On politics and Candy Crush Saga

Politics in a work of literature, Stendhal once opined, is like a pistol shot in the middle of a concert. Perhaps the same may be said of politics in a literary blog. Except, of course, I do not pretend this is a literary blog: I write about whatever comes to mind. But I do tend to keep away from politics: this is not out of fear of disturbing the cultured and refined proceedings of this blog with the violence of a pistol shot, nor because I lack interest in matters political, and certainly not because I lack opinions. Rather, it is because the offering of political views on a public platform – as opposed to the spouting of intemperate opinions over a few drinks with friends – ideally requires a thorough grasp of facts and of arguments as can only be achieved through long and focussed thought, and painstaking research. And while I appreciate that a great many political writers on the net are innocent of anything approaching either thought or research, I have no great wish to join their ranks: hence my reticence.

However, exceptions must always be made. And when an MP plays Candy Crush Saga while attending a meeting of a parliamentary committee – a parliamentary committee dealing with works and pensions, no less – some comment doesn’t, perhaps, go amiss, even on a blog as non-political as this. For I do not seek to make a party political point here: it is true that the Member of Parliament involved is of the Conservative Party – a party for which I never had any great love – but really, he could have been a member of any party at all: it is not his political affiliations that bother me. Neither am I, if I am to be honest, particularly bothered by his playing Candy Crush Saga during a committee meeting, reprehensible though that undoubtedly is. No – what bothers me most is that he plays Candy Crush Saga at all.

I am told that things could be even worse. In India, some two years ago, three MPs of the Bharatiya Janata Party – the nationalist party that was recently elected into power to restore to the Motherland the glorious pristine purity of the Hindu religion before it became so corrupted by foreign influences – were caught watching pornography on their smartphones during a parliamentary session. However, while approving neither of watching pornography during a parliamentary session, nor, indeed, of pornography itself, I can nonetheless understand the attraction of sexual arousal: more, I admit, than I can the attraction of Candy Crush Saga.

Candy Crush Saga! It is true that, in our cynical age, we no longer expect our democratically elected representatives to possess integrity, or even, for that matter, competence, but it is surely not unreasonable to expect from them a modicum of gravitas!

Nigel Mills, the Member of Parliament in question, has graciously said that he will “try not to do it in future”. Not that he promises never again to do it in future, ever, but that he will try not to do it. That even with the best of intentions, during those long committee meetings on matters as unimportant as pensions, the urge to turn to Candy Crush Saga may be too strong even for the most iron-willed of parliamentary committee members to resist.

We live, dear reader, in Godless times.


10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mark on December 9, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Hear, hear, Himadri. My partner works (very diligently) in the public sector; I asked her what would have happened to her if she had been caught playing a game during a meeting. Her expression was answer enough. Together we then imagined a Conservative MP being asked by a journalist for their opinion of public sector employees who have been caught playing games in the workplace whilst being paid with public money. It’s not hard to imagine the answer, is it? Hypocrisy thy name is Nigel.


  2. Posted by Carolyn on December 9, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Ah well, this comment has at least given me some idea of what Candy Crush Saga is. But as someone who always prefers to be doing more than one thing at a time, I do have some slight sympathy. (Might not, if anyone was to do such a thing at meetings I attend.)


    • It is indeed possible to do several things at the same time – though perhaps not possible to do them all well. But this chap choosing Candy Crush Saga, for heavens’ sake, as something to do, indicates a will most incorrect to heaven, a heart unfortified, or mind impatient, an understanding simple and unschooled.


  3. This post made me laugh out loud.

    At least the MP wasn’t sleeping. Some of ours sleep while the session is broadcasted on television! They’ve just voted against all nighters because the croissant budget was too much and they’re tired. ( I’m not kidding)
    Imagine what Beckett could have done with this. It’d be a gold mine for amusement if it weren’t so sad.

    PS: I thought about you the other day, there was a reportage on the French radio about England closing their libraries. Sad. Do they put candy stores instead?


    • I think I can have some sympathy with falling asleep – especially for sessions that go on into the night!

      And yes, many libraries here are closing. It is very, very sad. Even sadder, perhaps, are the state of many libraries: I had a wee rant about it some time back. Public libraries were certainly very important for me when I was growing up, but I suppose it can be argued that with the advent of the internet, we don’t need them as much as we used to. It’s still very sad all the same.


      • I can understand falling asleep too but, we are not allowed to fall asleep at work, so why should they be?

        I remembered you post about public libraries. Sure, things have changed. But libraries have changed too: in the médiathèque in my small town, you can borrow books (of course), magazines, CDs, DVDs and play video games. It’s near the ludothèque (toy and games library) and it attracts parents with children.

      • Yes, you’re right – public needs have changed greatly. But if it is indeed thecase that libraries now are becoming effectively ludothèques, it becomes difficult to justify their reliance on the public purse. I suppose I am just a sentimentalist who would like to see libraries as essentially centres of culture and education, maintained by teh public purse – but then again, just about everything i believe in now seems hopelessly out of date!

  4. Posted by Shonti Mukherjee on December 11, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    The thing is….how do you know you wouldn’t succumb to Candy Crush Saga if you played it a few times?

    I don’t actually know what Candy Crush Saga is and it certainly is a frivolous sounding name but maybe it sharpened up the poor guys’ focus as he began to delve into pension-related matters??

    I do something similar with playing cards sometimes.


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