This blog is unashamedly about politics and I pretty much keep it on topic. And today is no different - tho the title has to be a bit vague, because (SPOILER) if I say it's about select committees and inquiries you'll have a bit of the clue of the plot of Skyfall - and as it's rather good I wouldn't want to do that.
Back in July I wrote this about Parliamentary Sub-Commitees . It seems I'm not alone a certain revulsion for their current incarnations, and both Skyfall and The Thick of It recently have referenced inquiries and select committees as being akin to the medieval stocks. Indeed, Judi Dench's character, "M", comments on being told she has to appear at an inquiry that she'll be "in the stocks at midday?.
The Thick of It - which apparently only us politicos watch - my Labour friend commented to me in the pub the other night that "nobody else watches it", produced a tour de force the other week, however viewers might find their sympathy seems to be more with the panel than in the Skyfall version of an inquiry - a rather brazen and ego-centric minister asking questions of our statesman-like Judi, perfectly characterising the frustrations and power play often evident in these things.
Have inquiries jumped the shark? With open parody in The Thick of It and big budget movies like Skyfall, it could be said they've gone rather too far. And as I argued back in July, nothing ever seems to change as a result of them.
It's a shame, because as Skyfall, Malcolm Tuckers leaving speech about how his job has changed and Dan Hodges correctly identify, the world has moved on. Information is still power, but information, seems to have changed phase. It's more like water than solid blocks of information now - it moves faster, leaks and leads back to a source a lot more easily. With a more open world, a more interdependent one, I, ever the pacifist would like to argue a more stable one - perhaps world peace is closer, or perhaps further away.
So, open parody of a fine idea, to understand and root out deception and get to the truth, suggests that inquiries and committee hearings etc have lost some respect. I think that may be because they've been allowed to get out of hand and become more about the people asking the questions, and as Rachel Cooke describes - their schadenfreude than the answers they are apparently seeking to find.
I guess we'll have to wait for Ed Miliband to call an inquiry into this tho.