When I created the politician Roy Bastable in Alpha to Omega, I wondered if I had simply produced a caricature; an individual invested with those characteristics disliked by most of us. Newspaper articles in the past ten days concerning three UK politicians have made me revisit my character. For those of you who have not read Alpha to Omega or perhaps forgotten this particular individual, I offer the following short extracts:
From the moment he (Roy Bastable) uttered his first sentence, I disliked him. It was subjective and unreasonable but I couldn't help it. He was opinionated and arrogant.
Roy Bastable charmed and schemed his way up the greasy pole of politics. From an early age he had been convinced of his own superiority and prepared for his greatness.
On a couple of occasions, his mask of friendliness and tolerance had slipped in public; but he was quick to spot both errors and immediately set about repairing any possible damage. At such delicate moments, whether at public or private gatherings, he often resorted to an expansive "I'm joking" sort of laugh. Although totally contrived, he invariably employed it to good effect. In truth, he was not an "I'm joking" sort of person.
My particular eye-catching politicians are Andrew Mitchell, David Laws and Tony Blair. As they are from three different political parties, I can hardly be accused of bias!
Mitchell is the Tory who referred to some on-duty policemen as "f...ing plebs" and then made various threats; he says he didn't use these words that were reported, the policeman's notebook record says he did. So one of them is lying and should be severely disciplined.
David Laws is the LibDem who fiddled his expenses and criticised others for doing the same thing - and was then found out. Having been a Cabinet minister he was forced to resign but, surprise surprise, is now back as an education minister. Great role model! He also seems to have officially forgotten quite a lot about his family, including that he has an adopted brother and sister.
Tony Blair, apparently, having resigned as Prime Minister a few years ago to go off and earn zillions of pounds working for all manner of people and regimes, now sees himself as the next President of the European Union. This is the man who has felt "the hand of history on his shoulder" and who has said words to the effect that he can only be judged by God for his actions. He is a man who seems to be obsessed with his own morality and political importance. Some, however, might liken his desire to be President of the EU to volunteering to be captain of the Titanic.
Maybe, after all, Roy Bastable is not a caricature. Maybe, when compared to real politicians, he's quite a good bloke!