At the End of the Day

The Jekyll & Hyde of Captain Slapdash

Not many of you will know this, but the Mr Hyde to my Dr Jekyll is an alter ego called Captain Slapdash. In the case of spin in need of debunking – and other subjects that interest me – I do try hard to be Ernie the Empirical Evaluator. But when it comes to paint, nails, screwdrivers and right-angles, Ernie makes a dash for the nearest telephone box in order to change into Captain Slapdash the Bodging Bungler.

I’m fine if all that’s required is a decision on colours, spacial arrangement, light, contrast and composition. But ask me to persevere with spirit levels, exact measurements, allowances for curves or hinge behaviour, and you will regret making the demand. I am not a DIY person: I am a HACTODI person – Hire a Craftsman To Do It.

But Captain Slapdash does have his uses, and occasionally he is called upon to take the sort of action involved in planetary salvation. When there has been a tempest, for example, and the need arises for someone to put a fence back up, shift a socking great tree branch off the roof of the car, or pull the pool cover down from the oak tree, Slapdash comes into his own. For while others would discuss optimal strategy, calculate required leverage ratios and explain why doing such-and-such a thing wouldn’t work, I tend to get the hammer out and hit things very hard, reach for some rope, and ring the insurance company.

The key difference between my good self and politicians is that, whereas Captain Slapdash is my Mr Hyde, for them he is Dr Jekyll: David Cameron, Barack Obama, Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband, Mario Rajoy, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Antonis Samaras are – every last one of them – Captain Slapdash 97.7% of the time.

I can exemplify the certainty of this theory with a few straightforward observations. David Cameron’s fervour for the HS2 train to Manchester was, on the admission of his own civil servants, something worked out in ten minutes on the arse-side of a menu. Obamacare was put together with close to zero acknowledgement of the size of US foreign debt. Nick Clegg’s support for the EU seems to be almost entirely based on “Well, it gave me a job and a pension”. Ed Miliband’s critique of the British Government’s economic policy consists of interminable repetitions of the phrase “The Prime Minister just doesn’t get it”. Mario Rajoy’s declaration of the Spanish economic miracle requires all listeners to forget that his banks are as empty as the houses upon which they granted mortgages. Ms Kirchner’s answer to opponents of her country’s default is “The Malvinas belong to Argentina”. And Greek Brussels stooge Antonikis Samaras insists that a budget surplus totalling under 1% of Greek debt heralds the end of his country’s fiscal problems.

So it is that I wonder if maybe Captain Slapdash should be elevated to a new status at The Slog, with his own slapdash column appearing at irregular intervals based on a slapdash schedule and consisting largely of a mindless approach to important issues after the style of Mark Williams-Thomas and his self-serving slapdash definition of paedophilia.

What think you all?

Earlier at The Slog: Unearned privilege versus Earned Public Responsibility