Wednesday, May 12, 2010

On Expert Knowledge

Down here I am, of course, considered an expert on all things British and, having a known interest in politics, I had a lot of people asking me about the election: what the position was, who would win, what the result meant, who Nick Clegg is, what will happen now...

Well I'm still not sure who Nick Clegg is, but I was doing quite well on the rest of it, until I said, 'The one thing that will not, cannot, happen, for reasons I shan't bother to explain because they are so compex and subtle that only we experts can understand them, is a Con-Lib pact (we don't do coalitions, we don't even do alliances, you see). Absolutely not possible, just can't be, you wouldn't understand why not.

Well, that' s the end of Hickory as a political pundit. I still don't see how it happened. And it certainly won't last (ducks). But it is, an attribute most things do not have.

I also predicted, with my detailed knowledge of English football, that Fulham would honour their history tonight by doing nothing remotely memorable and losing forgettably. I seem to have got that one right. The fountain of Neptune (near the Prado museum) will be hopping tonight. Even here, 200kms south of Madrid, there are many fans, and they are now out in their cars, driving around honking their horns apparently in the belief that people share their joy and are not throwing potato peelings at them as they pass.

An odd way to celebrate something which is not even yours. Here we do handball; I may have mentioned that we have the best handball team in the world, and when they win the league or the European Cup there is sense in beeping your horn and jumping in the fountain, but the football fans have to make do with a semi-amateur team that goes bankrupt every few years and has to be refounded, so they follow the big teams.


Vincent said...

I laughed out loud at the first part. But I didn't understand "But it is, an attribute most things do not have." What is "it"?

As for Nick Clegg, I was in Jamaica for the precise two weeks in Britain was engulfed in Cleggmania. Unlike the death of Princess Diana (during whose accompanying hysteria I was in Florida) this mania kept within the UK and didn't creep across the skies without regard for national boundaries like Dianamania or Icelandic dust.

So in that limited sense, I don't share my countrymen's entire experience of Clegg.

On the point "we don't do coalitions" one commentator has helpfully pointed out that in the British two-party first-past-the-post system, we don't do anything else but coalitions---in the sense that Conservatives were Wets and Drys who came together for electoral purposes; Labour were Old and New, for the same reason; and Liberals have always been a set of raggle-taggle gypsies with a rainbow of far-out beliefs, who try to look normal for electoral purposes.

All that has happened now is that all this has finally come out of the closet, and dared to speak its name.

CIngram said...

"But it is, an attribute most things do not have." What is "it"?

By "it" I meant the coalition!alliance!pact!agreement between these two unlikely bedfellows. It does at least exist at the moment, though maybe not for long.

Yes, I suppose that-s a way of looking at it; our electoral system discourages small parties, righly or wrongly, so the factions have to come together in sort of macro=parties disguised as homogeneous entities.