The Chewing Gum Election
John Lanchester · Esprit de l'escalier
Byron said that ‘it is a great affectation not to quote oneself’, but he never said anything about linking to your own pieces. Anyway, I’m going to do it here, because I wrote an op-ed in today’s Guardian revisiting some of the things I’ve written in the LRB and also on this blog. The theme is that unless the party leaders spell out some detail about the upcoming cuts, they won’t have a mandate to do the things they are going to have to do.
I mention this because I’ve had a severe case of esprit de l’escalier about the Guardian piece. In it I said this is the ‘Radio 6’ election, because people got their knickers in a gigantic twist about the planned cut to the station, in a way which makes it clear just how unprepared we all are for the scale of the havoc to come. (My knickers, by the way, are unrivalled in their twistiness. I love Radio 6.) I was groping for a metaphor for this and couldn’t quite find one, so left the piece where it was. At about four o’clock in the morning I woke up with the image in my head: in our predicament, minding about the loss of Radio 6 is like minding about having chewing gum on your shoe when you’re going into hospital to have both legs amputated.