shame again, please

In keeping with the anti-materialist spirit of these pages, it occurred to me after a few seasonal crossed synapses that the recent festivities would be a lot more enjoyable if we could get rid of things, as well as acquiring them. And not just those generic presents that go straight into the emergencies drawer. I’m talking about vapourising larger and more annoying things – like Westfield, for instance, or  ‘Sir’ Philip Green.  

Actually, I’d settle for Stephen Fry. Oh, for a personalised Fairy Godmother and some serious wand action.

Lacking these, we emerge into 2011 with more of what made 2010 such a crap year: debt (will somebody please explain how heading for the sales on  Boxing Day  to stack up yet more of it is helping the economy?), unhappy students, overpaid bankers and the disaster of  Cancun , which quite frankly makes everything else moot, as nobody’s going to care much about unpaid bills or a 2:2 in  Gender Studies  when they’re drowning in rising oceans and starving refugees, or shrivelling into a corncob with heat stroke.

(On the student protests  thing, though I did my very best to urge Magnus onto the barricades from the safe distance of my phone, honesty compels me to admit that a lot of courses are indeed useless. But ‘universities’ get paid according to the numbers they can pull in, so of course they offer whatever sounds glamorous, whether or not it’s likely to offer an escape from the Jobseeker’s Allowance. The Worthless Degrees Desert  that has replaced the Wine Lake and the  Butter Mountain  is entirely of the government’s making, and they could solve the problem quite simply by only subsidising the courses we’re actually going to need in the future – like grey-water sanitation, for instance, or  squirrel-skinning ).

It was exciting to see them take to the streets, but not so exciting when the BBC decided to squish once and for all its reputation for left-wing bias by framing the whole protest as a new branch of homegrown terrorism, rather than the legitimate exercise of half-forgotten  civil rights. 

So, as getting mad is not going to rid the world of this vile government and all its works, we’re going to have to get creative instead. I hereby offer up, as my New Year’s gift, an alternative approach to  regime change .

Like most of the evidence of genius sprinkled over these pages, it originated from a chance remark of Mr Fixit’s, during one of those interminable conversations about  classroom discipline  that bind a family together like dried porridge to its spoon.

‘In my young day’ he revealed, ‘if you messed about in class, they’d make you wear a pair of girl’s knickers on your head for the rest of the day.’ ‘But there were no girls at your school!’, we chorused. ‘Ugh! Of course not’!’ he responded,  leaving the room briefly for a whole-body shower and change of clothing, before returning to explain: ‘They kept a store of them, clean of course, in the sick room.’

Suddenly, vistas of possibility opened up. All those non-doms booking up our nice restaurants and hiking up prices in places ordinary folks once lived? It doesn’t have to be that way. Think of all the people who really depress you. Then think of them with  baggy pants  on their heads. We can embarrass them out of the country!

It’s already happening, here and there. The folks up at  38 degrees  are about to unleash an epidemic of billboards depicting George Osborne as the Artful Dodger, which from dim memories of ‘Oliver!’ seems almost generous – though the hat certainly doesn’t do much for that face.

And this method has form. The most deadly in the arsenal of interrogator’s weapons is called The Mother. All agents of the law know that even the most hardened lifer is terrified of her rage, but even more of her ability to humiliate. The mere thought of what she could reveal in the area of  blankies  and infant diet fads is enough to spill any amount of beans.

Ideally there should be an audience to witness the humiliation, which is where the Spanish debt collectors score with their  pink bunny outfits . Even the most shameless felon might lose his cool, if his moves on a piece of  prime tail in a fancy cocktail bar were suddenly interrupted by the arrival of an eight foot tall fluffy animal, brandishing a summons.

Over here, where giant rabbits are not so readily available, all you need is an address for the intended victim, and  will do the rest.

Best if it’s an office address. And an open plan office. Just picture Michael Gove or Simon Hughes burying that in his morning’s constituency correspondence.

But for real impact, you need a decent haul of witnesses. In the public humiliation arena, big is definitely best. So why not call in a flashmob? After all, if they can stage the world’s biggest pillow fight, they could certainly attract a few thousand for, say, the recital of David Cameron’s worst Bullingdon Club limericks.

You may already have spotted the fatal flaw in this strategy.  If there’s one class of human on the planet that’s entirely without shame, it’s politicians. In two words: Sarko,  shoe-lifts .

But think again. Why did David Milliband lose the Labour leadership? Nothing to do with the TUC, or even his ears. It was that  banana .

And anyhow, whatever the result, it’ll certainly be fun trying.