The efforts of a madman on a beach in Tunisia, and the more drawn out, less explosive, madness of various men in Athens, ensured that domestic matters were shuffled to the background during the course of the political week. The record shows that the Commons spent three days dissecting the Government’s plans for more devolution to Scotland, and that there was an adjournment debate on the old-fashioned topic of keeping open uneconomic coal mines – led by Ed Milliband, late of the leadership parish. Yet none of this constituent matter of the kapok stuffing of democracy, as it were, cut through. Scotland managed to make a minor incision when an English Conservative MP, Philip Hollobone, complained that there were too many MPs whose surname starts with “Mc” holding up the parliamentary voting, but generally the country carried on as if the House of Commons did not exist. The voters of Kettering meanwhile should take note that their delegate is a coward: Mr Hollobone meant to say, but could not quite manage it, that there are simply too many McSomethingorother MPs full stop.

Into this vaccum of domestic politics arrived Norman Lamb, the man whose role it is not to be elected leader of the Liberal Democrats. In the course of fulfilling his destiny, Mr Lamb sought this week to draw our attention to the important issue that there are not enough lesbian characters in Peppa Pig. Mr Lamb is of the opinion that if pre-school children – the primary audience of Peppa Pig, the secondary one being university students – encounter more lesbians at an early age they are less likely to find lesbians remarkable when they grow up. Implicit in this analysis therefore is the idea that the rest of us, who were raised when it was not considered important to introduce Clangers who swing both ways into the storyline, are necessarily a bit more biased against same-sex equality than we ought to be. We must endure this with fortitude and divert a similar atrocity from rushing along the wadi of indifference that leads towards our children

We shall leave aside the proprietaries of a man called Lamb interfering in the world of pigs – this blog has no desire to incite butchers of the different factions to start attacking each other with cleavers – but only consider Mr Lamb’s choice of priorities. If it is the case that Peppa Pig displays an unhealthy attitude towards minorities, then it must also be true that there are other minorities – ISIS terrorists for example, or Aborigines– who are similarly unrepresented in its world. Why would it not be equally to the good of our children to discover them, or even other oppressed creatures such as Liberal Democrats, while following Ms Pig’s charming adventures?

On this topic, as far as one can tell, there is nothing but the silence of the Lamb and we must conclude that this singling out of lesbians is part of a cunning, but scurrilous, tactic to discomfort Tim Farron, the man who will beat Mr Lamb to the ledership prize. Mr Farron, it may not be recalled, voted against the same-sex marriage bill at its third reading, an act that was rooted in some manner of principle, but which he now sincerely regrets because of what are called its optics. Those who believe that the ability of people of the same gender to marry each other is not only the most important issue facing the country, but the only issue, are disproportionately represented among Liberal Democrats. Farron has bad form on the matter, and never mind how much he pleads his support for gay weddings in principle, he is irreparably tarnished. And now Lamb has put him on the spot over Peppa Pig. It is too late. Farron could move the Peppa Pig (Lesbian Character Quota) Bill tomorrow and his position would still be suspect.

Not that this will stop Farron from becoming his party’s next leader for if there is one thing Liberals like better than marrying off to each other people of the same sex it is winning elections, and Mr Farron is deemed the more likely to be able to help them do that. He is, the third reading vote notwithstanding, altogether the more accomplished politician and thus can look forward to being crowned in Bournemouth later in the year at the Lib Dem conference. There will be 200 BBC journalists present to witness this event, we also discovered, which works out as 25 for each one of their Westminster representatives. This is heavy chaperoning indeed, though it should be noted that the BBC has entered in mitigation the plea that not all of those who have signed to attend will end up bothering to go. Thus the egregious waste of licence fee payers money is held to be a less disreputable vice than hanging out on the south coast with a bunch of muddle-heads obsessed with the idea of sexualising CBeebies.

Eventually, of course, it will not be necessary to have party conferences at all – or, for that matter the BBC – since everything will end up being transacted, like justice in Michael Gove’s vision of the future, through social media. BBC3, a television station aimed at adolescents who have had too much Peppa Pig for one day, is to be moved on-line and layers of Corporation management pruned from something like 60 to 50. This, however, may not be enough for the Beeb to stave off George Osborne, with the Chancellor having it in his mind that Auntie might like to pick up the tab for 4.5 million “free” television licences. These are handed out to the elderly on the spurious, if patronising, grounds that there is nothing more germane to their lives than watching daytime television.

Free television licences are so popular that many people are discovering ways of not having to wait until they get old to experience them. The same effect can be achieved by dint of just not paying, on the grounds that all one does is catch-up with iPlayer on one’s handheld. So, in return for part-funding the welfare state, the Budget may tell us that the Beeb is to be allowed to charge for iPlayer. This is a clever way of making sure that those of us who fork over the licence fee get to pay twice for Auntie’s content for the sake of subsidising those who don’t like paying at all.

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