Friday, 23 April 2021

Puppetry doesn't cover it.


Back in the days when Brezhnev ruled the Soviet Union, an acquaintance of mine went on a trip to Moscow, which included a guided tour of the Kremlin. As the guide showed them around the government part of the building, she pointed out one corridor and identified that area as being the offices of the Communist Party. One of the group then asked her what happened when the government disagreed with the party. It was not exactly an unknown problem in the UK at the time – as I recall, Harold Wilson was the PM, and to say that he occasionally had a few ‘difficulties’ with his party would be making the word ‘difficulties’ do a lot of work. The guide looked puzzled, as if she didn’t understand the question, before the questioner helped her out by suggesting that maybe that didn’t happen in her country. Her reply, delivered with a huge smile of relief, ran along the lines of “Ah yes, you are correct. In our country that never happens”.  It was a recognition of where the power lay: Brezhnev’s principal formal role, after all, was as General Secretary of the Communist Party.

The attempts by the former and future ex-leader of the Tories in Wales, Andrew RT Davies, to explain how he would respond if he felt that a decision taken by a Tory leader at the other end of the (M4) corridor was damaging to Wales reminded me of that poor tour guide. It was as if the hypothetical question had no meaning for him – how could a decision taken by a Tory PM ever be wrong? Even if Johnson says one thing one day and the opposite the next, he’s still axiomatically right on both occasions in Daviesworld. Like any good foot soldier, Davies understands that there are only two rules concerning the General:

Rule 1: The General is always right, and

Rule 2: In the event of the General being wrong, Rule 1 above applies.

The accusation by Plaid that this somehow makes him a puppet of Johnson is entirely unfair – a puppet has neither a brain nor a capacity for independent thought. Possessing both and consciously deciding to use neither is far worse than mere puppetry.

1 comment:

dafis said...

ARTD does work like a puppet - a mechanical version, with one major flaw. His operating speed especially when answering questions seems to be not properly calibrated. He starts off too fast and proceeds to accelerate ! He has been compared elsewhere with a horse racing commentator. However commentators are expected to work to what they see before them. ARTD has had his script programmed into his memory chip and cannot deliver anything other than that which has been pre-loaded. Useless but like a lot of puppets quite funny.