Tag Archives: right wing rhetoric

The Lib Dems (and Labour) could learn from Russell T Davies

Christine Jardine wrote about the 60th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination earlier this week. The day after, 23rd November, marked 60 years since the first episode of Doctor Who was broadcast.

For me, ever since the very first episode I watched in 1974, it’s been a  constant source of joy, inspiration, curiosity and adrenaline rushes. There seems to be quite an affinity between Lib Dems and Doctor Who. We identify with a socially awkward eccentric travelling through time and space saving peoples and worlds and universes, a lot of the time from themselves.

Last night marked a new era for the show. Or, more accurately, a reboot of one of the most successful ones. Russell T Davies is back as head writer and has reunited much of the team who brought the show back so brilliantly in 2005. Much as I love the Doctor and all his companions, it simply hasn’t been as good since RTD left in 2009.

David Tennant, the first actor to return for a second stint as the Doctor is reunited with Catherine Tate who played his last regular companion, Donna Noble. The way her character developed over 13 episodes was outstanding, but then the Doctor, against her will, wiped her memory to save her life.

Russell T Davies really knows how to play with your emotions and not just in Doctor Who.  In the drama It’s a Sin, he just breaks you as he contrasts the  horrendous cruelty of discrimination against people with HIV and AIDS with the love and support of friends.

Last night’s Star Beast had plenty tugs on your heartstrings. Joy, apprehension, fear, optimism, love, the fierce, protective love of a mother for her daughter being just a few.  The one thing he is not is subtle. You are in no doubt about what he is saying, and those of us on the progressive side of politics could learn a lot from him.

Right wing politicians have been dividing and ruling us for too long now. They are not known for hiding their rhetoric under a bushel. Look at how Conservative politicians treat vulnerable asylum seekers, set about removing benefits from sick people who can’t work and demonise trans people because they think it is politically expedient to do so. And some of them, like Nigel Farage, do so while portraying themselves as the jokey bloke down the pub that everybody loves.

While we are on the subject of Farage, rumoured to be pocketing £1.5 million for going on I’m a Celebrity, I will never forgive Have I Got News For You for showing that clip of him naked. If you haven’t seen it, you have been warned.

Sadly, those of us who want to see a more liberal and equal society  too often shy from challenging the right wing. We murmur round the edges, too timid to take them on in case we scare people from voting for us and we shrink back when the right shout at us. Even when our policies are much better, and pretty much all the  time they are, we don’t use our creative skills to appeal to the better, more compassionate side of public opinion. It’s there, but it needs to be nurtured.

And every time the right go unchallenged, they pull the political agenda a little bit more over to their side. We all lose when that happens because the country becomes a nastier, unhappier place to live, particularly for those whose lives become a lot worse as a result but the toxicity affects us all.

And so back to last night’s Doctor Who. 5.1 million people saw it, the highest for the first episode of a drama this year.  It was woke as hell, and much the better for it. You see, woke, explained properly, is all about making sure everyone can take part in life. It’s about kindness, generosity and seeing the best in our fellow humans. No wonder the Daily Mail hates it.

I’m wary of too many spoilers, but the joys included a TARDIS that anyone could access and a  scientific adviser being given the perfect tool she needed to do her job.

It was clear from the get go that Donna Noble has a brilliant relationship with her daughter, Rose. We learn that Rose is trans, confirmed by boys from her school yelling transphobic abuse at her. Every parent will recognise the furious love Donna has for Rose in that moment. We all want to protect our children and Davies evoked that beautifully.

Russell T Davies manages to get you in the gut every time. And that’s what we need to get better at.

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