Are journalists “channeling” Dr Aust?

In which Dr Aust is left feeling that British politics has “Gone Four Weddings“.

So we have a brand new coalition Government here in Britain…. run by a couple of frightfully nice well-spoken chaps.

So well-spoken and self-deprecatingly jolly, indeed, that they seem almost to have stepped out of some splendidly British drama about…. well, nice chaps. And chap-esses, of course.

Dr Aust, no doubt like many others, had already noticed this feature of some of our political leaders.

For instance, here is a comment I left on Dr Grumble’s blog back in early January:


” Perhaps this is my chance to repeat my line about “Call Me Dave” Cameron being:

“a genetically engineered hybrid of Mrs Thatcher, the Blessed Tony (Blair) and Bertie Wooster

..although you could just as easily substitute the Hugh Grant character in Four Weddings and A Funeral for Bertie Wooster. I can’t watch Four Weddings now without the eerie feeling that “Call Me Dave” is going to stroll into shot at any moment.”


And here is Telegraph political correspondent James Kirkup, on Twitter just now and widely re-tweeted:

“oh god. The country is now being run by two characters from a Richard Curtis film. “

And the same idea at more length here.

I wonder if James has been reading Dr Aust? Almost certainly not. But it does show that the triumph of the (largely privately-educated) British political class is clear to those with any sort of an eye.


Addendum: You can follow the additions to the cabinet, and get an at-a-glance guide to their educational background, here.

And of interest to scientists in the UK, David “Two Brains”  Willetts MP has been named as Minister for Universities and Science.  The first reaction from non-Tory University scientists appears to be “Could have been a lot worse”. Willetts is certainly viewed as a more heavyweight Tory figure than Adam Afriyie MP, who held the shadow portfolio for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

Addendum 2: More on David Willetts in a useful post by Mark Henderson.

and another from Michael Banks at Physics World.


12 Responses to “Are journalists “channeling” Dr Aust?”

  1. Betty M Says:

    Not many chapesses in this version of the movie unfortunately.

  2. Dr Am Ang Zhang Says:

    Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
    Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
    Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
    Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

    The Cockroach Catcher

  3. Cybertiger Says:

    The Politics of little Changelings … from the big Public School System ..

    A little boy goes to his dad and asks, What is Politics? Dad says, well son, let me try to explain it this way: I am the head of the family, so call me The Prime Minister. Your mother is the administrator of the money, so we call her the Government. We are here to take care of your needs, so we will call you the People. The nanny, we will consider her the Working Class. And your baby brother, we will call him the Future. Now think about that and see if it makes sense.

    So the little boy goes off to bed thinking about what Dad has said.

    Later that night, he hears his baby brother crying, so he gets up to check on him. He finds that the baby has severely soiled his nappy. So the little boy goes to his parent’s room and finds his mother asleep. Not wanting to wake her, he goes to the nanny’s room. Finding the door locked, he peeks in the keyhole and sees his father in bed with the nanny. He gives up and goes back to bed.

    The next morning, the little boy say’s to his father, Dad, I think I understand the concept of politics now. The father says, good, son, tell me in your own words what you think politics is all about.

    The little boy replies, the Prime Minister is screwing the Working Class while the Government is sound asleep. The People are being ignored and the Future is in deep shit.

  4. Cybertiger Says:

    AS Level in Biological Sciences June 2010. Mutliple choice questions.

    1. Dr Evan Harris has screwed Andrew Wakefield, good and proper. Who will Evan Harris screw next?

    a) Honesty, the pert and naive little science teacher

    b) Nicola Blackwood, the Tory who tipped him off his high seats in Oxford and Abingdon

    c) The Home Secretary, Teresa May … well be up for it …

    d) All of the above at once.

  5. draust Says:

    Shabby, where did you get the first joke from? That was actually funny.

    I do think your obsession with Dr Harris is becoming a bit worrying, though. Have you thought of talking to somebody about it?

