Saturday, June 06, 2009

Comrade Commissar Gordon Chernenko

Entertaining piece by Matthew Parris this morning, in which he highlights the striking similarity between Gordo's cadaverous appearance yesterday, and Konstantin Chernenko, one of those life-support leaders the Soviets had immediately pre-Gorbachev (we'll gloss over the fact that two of Matt's most entertaining paras were lifted word for word straight out of Wiki, without attribution - albeit with quote marks).

And when you look at it, the parallels are eery.

Both Comrade C and Comrade B are zombies leading zombie governments. Both are at the helm only because no "colleague" has the guts to offer an alternative. Both are ineffectual and increasingly ludicrous figureheads propped up (literally in C's case) by Politburo colleagues. Comrade C lasts just a year before finally keeling over, and Comrade B only has a year left before he too keels.

As the year progresses, Comrade C becomes so weak he's rarely seen in public. His big set-piece speeches are written and delivered by someone else. At the annual Red Square march past, he is visible only because he's been secured to a hatstand atop the Lenin Mausoleum. But the Big Hat itself, complete with masses of gold braid, is being worn by the man who gives the leader's speech - the man who is the power behind the throne, the loathed and much feared Comrade Commissar Petrov Mandelsonski:

Are we having fun yet? (Comrade C is the second stiff from the left)

Leaders who cling on to power by shooting their opponents are one thing. Leaders who cling to power by being lashed to the hatstand are something else entirely.

PS On Any Questions one of the State Dumblebees asked Caroline Spelman why Gordo needed to call an election just because he's wildly unpopular - after all the Evil Thatch hadn't, and she was evil. Unfortunately, Spelman missed the correct answer, and wittered instead about Thursday's elections. The correct answer is - altogether now - Mrs T had been elected and therefore had a mandate. Brown - just like Chernenko - has no mandate whatsoever.

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