Ian Martin's speech at the launch of The Coalition Chronicles
I’m 58 years old and standing on a chair…I love a crowd when I don’t know many people. It’s more exciting.
Thanks to everyone at Faber – for wanting to do this filth in the first place. And thanks, a really special thanks to Unite, seriously, it’s a genuine honour to be associated with a public sector union, I got a real reverence for unions, My grandfather was a carpenter, a union member and shop steward, my dad was a shop steward for British Railways…I’m a member of the writers guild…
In a world gone mad it seems the unions are the only people who are fighting for justice and compassion and I respect and honour them.
The origins of the book: it’s basically a filthy analogue of the first year of the coalition government but it has it origins in a satirical website started with my brother ten years ago called martian.fm.
And there we had something called Hansard late, which was essentially this. Rolled out in the style of Hansard but with some heavy duty swearing. It didn’t matter at the time because it was the early days of the internet, nobody read it, and then made it really culty. But eight years ago Armando Ianucci did read it and like the Hansard late thing and invited me to work for him, so it was a massive break. And at the time, there were four people reading this; me. My brother Paul, Armando Iannuci and the gentlemen in the middle there – the mighty, mighty Simon Carr, sketch writer for the Independent. We’re very honoured – have you just finished your lunch?
Very honoured to have him here – we’ve had some SPECTACULAR lunches me and Simon.
This is going great.
See. I’ve done this before.
At one level it’s a 300 page cock joke. It is satire but it is…nasty. It is.
About half way through I had anxiety about a couple of things. I wasn’t sure if I could sustain the level of swearing and nastiness throughout the whole book. Whether the technique, formula would work for the whole book. I don’t know. Maybe it’s not. No-ones buying it!
The other thing that worried me about this 300 page cock joke – running through it like a jagged blue vein – was this theme of Rupert Murdoch and phone hacking, eavesdropping and corruption. The political bullying of MPs. I thought: ‘I dunno. I’ve put a bit too much of this in. and then I finished the book in May, and there it was all sprawling out on the telly.
All these people who say we’re not interested in parliament anymore, but there we were all glued to our sets. Weren’t we, when Rebekah and Murdoch appeared. It was some kind of triumph I think for democracy, to see them squirming there. Wriggling there on a fucking pin.
Thanks to Tom Watson and everyone else. We’ll nail the bastards hopefully. Sad to say there’s nothing about Tom in the book although Louise Mensch does make a cameo appearance. From memory I think she’s telling the house about the time she shared a bong with Blur and gave one of them a handjob.
I just made that up.
It was Oasis.
What you can’t make up. What you fuckin can’t make up is this government. If yo are writing political satire they have just handed I to us on a plate. This shower of cocks. Just the sheer brazen nerve of it.
‘I’m 58 OK. Now its my civic duty to be a socialist reactionary - thats my job! but it makes it must easier having this bunch of wankers in charge.
I mean I take the piss in the book obviously a lot. But it also a howl of rage. A howl of rage against this awful government. Just the sheer brazen nerve of what they are doing. The NHS. We all heard Cameron say before the general election categorically saying there would be no topdown reorganisation, a year and a half later its ‘goodbye PCTs, hello private carpetbaggers’ OK?
Education and free schools? Why is everyone pretending this is something other than Toby Young and his fuckin mates procuring private education with public money and public buildings? Why are we pretending it’s anything else.
The activist, Vandana Shiva said, recently, ‘We live in an era of privatisation of gain and the socialisation of cost’. She meant it as a critical commentary but this government I swear to god has taken to its heart as a motto. Of course all this bollocks started in 1979. Of course I’m old enough to give you all an overview. But I think looking back I blame the lying shit Blair more than anyone for this stuff. Just because he was happy expanding the whole Tory privatisation programme, but he also reduced political management to the level of bullet pointed bloody MBA speak.
He started talking about stuff not being ‘fit for purpose’. He talked about nobody caring how the NHS was run as long as it was free at the point of delivery and so on. So who cares if Richard Branson is running the West Coast Main Line. He must be doing a good job because the trains are fucking rammed! So what if we’re procuring schools with PFI? What does it matter if its costing six times the going rate, when its this painless transfer of money from tax-payers to shareholders? Who cares? I fuckin do. Because I am allowed. And because I am 58.
They say we’re all in this together but honestly, they are just accelerating the destruction of everything that I believe in. I’m also getting very reactionary-patriotic about this stuff. All this stuff when I was a kid – the railways, the roads, the agriculture, everything you saw – it was ours. We built this. It’s ours, but they’re taking it away from us bit by bit and it makes me puke frankly.
And the sense of who we are as a nation. Of course it matters who owns this stuff. I must have been 8 or 9 at school. I know it was the usual rosy bollocks they tell you at school, but it was this idea that at one point in our history we were a sanctuary for persecuted religious minorities - the Huguenots, the Jews, the catholics, would come here to find sanctuary, and that thrilled me as an idea. Look at us now. Would not have believed fifty years later we are banging up asylum seekers and their children. I would not believe that we are doing that. I can’t believe it.
Anyway. Stick some fucking jokes in Ian. Quick!
I tell you what else I can’t believe. Ed Milliband. What’s he doing? At the TUC – what is he fucking doing. The guy who got elected with Union backing and he’s standing there calling them out on strikes – what is going on, honestly. In the book, he’s got this imaginary friend, Christopher, in his ear all the time. Because Chris’s got something on him, that involves a pencil…and his girlfriend’s mother at the time. I won’t go into it. Its just wrong.
OK. I’m wining up now. This is me winding up. I’m 58 years old, standing on a chair, and winding up.
The whole thing is a satire. We’ve got a cabinet of millionaire’s shitting on the poor. How does this work?
I remember saying, no-ones going to sue us for libel, because no-one will believe these people are doing what I say there are.
So for the record, despite what I says in the book, George Osbourne does not keep a Thatcher sex doll in his study. Lada Gaga did not preside over a session in the House of Lords with her camel, Lesbonaut. David Blunkett’s relationship with his assistant’s dog is entirely honourable. Vince Cable does not moonwalk like Michael Jackson nor does he have an erection most of the time. David Milliband DOES have an imaginary friend called Christopher (I got a feeling he really does). Ian Duncan Smith is not a sanctimonious egg faced prat, that’s what I’ve got here…
That’s the cue for a round of applause for Unite, the public sector union that I revere, most warmly, thank you for having me, goodnight!
Let’s have a drink!