Where's Balls? Paging Edward Michael 'Charged my Armistice Day Wreath to the Taxpayer' Balls. Ain't saying much, is he? Where's Brown? Where's Miliband? Where are any of them? 'Dealing with issues' no doubt.
I'll tell you where they are; they're inside watching the telly and trying to calculate how much shit is going to stick to them personally. "Stay out of sight," says a spin doctor, "Anyone who appears on TV will be be dragged in, associated, and this will stick like shit to a blanket." The spin doctors will call it image management, or something similar. They'll have a theory about faces being associated with events, flashbulb memories. It's a well worn metaphor, but Adolf's bunker does provide the best analogy. Right now it's like the final weeks: who's going to get a bunk on that submarine to south America, and who's going to be left with half a bottle of schnapps and a luger. They know the British public have short memories and they are just hoping for a long-odds break.
Balls, like all the Labour front bench, will be anxious to get on the box and start bullshitting. Feeding a string on mollifying cliches to "The People": 'transparency', 'we have learned', 'hard-working families', 'you spoke, we listened' etc. This is what politicians are trained intensively to do. Bullshit on television. He'll struggle to believe that new Labour's trusty herald, the telescreen, is an instant electronic pillory for a politician right now. The spin doctors will say, just keep your heads down, right down. Where's Mandelson? Brown's beyond saving; and now the rest eye each other nervously outside his sanctum: how do we get rid of him? Who's next and the only serious question cabinet ministers are ever truly interested in: can I pull it off? Could it be me?