My facebook timeline gets worse by the day. It's just more and more irrelevant trivia that just doesn't speak to me at all. Alright so the odd cat video is nice, or drone footage of a goat chasing a remote control car is fun, and it's always nice to see pics of my friends kids but it's really not necessary to post every bit of meaningless flotsam you find on the internet as well. I mean who really wants to see an article from the Spectator on the Labour leadership contest?
Now I know the Spectator used to be a court circular of substance back when we had things like journalists, but that was a very very long time ago. It was a bit before my time as I understand it, but that was before we had such a wide palette of readily accessible media sources from which we can inform our own views. There should be a clue in that the opinions of Nick Cohen, Charles Moore and Fraser Nelson come for free. You wouldn't actually part with money for the opinions of some SW1 bubble dwelling claqueurs who have to go into the mists of time to recall when they last had a real job and actually had to verify their witless assertions.
But then I suppose that's what makes these people so ideally equipped to write about the Labour leadership contest. You don't need men of substance to write about a process that in itself has no substance. There is nothing they can tell us that we don't already know; An empty ideas free political party of some long standing has been thrashed in an election because it had a leader with no real ideas and all the inherent charm of a persistent crotch rash. Consequently they have now a convoluted and tedious process whereby the dreary know-nothing they had is replaced by a different dreary know-nothing.
This puts me at a loss as to why such a non-event warrants such attention. The outcome is the same whatever happens. I suppose it's the same reason sport is uninteresting in and of itself. If you watch a horse race, the logical conclusion is that a horse will win it. You have to have some personal investment in it to care which particular domestic equine soliped crosses the line first. If you don't, then at the end of the race a dumb beast occupies the winning position but it makes no material impact on your day.
It's the same with football. Were it not for the long standing rivalries, identities and traditions and tribal like devotions, there would be nothing especially noteworthy about 90 minutes of grown men kicking an inflatable sphere around a field. After 90 minutes, one side has navigated a ball between two posts more times than the other side. There is no tangible benefit to having gone through the process. A lot of energy has been expended but nothing worthwhile has been achieved.
The Labour "leadership" context suffers from the same inevitability. People with no charm or expertise are paid to write about four Labour MP's who also posses no charm or expertise, who will spend weeks demonstrating how little they know about a broad range of subjects, and subscribers will be asked to judge which persons parade of ignorance best represents the collective ignorance of the party.
But when it's over, we are still back where we were before. A charmless, ignorant, out of touch nobody with SW1 sanitised politics will occupy that particular post, will spend five years preaching their obsolete and failed ideas only to be punished yet again at the ballot box - when adults whose lives will be affected by such thoughtless pulling of political levers are asked to be the judge instead of the tribalists to whom this spectacle matters.
As far as this somewhat drab circus goes, the Spectator as a court circular is as useful as any and I suppose the participants in this charade need some kind of markers as to where it stands, but has it occurred to the left that if they took more of an interest in politics than process there would be something useful to be gained by hosting this bizarrely named "leadership" ritual? I really don't suppose it has.
Indulge in nonsense if you will (I'm all up for that), but If you are going to post meaningless and trivial contests on Facebook, then have a look for that Youtube of Indian duck racing. It's equally lacking in consequence but is at least humorous and a more productive use of time. There's little chance of any ideas percolating into the "leadership" contest so anyone who is actually interested in politics is looking entirely in the wrong direction. Whatever that SW1 displacement activity is called (for we cannot call it entertainment) - it is certainly not politics either. Politics is a contest of ideas.