Being Beta

Exercises in the higher banter with One of 26. Elsewhere called 'poet of adland'. By a whipple-squeezer. Find out why being beta is the new alpha: betarish at googlemail dot com

Friday, January 06, 2006

Grist. Mill. Discuss 1: Handshake drams

Parse Charles Kennedy' statement from yesterday carefully, and there is one glaring omission: the word alcoholic. Which in turn leads to some other questions:

1. Why not use the word? Is it political fear that the word if used would come back to haunt him?Is it that a 'problem' is solvable where as an 'ism' isn't? And what are the gradations between the two? Is a drink every night before bed a nightcap, a problem or an addiction?

2. What is it about the way that British politics is organised that drives participants in it to drink possibly more heavily than other professions? (After all, most columnists love dropping nods and winks that certain MPs etc are overly fond of 'late night chats'.) And if that's the case, shouldn't we look at a) the supply of participants, and why potential addicts might be attracted to the job; b) the structure of the profession and factors which might cause increased stress, therefore being a contributory factor to drinking too much? Oh, and why does the Palace of Westminster have so many (subsidised) bars? Or maybe there's an argument that all this booze just brings elected representatives closer to recreational habits of their populace.

3. Is a drinking problem actually that much of a bar to higher office? Consider Churchill hic hic fight them on the beaches more brandy hic. (And there's a related discussion as to whether politcians on the left are allowed less of a leeway in their proclivities than those of the right.) And isn't there a case that if someone is to push the button, don't they need a degree of drunken imagination to contemplate such an action? What I'm trying to say is that someone stone-cold sober would far more likely to do so without second thoughts; a drunk might think that they're making a mistake and wait until the morning (or maybe just decide to leave it, that the rogue nation just isn't worth it and actually ish my besht mate).

4. Why does no senior LibDem have the guts to come out and run against him? Come on, wield a dagger or two. You're in politics after all. Stop being so nice. I mean, it's not as if you even have to stab him in the back. A bottle over his head should do it.


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