Monday, October 02, 2006

The hollow men

As the rebranded Conservatives gather for their conference, trying to spin an image of substance, you might want to bear a few quotes in mind. First up is Francis Maude, Party Chairman:

“We are, again, looking at the branding of the party. I have to say that this is a matter which is not occupying more than a fraction of any of our time. It is important to get it right but it’s one of those quite superficial things that is not the be-all and end-all of our lives. It is something we will do over time but it really isn’t a matter of huge importance.”

That puts me in my place – three times. Methinks the Chairman doth protest too much? But you can always rely on George Osborne, Shadow Chancellor, to blow the gaff:

“Just creating the positive image of David Cameron as a relaxed family chap who enjoys cycling has taken months of effort. You’d be amazed how much time has to be spent on creating simple images for the media and then the voting public.”

In a comment on my post a couple of days ago, Cassilis suggested that I was being cynical for accusing the Tories of being too focused on spin and PR. And it’s true that I do have a cynical streak, especially when it comes to certain subjects. But this gem from Osborne does rather prove my point – and better than I ever could.

Finally, for a little perspective, TS Eliot, a dead poet:

“We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow Chancellor”

(I may have accidentally added a word there.)

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