Morecambe & Wise were funny once. Really. I remember laughing. The whole nation looked forward to their Christmas show; briefly united in laughter around the television. Stars of stage and screen humiliated themselves to appear with them. They were beloved.
Then, one day, they weren’t funny any more.
At first, we were just embarrassed for them. We tittered, pretending to be amused. Then, as we saw re-runs of old shows, we realised something strange had happened. Fashion had changed so dramatically, so harshly, that it was as if they had never been funny. It was tragic, particularly for Eric & Ernie themselves. They carried on with the old routines. They were written by the same guy, performed with the same professionalism, but they just didn’t work any more. The magic was gone.
In the dying days of the Blair regime, as we face the War of the Labour Succession, something similar is happening. Blair, Brown, Blears, Milliband, Reid and the rest of the gang plug away at the old material. They spin the spin that brought them to power and kept them there. We used to lap it up, but now they leave the stage to the sound of their own footsteps, puzzled and sad.
It is as if their spin was never true.
So, why, I have to ask, when it is time for some alternative
comedy politics, is Dave Cameron rehearsing New Labour's old routines?