Wednesday, 2 March 2016
The return of the Mummy
Manfred Bajorat died doing what he wanted to do. Lucky bastard. His ‘mummified’ remains were found in his yacht, drifting off the Philippines, time of death unknown. Some thought it gruesome to show the pictures but, hey, it comes to us all. And far better that than the living death many will experience through debilitating illnesses, loneliness, cold and the many savage cruelties which mankind inflicts on man. In the old joke the comic asks why married men usually die before their wives; the punchline is ‘because they want to’.
Of course, comedians know and fear the death they hope not to have to experience, ‘dying’ on stage before an indifferent audience. I once saw a famous comedian appear two days in a row at a major summer festival. On the first day he smashed it; the crowd helpless with laughter, rolling about on the grass. On the second he stood in for an act which belatedly pulled out and struggled manfully on against a sea of hostile faces for about five minutes before walking off, presumably to heavily hit the bottle.
Death isn’t always cruel though. For many, following a long illness, death comes as an end to suffering and a release for all those caught up in the drama. Then there is ‘la petite mort’ which, in its modern translation is generally also a welcome release. And of course the deaths of many political careers are seen as occasions for national celebration. Who hasn’t cackled at the departure of major figures brought low? Of course one person’s deposed tyrant is another’s political hero, but I imagine the forthcoming lemming leap will be delicious for all to see.
One side will win and the other will lose and in the days following the referendum many heads are going to roll. It might seem unnecessarily vicious to lose around 50% of the major players to political oblivion just for taking the wrong side but it has always been the case that the losers are expected to fall on their swords. Big beasts will retire from the fray and some upcoming young Turks will see their careers cut short for backing the wrong horse. It matters not that the majority of the public will be utterly unaware and unmoved should they bother to look up from their shuffling about, but for those interested in such things the smell of schadenfreude will hang heavy in the air.
The Marie Celeste - a portrait of Westminster?
Look on the bright side, though. Firstly, they ‘died’ doing what they loved, what’s to mourn? Secondly, forget the issues of in or out, dirty tricks campaigns, political manoeuvrings and back bench shenanigans; there could well be a winner overall – politics itself. This might just be an occasion for a grand clear out of the tired old faces, ushering in an influence of fresh young bloods with hope in their hearts and British interests to the fore. Or is that just wishful thinking?