Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Hunt For Middle England

The hunt is a BBC4 90 minute documentary in which stand-up comedian and actor (in the great The Thick of It) Chris Addison searches for the place called Middle England and the people who inhabit it.

The problem is, nobody wants to admit to being a Middle Englander. Chris tries shouting in the street, going on a local radio phone-in show, and advertising in the Daily Mail, all to no avail. Absolutely nobody comes forth.

He tries:-

The Women's Institute
The National Trust
A book club in a Lincolnshire village
The set of Midsomer Murders
A golf club in Guildford

The interviewees admit to a lot of things, seem to have all the supposed characteristics of being Middle English, but never ever call themselves such. At the end, Chris comes to the conclusion that although Middle England is more a state of mind than a specific place or type of person, maybe actual Middle Englanders have emigrated. The programme runs out of time and he never gets to go abroad.

Of course Middle England is not a place. People are not Middle English. The term was made up by the media to make us feel that there are a decent, hard-working, right-thinking silent majority of people out there. When the media reports that politicians want to win over Middle England, they mean only one thing. Politicians want to appeal to the floating voter.

Floating voters decide elections. They have no strong allegiance to Labour or the Conservatives or the Lib Dems. They are disillusioned with the current Government. They are always disillusioned but they have to weigh up whether they want to see a government from a different party.

Floating voters ask themselves:

Will another party be tougher on crime or immigration? Will they be less sleazy or two-faced? Can they be trusted to do the right things, the good things? The Tories were in for too long and got too big for their boots. Now the same's happening to New Labour. It might be time for Cameron. Why not? Give him a chance. Fresh broom and all that. He's got a fresh face just like Blair had ten years ago. Oh dear. Blair had a fresh face but look where that got us with all this crime and immigration. Can Cameron be trusted? Can a fresh face be trusted? What about an old face like Campbell's? No. What am I thinking of, why would I want the Liberals in, they haven't been in power for 100 years. No, it's between Cameron and Brown. Brown? He's an old fashioned socialist! He'll tax us to death! Unless he has a strong Chancellor. What about the NHS? It's terrible the way hospitals are nowadays. Do I trust the Tories with the NHS? Well, they can't do a worse job than Labour, can they? And they will be tougher on crime. And immigration. But what about litter? The streets are a mess! And there's road charging! I'm totally against that! Labour just tax, tax, and tax again. Stealth tax! But I want to reduce my carbon footprint. Oh, it's so confusing. The Greens are nutters. All veggie nutters just like my niece. Did you know she refused to eat her nut roast at Christmas just because my wife poured gravy on it? Well scrape it off, you silly girl! Europe! God, I forgot Europe! How could I forget Europe and their centralising decisions, taking away decisions from us! Decisions, decisions...Blair hasn't done such a bad job. I'm always impressed by him, even with all the crime and the immigration. Oh God, politics! No, I couldn't vote for Brown. No way could I vote for a Scot. Oh my God, I sound racist. Why shouldn't I vote for a Scot? There's nothing wrong with Scots. Cameron's a Scottish name! Cameron, Brown, Campbell! They're all Scots! Right, I'm voting Cameron! Cameron it is then! That's it! Get the Tories back in! Sort this country out! He is very young though, isn't he?

Yeah, let's get Cameron in. Sort this country out.

Middle Englander = Floating Voter = Blairite Tory


  1. I'd be impressed if Middle Englanders spoke Middle English.

  2. I heard your floating voter on the bus today. The scary thing was that he was a fresh faced student who said ‘Cool’ after every sentence.
    And surely ‘Cool’ is what the middle aged, middle Englanders are all saying by now.

    Putting the NHS in the care of Cameron is like putting Murph in charge of the fridge.

  3. Billy - Our olde Englishe teacher used to recite the Canterbury Tales in Middle English Chaucerian dialect. Which was unintentionally hilarious. I wonder whether he used it at home?

    Kaz - I think it's obligatory (obligaTORY) for students and new graduates to say "cool" round here. I hate that word.

  4. Darn, Billy beat me to the punchline.

    There are scads of places trying to be Olde English, but none being Middle English. How about Modern England or Post-Modern England?

  5. I'd like to see a Middle English sheepdog and down some Middle English Cider.

  6. The old Daily Mail Editor was David Middle English wasn't it?

    I'm putting my trust in Kaz's YP party hoping that she will make me "Minister with special responsibilities for the Fridge". I believe Prescott currently holds the office.

  7. So long as the YP Party doesn't start giving out honours to fridge magnates, I'll be happy.

  8. Fucking excellent, excuse my French, post, Geoff.

    I always hear Middle England as being a bit pejorative. People say it to be nasty about the blind prejudices and ignorance displayed by most people, when it comes down to what they care about, which always turns out to be themselves.

  9. If I asked most people I know what they thought of Middle England they'd think I was talking about Birmingham. Which is how I like it.

  10. hi there!

    Do you know where i can download or buy the documentary?


  11. Sorry, I don't. I doubt the BBC will have it on sale but there must be somewhere you can see it online. I've no idea where though.