As another turbulent year in politics draws to a close, there are plenty of lessons our elected representatives can take as they crash head first into next year’s general election.
Top of the list: never take painkillers before an interview – apparently, they cause you to make a whole host of racist and homophobic remarks.
Then there’s the ability to choose the right media platform from which to address the electorate, which appearing on a late-night ITV Newsnight clone with pop star turned Smooth Radio presenter Mylene Klass clearly isn’t.
And finally: if you are going to try and conceal a raft of rather savage spending cuts beneath a giveaway on stamp duty, ranting on the BBC Radio’s flagship morning news programme won’t make it any less conspicuous.
Yet for now, Christmas, and a small moment to enjoy the calm before the campaign trail storm. As Cameron, Clegg, Farage and Miliband settle down with a mince pie in front of the telly tomorrow, which festive-themed films should they recommend their parties watch for the most appropriate form of entertainment?
In case they’ve asked themselves that very question and drawn a blank, here’s a few suggestions:
1. The Conservatives: The Muppets’ Christmas Carol
Commentators have called Cameron and Osborne the children of Thatcher, but this is incorrect – they are in fact very much the progeny of Ebenezer Scrooge. What other role model could account for the coalition’s policies but Scrooge, a man educated at an elite institution to value money above all else, content to see his underlings scrape by on minimum wages and contemptuous of offering charity to the poor?
However, their ice-cold hearts can’t but help melt at the sight of The Muppets’ – aided ably by Michael Caine – appearance in Dickens’ tale of redemption. If so, expect to see both prime minister and chancellor giving away the biggest turkeys money can buy at food bank near you.
2. Labour and the Green Party: Trading Places
With its recent proposals on austerity cuts and immigration measures, Labour has set about aping the Tories knee-jerk populism for fear of losing its position amongst the Westminster contenders. Much in the same way that Louis Winthorpe III, Dan Aykroyd’s pompous character in Trading Places wishes to emulate the lifestyle of his elitist, prejudiced employers, only to see this lead to his temporary downfall.
Fortunately, Eddie Murphy’s infinitely poorer but far more emotionally intelligent street hustler has the wherewithal to change Winthorpe’s philosophy and help return him to former glory. Exactly as the Green Party could if Labour looked to it for ideas that might help reduce growing inequality, such as introducing the living wage and a cap on bankers’ bonuses. Highfalutin’ failure or compassionate champion – Ed, you decide.
3. Ukip: Die Hard
The plot of Die Hard reads like every ‘kippers wildest fantasy. A sovereign state/LA skyscraper is invade by a bunch of particularly heinous EU nationals set on stealing all its wealth for themselves. Entering the fray like the veritable fox in the henhouse is an everyman hero who, against all odds, proceeds to blow away these villainous foreigners, send the ringleader plummeting to a grisly death and restore order to the way things used to be.
Unfortunately, distinguishing fact from fiction has never been Ukip’s strongest characteristic. And in reality, Nigel Farage would probably have struck a deal with the Hans Gruber’s Euro-thugs, as long as they agreed to keep paying his and his wife’s salaries and bankrolling his hypocritical party.
4. Liberal Democrats: Black Christmas
You might think there’s no analogy to draw between the Lib Dems and a horror film about a slasher let loose on a sorority house over the Christmas holidays. But come the morning of May 8, 2015, the bloodbath that Nick Clegg et al experience may be just as brutal…
Follow Nick Norton on Twitter @OnlyForKoolKids