Masochism

I can’t help feeling a bit depressed today by this election’s clear demonstration of the unrepresentativeness of parliament in this country and by the remoteness (so it feels) of electoral reform. Several of the marginal constituencies I was most concerned about have turned out OK. One in particular has not. So rather gloomy this morning, despite the knowledge that things could be much worse. Watching To Kill a Mockingbird last night was a crude but effective way of reminding myself that 21st-century Britain is not such a bad place to live.

But I don’t want to get into political debates here. I’m too naïve and not knowledgeable enough to make it worthwhile. In the interests of cheering myself and perhaps others up, here’s a song that never fails to make me smile. It’s quite edgy for its time (nearly fifty years ago now, though I don’t know the exact date of this performance), and Tom Lehrer’s a curiously sexy performer to watch. Marvel at his control of the keyboard, at the restraint of those downward sweeps. Such consummate artistry.

I’m not sure I can tie that in with politics. Stephen Milligan, anyone? Though not under any impression that the politician is some kind of superior being, it occurs to me that to want to govern at the moment, when politicians more than anyone are subject to unending scrutiny and indefensible personal attacks from the press, requires a special kind of person, a glutton for punishment if you will (though a thirst for power may also be a useful attribute). It often seems a practically thankless task to me, which is why I’m generally disposed to give MPs the benefit of the doubt. Here’s hoping a fresh start will bring some change for the better.

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