Unguarded John Handpicked Therapeutically

When the lovely Jo gave me unguarded John handpicked therapeutically to write about, I was hit by a metaphorical wave of John. Thankfully, there are no Johns that I know that fit into this category, but Johns from the media past and present? There are many. John Major, John Terry, John Prescott, John Sessions, John Sargeant, John Humphries… I could go on, but then I would risk losing my reader. In my eyes, there are only really two Johns in that list who could be described as unguarded. John Terry and John Prescott.

John Terry has been the subject of more text jokes this week than Michael Jackson. Now, I know very little about football and don’t really understand the ins and outs of the situation (hence why I shall move fairly swiftly onto the easy joke of John Prescott), but I’m not sure I understand why John Terry is in quite as much trouble as he is. Yes, I know he slept with the wife of one of his colleagues, which is undefendable. If you do that kind of thing, you are a git. But if I had an affair with a workmate, would I be at risk of losing my job? I’m not sure that I would. Obviously if it was affecting my work, that would be another matter, but the real issue itself is not the business of my employer. I think the problem comes with John Terry because he earns an extortionate amount of money. Footballers earn more money in a week than most of us would see all year, which I can’t even begin to justify or explain, but it’s just the way the game is. The problem is that people (and mostly down to papers, specifically the Daily Mail) think that they are then morally superior to anyone else. The fact that they are such high earners means that we put them on a pedestal and wait for them to fall. If, perchance I had been given Tiger as a noun, I could have said exactly the same thing. Yes, John Terry and Tiger Woods are meant to be disciplined sportsmen and they should act properly, but they aren’t in a position of moral responsibility. Not like someone who is paid with our money and decides how we live our day-to-day lives.

Cue John Prescott. Now here is a man who is in a position of moral authority. A small minority went out to vote in 2005 and a percentage of those thought he was someone who would represent the country well. I think everyone (especially any mirth-meisters out there) was saddened when Harriet Harman replaced him as Deputy PM. There is something adorably childish about John Prescott; I think it’s that innate ability to misunderstand the words live and pre-recorded. The way that he persistently says the wrong thing and looks socially inept all at once is quite incredible. In that way, I would describe him as quite unguarded. Displaying or feeling little wariness. That seems to describe the man, whom most people remember for punching a guy with a good old-fashioned, eighties perm. Now there is unguarded, if ever I saw it. A man of professional standing, who cannot control himself when having an egg thrown at him. In the event of being egged myself, I would not be overly happy, but I think that the good old-fashioned British stiff upper lip would keep me in check.

The notion of handpicking initially sounds like such a good one; something, which by its very nature is selected personally. In this day of over-hyped organic produce in supermarkets, one assumes that the worst is removed and you are left with the best possible sample. What is wrong with that, I hear you cry. Well, if you look at it in another light, think of the leftovers. In retail or supermarket terms, this means that someone is left having to buy the inferior product. In a work environment, there may well be someone who cherrypicks their workload, thus choosing things that highlight their strengths and leaving others to cover for them. Anyway, I digress (and all to vocalise a personal slight), politicians, such as John Prescott (and John Major come to that), are renowned for cherrypicking their workload. They promise you so many things in their manifesto, which they simply cannot manage to fully complete in one term. So, they begin by choosing what will make the biggest positive effect on our lives. Obviously, if this change goes swimmingly, then it makes them look efficient and like they’ve got our best interests at heart, and even if they haven’t, it doesn’t matter they are still making our lives that little bit better. The general goodwill that they may receive after completing such a task could be described as somewhat therapeutic. Doing a good deed for others always serves to make us feel better about ourselves. You often see politicians handpicking their work and choosing either something that is highly emotive to a large group of people or a problem that is easily resolved; afterall, everyone feels better when they’ve got something in the bag. I’m not saying that there is anything bad or immoral about this, we all do it from time to time and most of the time it has a positive effect on us, but as the Chilcot Inquiry tells us, sometimes they let these decisions get out of hand. Blair was so convinced that he was right and that he had to follow Bush into war. In my mind, this is one of the finest acts of political cherrypicking ever; did Blair feel better at the end of it? You bet. To this day, he offers no sympathy or even doubt that he made mistakes.

Now I would like to raise a toast to next week’s blog. And let’s hope it’ll be a little easier!

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