think about the faces in this crowd, many of whom didn’t go to Oxford and didn’t get a job in the Labour party straight away because of their father’s connections.
Young people looking for work.
Like <insert name here> from <insert place here> whom you saw on the <insert media type here>.
We have nurses determined to fight for the future of our National Health Service, put into jeopardy by PFI and a targets culture which absolutely had nothing with the last government, oh hells no.
Let us say we stand with them and all the men and women who serve in our NHS. But they can still fuck off if they think we’re going to be any better than the current shower of shite.
And all the off-duty police officers here today, let us say we stand with them as they seek to protect cosy relationships with tabloid journalists and continue slandering dead Liverpool supporters. Especially after they were perfectly happy to armour up and beat the shit out of miners and hippies in the 80s and do all our dirty work when we were last in power.
None of these people think Britain owes them a living, because frankly we think they should know their place anyway.
They just have a simple request. They want a future that works for them. They believe we do better as One Nation. Private and public sectors working together. Lots and lots and lots of PFI.
But they do not see that future under this government. It has banned clairvoyants and wandering fortune tellers.
Instead, they see a government dividing our country. That’s the SNP’s job.
Just this week, David Cameron tried to keep his Chief Whip, even though the rest of us could see he had to go. He made up an Energy policy on Wednesday, without any idea of how he could achieve it. And he clings to an economic plan that is just not working.
And let me tell you this, a Labour government will have none of that. We will never let go of our inept ministers, we will u-turn like a duck with one leg and we will churn out any number of frankly crazed policies.
Of course, there will still be hard choices, which is to say, I am going to stitch you up like a kipper. I have said whoever was in government now there would still need to be some cuts, which means you will spot little or no difference. But on the upside, Polly Toynbee will be happy.
So here is what we would do. We will make lots of promises worded in such a way in our manifesto that we can get out of them, unless they’re personal hobbyhorses, at which point we will use the Parliament Act to get them through, no matter how deranged.
Day one, with me as Prime Minister, we will no longer chillax with Angry Birds. Oh no. We will go retro and jaunt back to 1984, when Atic Atac topped the Christmas Charts and my room stank of onanism and the hot rubber keys of my ZX Spectrum.
Ed Balls will finally erupt out of his false skin and drive the PLP insane with the sight of his true reptilian form.
And Harriet Harman will do… whatever it is she actually does. Something involving women’s things or fair trade tea or something.
And I promise each and every one of you that we will replace a load of useless Oxbridge aristocrats with an equally useless load of Oxbridge technocrats.
So let’s cut to the soundbite, which Tony Blair would have delivered with much more brio:
A country united not divided.
A future that works.
A future that Britain builds together.
Yes, I know I’m not my brother. Please stop heckling.
This article has been edited to include the following amendments:
Photo: Carl Byron Batson
Photo does not depict events at the TUC March on September 20th
Alexander Hay is a writer and polemicist based online and in print.