Being There

John Booth, Going Postal

Like me, you may remember this film.  Being There is a 1979 American comedy-drama film directed by Hal Ashby starring Peter Sellers as Chance, the gardener.  He is simple-minded, and his knowledge is derived entirely from television.  Simple words are repeatedly misunderstood as profound; in particular, his statements about gardens and the weather are interpreted as allegorical statements about business and the economy. 

He ends up ‘advising’ the President of the United States as everyone is fooled into thinking that Chance is very clever, gifted and insightful.  He remains very mysterious, as the Secret Service is unable to find any background information about him. Public opinion polls start to reflect just how much his “simple brand of wisdom” resonates with the jaded American public.  He fooled everybody, not deliberately, but because everyone wanted to believe that Chance was special and gifted.  He wasn’t.
In 1990, John Major suddenly ‘became’ Prime Minister after Mrs Thatcher was overthrown by the spineless worms in her cabinet.  Major only got the job as the ‘stop Michael Heseltine’ candidate after Heseltine challenged her for the leadership.  Major was an unremarkable politician with no particular track record of achievement, a poor orator and with no distinctive leadership qualities.  How he became Prime Minister has remained a mystery to me for 27 years and when it happened, I was struck by the similarities of him and Chance the gardener.  I said at the time to my long suffering wife (who has kindly endured my rants about politics and current affairs over the decades), that John Major is Chance the gardener in ‘Being There’.  He knows nothing but everyone seems to think he does.  And he is Prime fucking Minister!  How the fuck did that happen?  And against all the odds he won a General Election in April1992, but helped enormously by the Welsh windbag Neil Kinnock being leader of the Opposition.
After Blair came to power in 1997 things appeared to revert to normality with Blair at least having some charisma, was a decent orator and although he turned out to be a liar, war criminal and a massive narcissist, he at least had some leadership qualities and looked and sounded like a Prime Minister should.  He did a lot of bad and stupid things, but at least he did do things.  (Don’t get me wrong, I hate the man and would love to see him hanged, but I’m just comparing the PMs presentational qualities).
After the blip of the unelected Gordon Brown and his car crash of a Premiership we had the disaster of a Prime Minister, David Cameron.  He was an empty vessel, with no discernable values or beliefs.  But, like Blair, he was a decent orator and looked Prime Ministerial although he achieved very little in his 5 years as PM and he will remembered for only two things  – gay marriage which most of the nation didn’t want and wasn’t even in the Conservative manifesto and BREXIT.  And he only offered a referendum to get re-elected and then went on to try and fix it.  Throughout the whole referendum campaign, Cameron was guilty of the most disgraceful and deceitful behaviour.  The only positive thing I can say about Cameron is that he wasn’t Chance the gardener like John Major was.
And now to the present day and history is repeating itself.  We have Theresa May as Prime Minister, similar to John Major, she has ‘become’ Prime Minister despite being an unremarkable politician with no particular track record of achievement, a poor orator and with no distinctive leadership qualities.  I find myself as I did in 1990 saying how the fuck has she become Prime Minister?
She specialises in doing nothing but pretending to be busy.  She appears to believe in nothing, just like Cameron.  She is the ‘Invisible PM’.  She is ‘in office but not in power’.  Sure, she has popped up on TV here and there and has made a few speeches, written by someone else no doubt but what has she actually done in 6 months?  From what I can see she has shuffled the cabinet and got rid of losers like Osborne. Good.  But what else?
We are still in the EU, there is still no Article 50 letter, mass immigration continues, our borders are still wide open, we are still sending £23 million to the EU every day, we are still giving benefits and housing to immigrants ahead of UK citizens, still allowing immigrants free healthcare without paying in to the system, still sending £33 million to Overseas ‘Aid’ daily, still allowing failed asylum seekers/illegal immigrants to stay and not deporting them.  The latest developments under her watch that she has ignored are the A & E ‘crisis’, the NHS funding ‘crisis’ the underfunding and ‘crisis’ in Elderly Care, and of course, the disgraceful Trade Union-led Rail & tube strikes.
Mrs May is the ‘Great Pretender’.  She is the latest incarnation of Chance the gardener.  The media and Parliament appear to have fallen for the great deception.  She makes speeches, she says things!  She is wise, she is a great leader….
No she isn’t.  She is Chance the gardener.  She is ‘Being There’.  She is a fraud.
The UK, as the great Ship of State is cruising but to where?  Where is the destination? Where is the course?  The ship is stuffed full of passengers but the crew are nowhere to be seen.  The ship’s captain has gone AWOL.  We are drifting on the open seas and there is no one on the Bridge. 
Save Our Souls.