Following on from his “1,000 Days of Daily Mail Rule,” Jacob Whitehead turns his fire on the “Guardianistas”.
I’m just going to come out and say it. There’s something inherently comedic about the right. Whether it is Boris Johnson, the Bullingdon Club or Daily Mail readers, there is always something to satirise. But this week I’m going to have to begin with an apology, due to my realisation that the left offers vast untapped potential for satire, potential as yet ignored by my articles on Corbyn’s detractors, the Republicans and Plastic Bag Crusaders. Demonstrated even this week by the comic incapability of Labour’s shadow cabinet over whether to take action in Syria, there is much to enjoy. As such, as way of a beginning, it seems apt to mirror the first ever edition of The Satiric Verses (1000 days of Daily Mail rule) by imagining the first three years of Guardian-led rule. Let the PC brigade roll out…
Week 1: After years of being socially left-wing, economically centrist, and living in semi-detached houses in the suburbs, the Guardian readership have had enough. The slippers are off, the dusty copy of The Communist Manifesto taken out of its box (untouched since Sixth Form), and a series of jacket-badges bought from “Not On The High Street”. Now is the time to rise up. But to rise up against…what?
Due to the left’s unrivalled ability to internally squabble, nobody is quite sure. A few repeat their default answer of the last thirty years: that they are revolting because “Maggie once shut down some pits”. Savvy media students with five colours in their hair are marching for the “proletariat”. Meanwhile, groups of white girls, all walking stereotypes, weep in the streets over Starbucks closures across the country, due to Tory free market policies.
But they do have one thing on their side: a ton of cleverly worded banners and placards. Chanting the latest Mercury Prize winning hits, they march on Downing Street, eventually forcing David Cameron out with incessant whinging about the state of the country. Electing Guardian editor Katharine Viner as the second ever female prime minister, the future looks bright for the Guardian People’s Party, otherwise known as the GPP.
Week 5: Internal squabbling between the vegetarian and vegan sides of the party mean that a Cabinet is still yet to be formed. The price of meat rises drastically, with producers anticipating a ban in the coming months. Like the coalmines thirty years earlier, another famous British industry, the full English breakfast, faces its darkest days. Despite this, internally the party seems positively calm, compared to the tumultuous disagreements of Jeremy Corbyn’s cabinet.
In addition, Black Friday is banned, Viner identifying it as a primary symbol of the capitalist hegemony. Amazon leaves the UK, actually managing to increase domestic tax revenue.
Week 10: The cabinet is finally formed. Russell Brand is appointed Foreign Secretary, Polly Toynbee replaces her antithesis Theresa May as Home Secretary, whilst John McDonnell retains his position as Chancellor of the Exchequer due to the public perception that he was a stereotype already. Corbyn is sent on gardening leave, as he returns home to Islington to try and achieve his lifelong ambition – to grow gluten-free alfalfa.
Week 20: The first policies are slowly introduced. Many post-war babies fondly remember being given milk twice a day in the school days and nostalgia amongst GPP supporters old enough to remember Clement Atlee dictates that this is re-introduced. But days later, outcry! The vegan faction of the party threatens to leave over bovine rights. They will only be placated by one thing: kale smoothies. Children are force-fed these green concoctions twice a day, and indoctrinated into believing that that their actions are helping the newly-nationalised agriculture sector. Britain aims to produce 60 per cent of world kale by 2020, replacing financial services as their leading export.
Week 35: The welfare state is slowly expanded. The most controversial aspect is an honesty box policy – take as much as you feel you need, and pay as much tax as you can afford. Unsurprisingly, revenue falls. But never fear, as hordes of refugees enter the country under the open door policy to staff the NHS. Welfare is also extended to pet owners, who can get up to £50 per pet, per week, and to Daily Mirror readers.
Week 52: One year on, and meat is finally banned, satisfying the core support of the GPP. Never mind the GOP’s Tea Party, fundamentalist GPP supporters are part of the Skinny Latte Party. Additionally, it becomes illegal to give babies gender-specific names. The most popular names for 2016 are Fennel, Focaccia and Portobello.
Week 75: The ugly side of the GPP begins to form, as junior doctors strike over what they see as unfair working conditions, claiming that their canteen only offers three main meals a day, and that eight hours a week is a far too strident a task. Furthermore, in a recent Palestine vs England match at Wembley, Palestine attracts more support than England.
Week 105: To celebrate two years of GPP governance, five hundred years’ worth of history is eradicated, when Polly Toynbee decrees that the Houses of Parliament have merely preserved patriarchal politics for aeons. They are torn down, and turned into social housing. The seat of power shifts south of the river, to the O2 Academy Brixton. Culture Secretary Brian May is quoted saying, “The Brixton Academy has bred a number of nebulous self-publicists in the past, so our country’s future is in safe hands.”
Week 120: Right-wing news outlets are banned, due to being every variety of –ist under the sun. The Mail is branded sexist, racist, classist, jingoist and speciesist. Meanwhile, the term “champagne socialist” is banned, and the leaders of IS are extended an olive-branch during a landmark dinner at the Cereal Café.
Week 140: The government begins to quake. Disaffected enemies of the GPP have united under one banner: that of Rupert Murdoch. He buys Starbucks, immediately announcing a new range of festive frappes, including clove-scented apple. The catch is that it can only be bought by denouncing Prime Minister Viner, and voting against her in the snap-2018 election. Aware of the Instagram likes which could be earned by snapping such a drink, supporters desert the GPP in their droves.
Week 155: The GPP is defeated by a Murdoch-led Conservative party in the election. The gay, vegan refugee community manages to win 30% of the vote, but omnivores see the Conservatives home. A number of key macroeconomic objectives have failed during the GPP’s tenure. Kale production peaked at 45% of world supply, laws to make gluten-free products zero-rated were not passed in time, whilst, despite £3 billion of investment, the UK still lost at Eurovision. Political commentators, looking back, saw one positive arising from the GPP’s ashes – Russell Brand was never seen again.
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