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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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HomeCulture WarSunak and Starmer, the PEZ heads

Sunak and Starmer, the PEZ heads

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READERS of a certain age will no doubt fondly remember a confectionery staple of their schooldays. PEZ was founded in Austria by Edward Haas in 1927 and went on to become a global phenomenon.

The name is an abbreviation of PfeffErminZ (German for peppermint), and originally the product was a round peppermint lozenge called PEZ drops. Over time, a new manufacturing process evolved and the hard-pressed brick shape known today was created.

The company’s success was cemented by the dispensers in which the sweets were sold. With a variety of ‘heads’ they became a must have item for fashionable and sweet-toothed children. Today there are hundreds of varieties available worldwide, many tailored to local culture, while the lozenge remains the same.

I was reminded of this when watching Sir Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak being interviewed recently. Despite the heads being different, the contents that they delivered were identical. Policies wrapped in a smart new dispenser but in effect totally indistinguishable.

With an election looming, the put-upon electorate will unfortunately have to suffer an endless carnival of mendacity and intrigue with each party leader earnestly promoting his hackneyed wares. The legacy media – part of this dismal charade – will try to whip up interest with irrelevant TV debates where ‘winners and losers’ will be decided by inane and irrelevant soundbites or possibly by their wardrobe selection. What a depressing prospect.

We have already been treated to an amuse bouche of Sunak showboating sincerity and concern on GB News. Many viewers, like me, will have been screaming that very Anglo-Saxon expletive, so wonderfully employed by Logan Roy in Succession.

The grisly spectacle will only get worse as election day draws nearer. I can already see the inevitable vox pop interviews with clueless individuals on high streets up and down the land, and the handover to the studio anchor with the words: ‘Well, there you have it, many people remain undecided, and these floating voters could make a real difference.’

What is unquestionable, however, is that despite voters being hosed down with honeyed words, preposterous slogans and undeliverable promises, in four years’ time absolutely nothing will have changed materially for the better.

The armada of small boats will still be landing along the south coast.

The NHS will be a broken, dysfunctional institution with record waiting lists.

The military will be a hollowed out useless fighting force.

Train drivers will be on strike.

People living in areas blighted by crime and drug dealing will get no help whatsoever.

The war on motorists will continue unimpeded.

The crazy Net Zero project will be prosecuted with greater zeal.

Diversity, equity and inclusion will march briskly forward, stamping on anything in its way.

Judges and Lords will continue to frustrate the will of the people.

Rwanda will still be argued over.

More local councils will declare themselves bankrupt.

Taxes will stay at uneconomic levels.

The BBC will continue to spew out biased reporting.

Disinformation will be the new buzzword.

Harry and Meghan will still be making headlines.

Just Stop Oil will accelerate their imbecilic stunts.

The smearing of opponents to the brave new world will still be labelled right wing (extreme, far, ultra or hard).

Finally, we will be extremely close to, if not actually in, the EU’s warm embrace.

As Britain sinks deeper into the putrid mire of its own making, we can rejoice at least that Strictly will be back in the autumn schedules.

What on earth have we become?

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Alexander McKibbin
Alexander McKibbin
Alexander McKibbin is a retired media executive who worked across domestic and international media.

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