Fightin’ words


Will Mapplebeck is on the election trail to boredom.

People like them, politicians should tell more of them. True stories; not Paul Nuttall’s flights of career fancy, but tales of where we are now, where they want to take us and the endless possibilities on the road ahead.

But on last Sunday I watched the Prime Minister continue her one-woman mission to turn this election into the most boringpolitical contest in living memory.

When interviewed by Andrew Marr, she didn’t just fail to set out a vision, she actively reduced her Government’s programme to little more than a technocrat’s shopping list. There was no beginning, no middle, no end. No picture of where we could be, no vision for the future, no narrative. At a key time in our nation’s history we have a foregone conclusion and a dull one at that. There’s not even the prospect of a live TV debate to look forward to. 

The Vicar’s daughter is good on the figures, but to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, she knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing. ‘Strong and Stable Leadership’ faces some pretty stiff competition, but is likely the greyest election tag-line of all time. Maybe I’m being particularly harsh on the Vicar’s Daughter because the night before, I’d gazed at a huge screen enthralled as a pair of six feet six inch men knocked seven bells out of each other.

Klitschko vs Joshua was good, really good. The best fight I’ve ever seen. Eleven rounds of see-sawing drama, courage and exhaustion – an epic contest. The word epic applies, because the story of the fight was a narrative right out of Hollywood. The 41 year-old former champion, coming back from the career wilderness to fight the 27 year-old bright young thing who has risen from the streets in one of the richest title fights ever. They go at each other for 11 rounds. One falls, then the other. One staggers to the ropes, then the other.

It seems as if there is no way back for either man at various stages, but somehow it lasts until the penultimate round, when Joshua summons his last bit of energy in a winner-takes-all effort to finally see off his rival. When the referee finally stops in, saving Klitschko from another knock down, 80,000 people at Wembley go mad. In the pub that I was in total strangers hugged each other as drinks flew. Then, instead of gloating or hatred, both men embrace. Klitschko thanks the crowd, AJ calls the Ukranian a legend. Everyone is happy, they feel better about themselves because of what they’ve witnessed and secretly we all pray that a re-match won’t happen because no fight between them could be that incredible. To do it all again would sully the memory.

This was a compelling ‘event’, a thing to see, a contest to remember, a story to tell – everything our current political slug fest is not.