I’ll be honest with you – I don’t really listen to the sort of radio shows or watch the sort of television programmes expected of somebody ‘into’ politics and specifically the British political system.
For the most part I’m bored silly by the News, and yes that includes Channel 4 News and the Today programme and I have every intention of watching Newsnight but never get beyond ten minutes before my finger gets restless and press the channel up button.
I sometimes watch a few minutes of Question Time before I’m drawn away by a mindless sitcom on BBC THREE (yes I watch BBC THREE and so do more people than are prepared to admit).
You see – the problem is – at work I have to think, I have to concentrate and know whats going on – at home I don’t. At home I can chill and do sod all – I can be the brain dead idiot in front of the box.
That’s why I got an iPod – I love listening to politics, I just don’t want to do it during my TV time. So I use podcasts and listen to the shows while walking to work in the morning.
Alternatively – I turn to political comedy, to satire, to the greats such as Yes, Minister, The New Statesman and Absolute Power (the radio series not the TV series).
Drop the Dead Donkey, Spitting Image, Not the Nine O Clock News, The Now Show, The Thick of It, Have I got news for You, Dead Ringers … and the list goes on.
In fact it was the brilliant satire of the great British PolCom that got me ‘into’ politics in the first place.
It’s lines such as “Two kinds of government chair correspond with the two kinds of minister: one sort folds up instantly and the other sort goes round and round in circles.”
Or the brilliant “If people don’t know what you’re doing, they don’t know what you’re doing wrong.” Both from Yes, Minister that inspired me to find out more.
Or how about “Trevor McDonald: What did Blair tell the NHS staff to do? Paul Merton: Go private?” from the wonderful Have I Got News for You?
Maybe even one from The New Statesman “Why should we, the country that produced Shakespeare, Christopher Wren, and those are just the people on our banknotes for Christ’s sake. Cower down, to the countries that produced Hitler, Napoleon, the Mafia, and the the the, the the the, the the the Smurfs!”
Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It was also good for a comment “Sam? Can you get me Terri Coverley and Glenn Cullen? Make them an appointment to come over? I think I got to shout at somebody, you know? Oh, actually, get me John at Culture on the phone, I think I’ll have a bit of a shout now.”
And finally “Martin McCabe: …the people’s Morris says speech writers are the parasites of democracy, a politician should say precisely what he thinks in the way wants to say it. Charles Prentis: God lord, thats appalling!”
What are your favourite political comedies?