    Betty: agreed that there is startling lack of women in the cabinet. And there are actually rather few people that didn’t go to Oxford or Cambridge. Luckily there are plenty of Old Etonians, though.

    Aha – the solution occurs to me. All we have to do to get more women into the cabinet is to get Eton to let in girls. Splendid! What are the chances?

  6. Cybertiger Says:

    Harris supports shabby creatures like Meadow and Southall and sticks the knife into Andrew Wakefield. And you’re not obsessed! And you’re keeping shtum! That’s worrying! No, that’s not just worrying, that’s psychopathic!

  7. draust Says:

    Ho hum.

    I don’t propose to talk about Meadow and Southall, though anyone interested in my opinions (for such they are – opinions) from a few years ago can find them in an old Bad Science comments thread here, notably in this comment.

    Anyway, they are not the subject of this thread, and nor is Andrew Wakefield. And nor is Evan Harris.

    Really, Shabby, you strike me as the kind of bloke who could pick a fight in an empty room.

  8. draust Says:

    I see two women have now been appointed to the cabinet: Theresa May, who is getting the traditionally troublesome Home Secretary job (rumoured to have been turned down by the Lib Dems), and Tory Party Chairman Baroness Sayeeda Warsi (who people may remember from the edition of BBC Question Time that featured BNP leader Nick Griffin.

    Interestingly, neither of the two went to a private school, though Theresa May is an Oxford graduate.

    Katherine Viner over at the Guardian has commented on the white Oxbridge male look of the cabinet, and has managed to start a fight in the comments thread – though that’s Comment is Free for you.

  9. Bellerophon Says:

    I used to quite fancy Theresa May, but I am responding to the medication.
    Still fancy Caroline Flint though.

  10. draust Says:

    Can’t say I’ve ever had impure thoughts about an MP…! Though when Oona King was in the house I used to reckon she would be good company for a night out on the lash. Caroline Flint too.

    One suspects Theresa May was second or third choice for the Home Office job, which a lot of the commentators seem to believe would have been offered to Clegg, and possibly also to Chris Huhne. I guess May has been given it because she is what one might call “no nonsense” and a straight talker, if nothing else. Straight talking is likely a political asset at the Home Office for its “public-facing” aspects, see David Blunkett under Labour. However, May’s views on things like gay rights and the abortion time limit have the potential to cause ructions within the coalition.

    I used to have a lot of time for Caroline Flint, again mainly for being a fairly straight talker, something one can always do with more of amongst politicians (!). But her resignation outburst was rather weird, to put it mildly.

  11. Teek Says:

    Have you read today’s Guardian Leader Editorial comment on the coalition…?!

    At times it may have felt a bit too much like a scene from a Richard Curtis movie.

    This is getting surreal…!!

    On the issue of women in the Cabinet, I have to say I’m rather disappointed too – so much for a new kind of politics in that respects.

  12. draust Says:

    Goodness. The Richard Curtis thing is getting a bit OTT. I see the Graun have even mentioned Hugh Grant!

    Perhaps we should just see it as

    “A Meme Whose Time Has Come”

    Re the women in cabinet: there are, I suppose, not many less numerically than under Gloomy Gordon. But it is hard not to have a feeling that some are partly there as a hurried attempt to make the numbers not look too embarassing.

    Now, this may be doing ministers like Caroline Spelman and Cheryl Gillan a gross disservice. Gillan has certainly been shadow Welsh Secretary, so I guess her now having the Ministry is not a last-minute fix. But compared to the prominence of, say, Harriet Harman (whatever one thinks of her), or Jacqui Smith or Tessa Jowell in the NuLab cabinets, or Mo Mowlem earlier, they are rather marginal figures. Only Theresa May is really someone who would “register” with the public. I rather suspect the second most recognisable woman in the Tory Party after May is likely to be Nadine Dorries, a thought which makes me distinctly queasy. I would hope it would do the same to the Tories.

    PS I notice from their Wikipedia entries that both Spelman and Gillan had some “trouble” in the Parliamentary expenses business.

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