My Sunday Telegraph column: Why should Mr Cameron waste his time on the economy? There are biting footballers to deal with
Last weekend, the world shook with outrage after Luis Suárez, the Liverpool striker, did the single worst thing a human being has ever done, gently biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic on the bicep. But the fury was formless, undirected: what can we do? Who can lead us in this terrifying time, as man nibbles man, with no respect for the law of nation or God? And the Evil One, blood still dripping from his incisors, laughed at our impotent rage.
Then one man came forward. One brave warrior against the anarchy. A simple man, a humble Prime Minister, stood, and said: the light shall triumph over darkness.“It is rightly a matter for the football authorities to consider,” David Cameron boomed, through a spokesman. “As part of their consideration, I think it would be very understandable if they took into account the fact that high-profile players are often role models.” And Sauron – sorry, Suárez – was defeated, the newly inspired FA crushing him with a 10-match ban in domestic competitions.
We should be grateful. Why should Mr Cameron waste his time trying to prod the economy into some sort of life? On NHS reform or welfare? There are much more important things to do.
For instance, as a Liverpool fan, I appreciate him getting involved. But could he now focus on helping us find a new centre-back? “It is rightly a matter for Brendan Rogers and his staff. But as part of their consideration, it would be very understandable if they took into account Chievo’s Francesco Acerbi, who looks a bit tasty.”
He needn’t limit himself to football. “It is rightly a matter for Mick Jagger and his bandmates,” his Representative on Earth could intone. “But as part of their consideration, it would be understandable if they took into account the fact that leather trousers on a 69-year-old are pretty ridiculous.”
Or literature. He has dabbled in this area, heroically riding in on his white charger to protect the Damsel Duchess of Cambridge from Hilary Mantel, the Wicked Witch of the Booker Prize. But perhaps he could take a look at Game of Thrones. “It is rightly a matter for George R R Martin. But as part of his consideration, it would be understandable if he took into account the fact that if he doesn’t get a bloody move on writing book six, it’ll hold up the TV series, and Sam and I just can’t have that.”
Some naysayers might say that the PM’s involvement in the Suárez affair is a depressing reminder of the dumbing-down of our politics, and of his own
PR-man inability to leave a microphone alone. But they would be wrong. He is fixing the world, one issue at a time. Now, if he can just tell Disney not to mess with Star Wars.
Is there anything more dreadful than your phone going off at the wrong time? I thought this at a concert last week, in which I was so terrified of it blaring away that I didn’t trust its “silent” mode, and had to switch it off. It made me realise there’s a hierarchy of embarrassment.
At the cinema, you’re pretty relaxed, so silent is fine. At the theatre – visions of the dying Mercutio bellowing Get out of my sight! from the stage – you switch it off. At weddings, you’re more nervous still, and leave it outside in your coat pocket. At funerals I have considered pre-emptively smashing the thing with a brick. I dare say a few people at Lady Thatcher’s funeral put theirs on silent, turned them off, encased them in lead and then launched them into the centre of the sun.
Last week we learnt that A A Milne was a reluctant wartime propagandist. It’s a shame we didn’t know more about this; I like the idea of Winnie the Pooh and friends sternly warning of the German threat. “ ’We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet. ‘Even longer,’ Pooh answered. ‘Unless you fail to do your duty for Britain.’ ” Or: “They’re changing guard at Buckingham Palace. Christopher Robin went down with Alice. Alice was unmasked as a spy for the Hun; said Chris, ‘I never did like the look of that one.’ ”