The general election campaign has only been under way for a short time, but already it has done the country a signal service. It has held up a mirror to the political class which, like a fairground novelty, has reflected the distorted image of those who govern, or aspire to govern, us.
The difference is that, at a funfair, the grotesque image is created by the mirror; in this instance, however, it is a true image reflecting the bizarre menagerie that is the British political establishment and its media sycophants. Election time is when politicians, inflamed by the fear of defeat, become most undisciplined and hysterical. Behind the carefully cultivated façade of grey-suited, authoritative, cliché-ridden claptrap lurks ignorance, self-interest and a sense of entitlement that has grown to extravagant dimensions in the hothouse climate of the Westminster bubble.
These people are not entirely sane. Even when politicians of the three legacy parties are apparently airing limited differences, they are still cross-fertilizing their collective sense of entitlement, of monopolist power and the determination to exclude from public discourse (a favourite PC term) not only the real wishes of the public but also any party that might seek to articulate those wishes – in the current circumstances, that means UKIP.
The legacy parties’ monopoly of power for so long, guaranteed by the PC consensus that unites them, has meant that, year on year, their shared delusions have become ever more divorced from reality. This week we had a dramatic illustration of this when the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Vauxhall in south London, Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett (his actual name, not a keyboard malfunction) announced he had deliberately become infected with HIV in an attempt to commit suicide.
Ah yes, I can hear you think, this is just the sort of responsible, stable, sensible chap we want to have running the country. On the face of it, this is a very unfortunate individual who, by his own admission, cannot cope with life and who needs an enormous amount of help. But that is not the point. The point is that this character is inviting the voters to send him to Westminster to become one of just 650 people who govern Britain.
But he is not indulging in this extravagance as an independent candidate or as a representative of the Monster Raving Looney Party. Instead, those responsible for candidate selection within a political party that at the moment is actually in government decided this man was the best they could offer the voters of Vauxhall. When he went public about his HIV infection the twits on Twitter began drivelling on about this being “an incredibly brave and powerful thing to do”. The lunatics have taken over the asylum.
Nobody thought to ask whether Mr Hyyrylainen-Trett is using private medicine, or stinging the taxpayer, via the NHS, for £25,000 a year in expensive drugs to treat a deliberately self-inflicted illness. Or if there was any possibility he had infected other people. Knee-jerk PC congratulatory effusiveness displaced reason.
On the same day, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, declared it would be “hugely unjust” if people with depression were prevented from working as airline pilots. I’m sure we all see his point: the risk that a pilot suffering from depression might deliberately crash his plane, killing 150 people on board, weighs very lightly in the balance against the need to make a sanctimonious statement that will win applause from mental health lobbyists.
Self-inflicted HIV sufferers in Parliament, suicidal airline pilots roaming the skies – clearly the Liberal Democrats are the party that likes to live dangerously. What this crescendo of insanity, in just one legacy party within the short span of 24 hours, demonstrates is how a tsunami of PC hysteria has engulfed the political establishment, the mainstream media and Twitter, confining them in a delusory bubble into which the overwhelming majority of the population peers incredulously.
The political class now inhabits a different planet from the rest of Britain. It has no interest or understanding of the needs and opinions of real people. Amid a battery of PR consultants brandishing spreadsheets recording the drivellings of focus groups, it is now incapable of communicating with the British people. The political establishment and mainstream media genuinely think UKIP is quaint and weird, because it reflects the views of the public rather than the group-think of the Westminster bubble.
The political landscape today eerily resembles the cult television series The Prisoner, screened many years ago. For Portmeirion, the fantasy village where the series was filmed, substitute Westminster and you have an uncannily close parallel. Politicians were always thieves, traitors and scoundrels; for the most part, however, they were not insane. Today they are. We are in the hands of mentally unstable people and it is time to send for the sanity inspector; his name is Nigel.