My friend Dave explains what he means
My admiration for Dave knows no bounds, certainly no lower ones. As you know, I consider him the greatest British prime minister since Gordon Brown, and I’ll loyally fight his corner against all detractors.
Dave knows this too, which is why he regards me as a friend. He and I often go down the pub together, letting our hair down, our shirts out and our children get lost. At such relaxed moments I sometimes ask Dave to clarify the meaning of his pronouncements whenever I feel they take me out of my, admittedly rather shallow, depth.
This is what I did last night, when Dave and I shared some ideas and pork scratchings at his local. ‘What did you mean, Dave,’ I asked after my second pint of Wife Beater and his fourth, ‘when you said you’ll neither lurch to the right nor plant yourself in the middle between your political opponents? If you’re neither on the right nor in the middle, you’re on the left, aren’t you?’
‘Boot, you imbecile,’ answered Dave in a courageous attempt to conceal his affection for yours truly, ‘even you with your pea brain must understand this. Just read what I wrote. You know how to read, don’t you? “It’s not about being Left-wing or Right-wing – it’s about being where the British people are.” So there’s no need to lurch either to the right or to the left. British people are already in the lurch. Innit?’ he added, realising that other pub crawlers were trying to listen to our conversation.
‘Take gay marriage, for example,’ said Dave and then delivered one of his famous witticisms, ‘please, please take it.’ As I was wiping tears of laughter off my shirt front, he turned serious.
‘Where are the British people on this issue? Not on the left of the body politic and not on the right. They’re planted right down the middle, firmly, to the hilt and for a long haul. They like it up the middle. All I have to do is give'em a little push from behind.’ Then, suddenly aware that he forgot to drop his aitches yet again, Dave added, ‘Djamean?’
‘Yes, Dave, you did say that Britain had been going down for years under Labour,’ I said in a feeble attempt to match Dave’s wit.
‘I said it was going downhill, not down, you retard,’ laughed Dave and playfully punched me in the jaw with a solid left jab. ‘And now we aren’t pushing it fast enough… mate. That’s what makes some people lurch to the right, but they’ll never make us go the same way.’
‘Yes, but Ukip votes cost you Eastleigh, didn’t they?’ I suggested, only to see Dave turn crimson. ‘Nutters!’ he screamed. ‘Morons! Barbour louts! Fascists! Forces of conservatism!’ It took another swift pint of Wife Beater to calm him down.
‘Let me explain this to you in words of one syllable, Boot… er… mate,’ said Dave, helping himself to my onion crisps.
‘The demographics of the Eastleigh electorate are ineluctably intertwined with their socioeconomic situation, thereby inexorably propelling them towards the effluvia of encephalophonic animadversions perpetrated by those psychointellectually disadvantaged functionaries of Ukip…’
‘I get it, Dave,’ I said, even though I didn’t. ‘They don’t like it up the middle after all.’
‘But they do, mate, you retard, that’s exactly what they like. Gagging for it,’ explained Dave. ‘That’s why we’re not going to lurch to either side, and especially not to the right. And we’ll eschew every “cynical attempt to calculate the middle distance between our political opponents”, just like I wrote. Take those Ukip nutters out of the equation, and there is no bloody distance between us and our opponents. And there won’t be unless we lurch to the right, which we won’t.’
What I like about Dave is that he has the power of his office… sorry, I mean convictions. Like no other politician, he can ringfence his beliefs and stay sitting on the ring fence for ever. This throws light on the point he made the other day. After all, if you sit on a fence, a lurch to either side means you’ll fall down.
‘I understand now, Dave’ I said. ‘You’re “on the side of hard-working, decent, patriotic people”, just like you wrote. That’s what makes you different from all those nutters. They’re on the side of the lazy, the evil, the treacherous. But you’re on the right side, mate, which means you don’t have to lurch anywhere.’
‘You got it in one, Boot,’ said Dave and ordered his Special Branch bodyguard to tell the landlord we’re switching to shorts.