Trumpeting Time Trumpet

by Stephen Tall on July 31, 2006

There’s a lively interview with Armando Iannucci in today’s Indy – and, unusually, it’s not yet disappeared behind the newspaper’s firewall. A couple of snippets, below.

(The hook is his new TV show, Time Trumpet, which looks brilliantly funny – it premieres this Thursday, 3rd August, at 10.00 pm on BBC2, and, if you’ve not yet seen the trailers, click here now.)

Is Iannucci concerned that viewers might be offended by such jokes? “I imagine people might be – given that ‘terrorism’ is one of those words you say and people are instantly offended.

“But I’m trying to make a point here about politicians turning terrorism into a concrete concept that we can have a war on. They use the fact that we’re at war to change the law on anything they want. They might as well say, ‘we’re fighting a war on inflation – therefore, everyone has to do national service and can be detained for 90 days’.”

Iannucci expands his thesis. “I’m interested in the abuse of argument. In the build-up to the war in Iraq, the Pentagon said, ‘we have evidence of contact between Saddam Hussein and al-Qa’ida going back 10 years.’ That phrase, ‘going back 10 years’ implies that it had been going on for 10 years. But what they actually had evidence of was a meeting at a very low level 10 years ago – and nothing since.

“It’s like those posters outside West End theatres which read, ‘amazing’. But if you go back to the original review, what the critic really said was, ‘it’s amazing that this play is on in the West End at all’. That sort of manipulation of language is now going on at an international level.”

And it seems Armando may perhaps have snuck a read of Jonathan Calder’s blog, for he also notes the Lib Dems’ adoption of un-spinning spin:

“The first series [of The Thick Of It] was inspired by how politics was five years ago when Alistair Campbell was at his height. Now the notion of spin is much subtler. It’s the spin of looking un-spun. Look at the Lib Dems, who say, ‘the great thing about Ming Campbell is that he’s Ming Campbell. There is no way we could have spun him – or he would have looked a lot better!'”