I genuinely want Eddie Izzard to be the next Labour leader.
(Bear with me. I’m going somewhere with this.)
I want to see who’s left standing. I want the inappropriate-techno high-drama BBC News drumbeat to fade away to the sounds of Clive Myrie saying, ‘a historic day for the Labour Party, as it elects its first woman leader.’ I want to study his eyebrows as he utters the words. I feel that this experience would be exquisite.
I am itching to hear Chris Bryant weakly attempt to lambast the Conservatives for ignoring women’s needs, as his broad-jawed girl-mode leader gives a contemplative head-tilt from the front bench. I want to listen to his voice; I want to savour the moments when it falters. I would study him so closely: his nervous hand wiping his forehead; his notes flapping and trembling.
I’d quite like to see Kay Burley’s I’m-not-angry-I’m-just-disappointed act intersecting with calling an actual bloke ‘she’. I want to see if she can keep that brow arched for the duration of the sentence. I want to marvel as she makes it through the news item without cracking.
The term for this is ‘crass accelerationism’. If we’re going to go to the seventh layer of hell, let’s at least go there fast, and then we can prepare an exit strategy.
(Come to think of it, I’m in favour of crass accelerationism in other regards. Cervix-havers? Menstruators? Pah! I say we go all-in, and call women ‘egg hoarders’. Again, my motivation is simple: let’s see who’s left standing. Because someone will be. Or maybe ‘fallopian hostage-takers’: that could work.)
The Labour Party has narcolepsy. Its precious moments of lucidity are snatched away by sudden and unexpected sleep. What’s that you say? We’ve alienated the entire North and Midlands of England? Well, perhaps it would be a good time for us to have a Northern or Midland leader, who hails from a working-class background, and who might just be able to bridge the gap between zzzzzzzzzzzz let’s pick the Islington millionaire with the knighthood. Or: Really? We’re losing female voters? Well then, we’d definitely be better off selecting a women. After all, we are the only major party which hasn’t zzzzzzzzzzzz oh I love Eddie, she’s so inspiring. As sympathetic as I am to narcoleptics, I have qualms about putting them in charge of the army.
Izzard’s ‘girl mode’ consists in the following: demanding feminine pronouns. Nothing else is different. There is no commitment to turn down male acting roles. There is not even the slightest sartorial adjustment. There is no vocal change — an important point, given that Britain’s first female political leader took great pains to modify her voice quite radically, so as to out-voice her male peers. ‘Girl mode’ involves no change in temperament; no shift in policy focus; no reanalysis of the impacts of prostitution or trafficking or maternity. It’s a little bit like upping the terror alert level to amber. Don’t worry: no-one will need to do anything. It just looks like we’re doing something.
Those who have gone along with this farce will find themselves in the same position as those who fart in a lift. There’s a slender window in which you can admit last night’s bowel-loosening lamb jalfrezi. Once that window has passed, you have no option but to pretend that you can smell nothing at all, and that everything’s basically normal.
And, in fairness, I suspect — and hope — that some people would speak up. I’m looking at you, Caroline Flint; at you, Sarah Champion. The Labour Party, of which I am no member, and for which I have never once voted, has a valuable history of blurting inconvenient but timely facts. The government of 1945 was premised, so far as I understand it, on such a blurting. Surely someone would point out that the Emperor’s new shoes are a size 11?
In the meantime, I’m on board with #TeamEddie. Sure, $3.9 trillion has been transferred in one year alone from the world’s poor and middle classes to the billionaire overlords. Sure, every single British city, save London, has a skeletal transport system. Sure, there’s a looming pensions disaster; mass deindustrialization; the hollowing out of local government. Sure, meaninglessness floods into the lives of British youth. But for too many years, wimpunds have been marginalized. Having a wimpund leader would send a clear signal that the Labour Party defends all wimpunds. And if the Labour Party doesn’t stand for wimpunds’ rights, what does it stand for?