In a recent TV vote carried out by British TV Channel 4, people were asked to say who were the worst 100 living Britons. The result was interesting, but perhaps not surprising. Tony Blair came top, earning first place in the list of the 100 most detested people in Britain!
The criteria of those who chose the worst 100 living Britons was obviously much sounder than those who last year chose Churchill as the best Briton ever.
Runners-up in the unpopularity race included Margaret Thatcher (number 3), after one particularly vulgar female model, and the Queen in tenth place. Several other members of the royal family had the dubious privilege of being included in the list: Prince Charles, Prince Edward, Countess of Wessex, Sarah Ferguson, Princess Anne…
Around 100,000 people took part in the vote. The scientific character of the results has been questioned as this was not a sample chosen at random, but a self-selected group who voted "with premeditation".
No matter what the experts in statistics may claim, the fact that such a large number of people bothered to speak their mind when they had a chance, and the fact that the final names are what they are, shows the profound dissatisfaction of the British people with their institutions and establishment, starting with the current head of government.
True, the survey was carried out on the eve of the war against Iraq when the vast majority of the population opposed the war passionately. But this was only the "straw which broke the camel's back". Before that we saw the disgraceful behaviour of a Labour government in the Fire Brigade dispute when two thirds of the population were supporting the strikers, to cite just one other example. In general, this government is far out of touch with the opinions and aspirations of ordinary people. This is the message of the poll.
It is also significant that so many pop and film stars scored badly. Among others we have a couple of Spice Girls, Sir Cliff Richard, Naomi Campbell, Catherine Zeta Jones, Elton John, David Beckham. These are usually presented in the media as popular figures and role models whom we must all imitate and strive to be like!
This tells us a lot about how most people feel about every day life. They are completely fed up with the show biz "personalities" who are forced into our life through all the media whether we like it or not. The very fact that people can accept this is a reflection of the absolute emptiness and lack of personal incentive and perspective that characterises the lives of many. It is just a meaningless routine in which "today is like yesterday and tomorrow like today". But this poll shows that many people are no longer happy with "bread and circus", as in the days of the Roman Empire.
There was one surprising result: Iain Duncan Smith, the Tory leader, scored rather nicely, coming in at 99. However, this does not show he is a popular figure but simply confirms that he is such a nonentity that people do not consider him worthy of mention. In all probability, they did not even remember his name.
Tony Blair may be trying to find refuge behind the opinions of those who are in the business of producing statistics, but this will not change reality. This poll reveals the growing discontent of the British public in general, and the working class and youth in particular. A man with a high fever will not get very far by smashing the thermometer to prove he does not have a temperature. This is just how Tony Blair is behaving now.