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The Week

Noele Gordon

The Spectator on politics and soap operas

22 July 2009

12:00 AM

22 July 2009

12:00 AM

The news that our former editor, Boris Johnson, is to appear in EastEnders alongside Barbara Windsor may surprise some, but strikes us as entirely sensible. Modern politics, after all, is a soap opera or it is nothing; and although politicians complain bitterly about ‘tittle tattle’ and ‘personality stories’, it is they themselves who do most of the gossiping, feuding and falling in and out of love with one another. The first ten years of the New Labour government were really an extended soap about Blair Square in which Tony, Peter, Alastair, Anji, Robin and Gordon all had their ups and downs, fallings out, feuds and rivalries. Like Dirty Den, Peter always seemed to be coming back from the political grave. And Gordon was usually as sulky as Phil Mitchell on a bad day.

Doubtless Prime Minister Brown would like his government to be likened to Coronation Street: solid, beloved, reliably gripping, the purveyor of traditional values in a modern setting. But we fear that the whiff of the Seventies clings horribly to this administration. It has long passed its sell-by date and must soon be cancelled. Yes: if this government were a soap, it would surely be Crossroads.


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