Monday, October 08, 2007
When Dave Bowman disconnects Hal in 2001, the computer suffers a slow mental breakdown. Just before he expires, he sings Daisy, Daisy. The dying Hal came to mind when I was watching Gordon Brown being interviewed by Andrew Marr. Large parts of his brain had clearly shut down and the bits that remained where just chanting familiar words taught his by his programmer - 'change', 'vision', 'Daisy, Daisy...'. This morning he is lying in a bath of coolant undergoing a hard reset in preparation for his press conference. But can the junta's cyberwonks stop him saying 'change'? It keeps raising the awkward question: change from what to what? Perhaps he intends to wallpaper the UK in a fetching pink stripe or set it on fire. Of course, he originally used the word to signal that he was not Tony Blair - remember him? But politicians in general use 'change' because they know most of the electorate is discontented most of the time. In this they are encouraged by those newspapers that, daily, tell us we are discontented. But there is a higher form of discontent, based on the certainty that 'change' changes nothing and that contentment is not bestowed by politicians. Their job is to stop things getting worse. It's hard and it's boring, but nobody made them go into politics. Meanwhile, I have an exclusive copy of the Brown statement at his press conference - 'Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do...'
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 5:55 am