Nobody knows anything any more: here’s my guide to winging it | Hadley Freeman

Boring things such as manifestos and policies are evidence of a political nature, which is unacceptable in politics now. Just make up your answers on the spot

These are wonderful periods glorious! for people like me who are trained for absolutely nothing. The worst thing you can be is an trained expert with any form of experience, especially if you are running for political office. So, given my only certification is a degree in English literature, which entails Im qualified to read novels, something most people manage without accreditation, this entails Im equipped to run a country. Election for me: I once wrote an essay on Thomas Hardy and the pathetic fallacy! Presidential and prime ministerial candidates have been campaigning on less.

Faith in the political system, the cliche goes, has been broken in the US by a series of dodgy wars, and in the UK by one particular war. Whether the desired result of this peoples revolution is a former education secretary dismissing the economists who warned that Brexit was a bad idea with the airy claim, People in this country have had enough of experts, or Andrea Leadsom is recommended that being a mother is a more important qualification than, say, six years as home secretary, is a different issue. Gosh, was that a baby I merely watched flying past the window along with the bath water?

Perhaps Leadsom discontinued the race to be Tory leader because she realised ministerial experience is quite helpful when running for PM, perhaps because she made the error of beefing up her CV that old school mistake of exaggerating her expertise when she should have downplayed it. Theresa May was the ultimate winner, but Leadsoms implosion will not change the mood. Only as any flaws in leadership candidates for either party have been quoth as proof they are not career politicians, so any failures have been seen as evidence of darknes machinations of threatened elitists( a word that now seems synonymous with experts) running a black ops operation, as Iain Duncan Smith set it. Never mind that the events of the past few months have repeatedly proved our so-called elites can scarcely figure out how to coordinate their breaths and inhales, any criticism is rejected as grand conspiracy.

Not since the charming 1993 movie Dave, in which an innocent employment agency owner( Kevin Kline) takes over as chairperson, has the homespun outsider been so heavily touted as the solution. But the real-life outcomes have felt a little more like a clown school in chaos than a joyful sequel to King Ralph. Caring about winning elections is Westminster-centric, according to Diane Abbott, which might come as news to the working classes whose subsistences depend on the Labour party being able to effect laws. Its the ultimate anti-intellectualism, a mood that values emotions and personality over debate and experience, and you need only look to America to see the endgame, where Donald Trump thinks understanding showbusiness is a political qualification. Sadly, it seems hes not entirely wrong about that.

Anyway, this is the world we now live in. But if American billionaires and the Leave campaign, staffed by bankers and the privately educated, can claim to be fighting the elites, then so can I. If any of you are considering operating for public office and, these days, who isnt? here are my three golden rules for non-expert outsiders.

First, theres no need for political experience when you have a family. Admittedly, this tactic didnt run so well for Leadsom, but merely because she contrasted her saintly motherhood with Mays suspect childlessness, which even Tories insured as a little bit much. But legislators have been insinuating this crap for years, inducing doe-eyed references to their families, as though having had unprotected sexuality at some point is a political triumph. The only skill motherhood “ve been given” is a tolerance for being peed on at regular intervals. Does that help with running a country? Apparently so.

Second, scheming is for losers and winging its for winners. Boring things such as manifestos and policies are evidence of a political nature, which is unacceptable in politics now. Just make up your answers on the spot: imprison women who have abortions! Construct a wall! Then keep the news cycle moving so people forget what you just said.

Third, maintain an unshakeable self-belief. Remember, in this Through-The-Looking Glass-with-added-doublespeak world, where ignorance is a virtue, experience is suspect and electability is worse, everything you do and say , no matter how damaging, is great. Caused the pound to nosedive? You saved Britain! Someone pointed out your mistake? Theyre corrupt! Youre perfect, you massive ignoramus.

As for the rest of us, the key thing to recollect is that things can always get worse. Guess you hit rock bottom with Leadsom and the Leave campaign? So did America with Sarah Palin, merely for Trump to turn up. Buckle up, Britain.

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