April 92 …I still want my money back …

9 Apr

It is 22 years since the April 92 election. The election everyone knew was Labours. The election that every , every , opinion poll got wrong. Think about that for a moment. A two-horse race that they got wrong by over 8%..the polls all said a hung parliament and it wasnt. Yet the same pollsters are still working 22 years later , filling column inches with rubbish predictions.

It was the election that was defined by Jimmy Greaves writing on politics in the Independent , oh you don’t recall that. Well how about Ian Botham suing the Sun for calling him a Conservative supporter. No you don’t recall that either. They had to fall back on the support of Bill Wyman , William Roche and Andrew Lloyd Weber. Of course with friends like those ….

It was a trivial election , one defined by an argument over a broadcast about a child waiting for an ear operation. This soon became in tabloid parlance the “war” over Jennifer’s ear. Ironic that thousands of dead Iraqis didn’t make the election agenda but a “war”over an ear , that wasnt a war did. It was defined by a false argument that a man shouting “allright”lost a party votes when no evidence supports this whatsoever. It was defined by a heightened bitterness in the newspaper coverage and support. The fleet street tabloid editors went into full battle mode. One that seemed to go beyond reasonableness and sanity.

And of course the result was a foregone conclusion , so I didn’t vote. John Major played his soap box for all he could. he lied over taxation. It was his first election as Prime Minister. His rise to the top had been a somewhat confusing affair. I still get confused between the reality of that , an episode of Yes Minister where Jim HAcker becomes Prime Minister and the original House of Cards. Perhaps his supporters did too. The COnservatives were so keen to rid themselves of Margaret Thatcher they forgot to tidy up the process and no one noticed Chance Gardener becoming Prime Minister. One cabinet minister had predicted of her downfall ” when she goes she will go very fast. Our wives will have soaped the stairs for her”. That phrase tells you so much , not positive , about the 80s Tories.

Maybe that was our collective problem , people felt cheated at not having deposed of Thatcher themselves. Then we got cheated again . While I didn’t vote I paid a real price. In 1993 John Major took legal action against the New Statesman and scallywag for insinuating he was having an affair. He played a blinder, Closed one magazine and nearly finished the other. New Statesman added a levy to its cover price which I paid ( on the odd occasion i bought it ). So far he hasn’t returned this money to me , despite admitting his extra marital affair some years after he left office . Well only admitting after the other party went public.

A liar won through and we all got cheated in the end.


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