The Cambridge Geek

Hugo Rifkind's Search for Power

Hugo Rifkind, who I know almost entirely from The News Quiz, (though I'm led to believe he does do other things), has managed to wangle a series on the radio to talk about power and who has it. Evidently he has enough to get a radio show, but does he have more than this episode's primary considerations, that is, MPs?

There are a lot of the devils about, and you might wonder what those who aren't in the cabinet (no, not with a vicar and a feather duster) are actually capable of doing. To find out, Rifkind talks to a number of MPs, including a former chief whip, about the strange things the public ask them to do, and the strange things they whip MPs for.

It's certainly an interesting insight, though naturally the politicians are a bit reserved about the actual power they have, being more comfortable talking about helping people get shoe refunds or change flights. Especially when you look at things like private members' bills which theoretically allow an MP to invent laws entirely on their own.

That gives us a little wander off into the psychologies of MPs, via upskirting and comparisons of the Tory backbench with Victorian swingers clubs (I'm paraphrasing slightly). And the ability they have to both censor any broadcasting of the Commons for satire while being allowed to say anything they like without fear of slander due to Parliamentary privilege.

While I've no small curiousity about how the hell things actually get done (or more frequently now, not done), I will confess I listened to this, and will continue to listen to this, because of Rifkind's style. Listeners of the news quiz will be aware of his dry approach to comedy, with the jokes usually appearing in an unexpected manner, but always being hilarious. (His first rib-tickler about the likely listening audience was pleasingly brutal.) He's also entertainingly obsessed with who has more power than him, a topic from which almost everyone annoyingly demurs.

Still, there's enough here to be going on with, and I'll keep following along.

(And if you happen to want to read something about it by an actual journalist, who can hopefully provide some deeper insight, Rifkind has his own article about the series.

Score 4

Tagged: Radio Comedy Cast Informative News/Political