Yesterday there was good reason for Brits to celebrate. In their respective sporting disciplines Murray, Hamilton and Froome excelled and inspired. Today on the BBC there are pundits discussing this and other noteworthy victories, speaking of talented young men and women who are… they hope… exemplars for a rising generation.
This comes at a time when role models are in short supply in the United Kingdom, particularly in the political arena. In fact, were the bad tempered individuals contesting the leadership of the parliamentary parties riding racing bikes, they would be less vying for the coveted Maillot Jaune than trying to avoid the ignominy their pathetic and often dishonest performances merits.
Introduced to the Tour de France in 1910, the year the race first went into the mountains, the voiture balai or broom wagon follows the last riders on the road. If the ‘balai’ catches struggling riders they must climb off and retire, handing in their race numbers. The van literally sweeps the remnants of the peloton off the road.
A metaphorical political broom wagon would have to be big enough to accommodate all those who should today be swept aside, those seemingly intent on proving that parliamentary democracy in a Great Britain, now obliged to implement Brexit, is on a shaky basis; a democracy in a post-factual state. Truth and evidence are replaced by robust narratives, opportune political agendas and impracticable political promises trotted out to maximize voter support.
A new broom sweeps clean. We can only hope…