The James Clayton Column: Prime Minister James Cameron takes on the evil 80s backlash
James wonders if there was a more logical Cameron we could have chosen to run the country...
The calendar says 2010, but it feels like 1984 and I don’t mean the George Orwell novel (even though Big Brother is watching us and pretending to be our friend on Facebook).
What I mean is that we could be living in the year 1984. Life feels like an interactive episode of Ashes To Ashes except that we’ve got better mobile phones and Michael Jackson is a bit dead. We could knock on his tombstone and ask him to re-do the Thriller video without having to waste time and money on makeup.
I remember once upon a time in the realms of international cultural warfare (the Eurovision Song Contest) a woeful Estonian band stood on a stage in Latvia and warned about the ‘Eighties Coming Back’. At the time, I just dismissed them as dreary Eastern Europeans lamenting a long lost childhood of collective farming and beetroot rations. I shrugged them off as a nostalgic outfit trying to score a national victory in a continental talent show but, in truth, they were soothsayers delivering accurate omens.
They predicted the timewarp to come with all the precognitive prescience of those psychic bath mutants in Minority Report. Nil points for the song. Douze points for oracular effort.
Fast forward (backward?) five years and the BBC is running an Eighties season to televisually support a disconcerting reality of synthpop, threatened public sector strikes and war in Afghanistan.
On the cinema screens of the recent past and near future you find names like Tron, Transformers, The A-Team, Miami Vice, Nightmare On Elm Street and The Karate Kid. Think of them and visions of Rubik’s Cubes, leg warmers, poodle hair and yuppies in pastel jackets inevitably follow.
Furthermore, the decade’s biggest action heroes – John Rambo, Rocky Balboa and John McClane – have all had recent comebacks from retirement to extend their franchises. Look around and you’ll find that remakes or sequels for Conan The Barbarian, Mad Max, Red Sonja, Predator and The Thing are all in production.
It’s like Hollywood’s overlords all suddenly had a collective hallucination featuring an angry Mr. T and felt a sudden fear that, if they didn’t revisit the Reagan years, they’d be run down by a mohawked soldier of fortune in a customised van. What these people say goes, therefore, we go back to the Eighties.
The tin lid – and it’s a lid without holes which could condemn us to perish in a vacuum – is the fact that Britain now has a Conservative government. Because I’m a liberal bleeding heart pinko who reckons rule by tree-hugging hippies or Jedi Council is the right way to run a country, I despair at the idea of Tories in power.
It may be a coalition government and the Liberal Democrats lurking about may be able to stop dangerous David Cameron running amok, but I’m not completely convinced it’ll all run along harmoniously.
It could be like Day Of The Dead, with Cameron as zombie Bub. You can labour under the deluded belief that the creature has a conscience, but ultimately it’s always going to be a flesh-eating caricature of humanity that only wants to gorge on your entrails.
This coalition could end up in civil war between corpses and humans in the cabinet office, hopefully resulting in a resounding human victory and a screen adaptation titled Dawn Of The Clegg.
Whilst we’re on the subject of Thatcherite flesh-eating and Eighties flesh-shedding, I thought it was funny that ‘The Governator’ Arnold Schwarzenegger was the first famous person to congratulate Cameron on his election victory, even though polls had only been closed about an hour.
It’s excusable. Our system is baffling and Conan the Republican probably got carried away in hubris at the prospect that an android was about to assume control of Britain. Maybe though, Arnie just got mixed up and somehow conceived that his director on The Terminator, the great James Cameron, was about to become Grand Overlord of the puny island nation across the ocean.
This, actually, isn’t such a bad thought. Arnie may have turned the Golden State of California into a garage sale, but at least if the world was run his way, we’d have the director of Aliens in Downing Street and not the actual aliens themselves.
I’d trust in that Cameron. He can handle big scale projects and, looking at the state of this country, I think we need him. He’s turned a sunken ship into a world-beating box office hit before.
The Canadian director’s movies act as a manifesto for an idealistic three-dimensional future in which individuals realise their potential, find peace with their surrounding environment, and love their blue-skinned next door neighbour. All you have to do is whizz through Avatar or Terminator 2 and you can see that Cameron could capably lead the country through turbulent times.
Whatever trouble comes our way, be it natural disaster, militant intergalactic industrial imperialism or machine-led nuclear warfare, he can handle it and come out of it with a huge profit.
Worried about climate change catastrophe? With the lush forests of Pandora reconstructed in East Anglia, Britain’s biodiversity is rescued and the land becomes green and pleasant again.
Complaining about public transport will be a thing of the past when everyone has their own personal telekinetically-linked Na’vi mountain banshee to fly on.
No one needs to fear that the country will be overrun with illegal immigrants with Cameron’s hi-tech powerloaders standing guard and ready to grapple alien arrivals.
As for defence, only an absolute idiot would go up against any armed forces that the director and his CGI team conjure up. Considering his gun fetish and gratuitous use of weaponry on screen, it’s almost a guarantee that there’ll be no more reports of our overseas troops being under-equipped whilst Cameron is in Downing Street.
With the state’s children plugged into the Tree of Souls and inheriting the innate illuminating wisdom of the mother planet, the future looks bright under the James Cameron government.
With society’s problems drowned by special effects, incredible technology firming up a utopian vision and the Na’vi of Pandora in top ministerial positions (tree hugger politics goes mainstream), I believe Britain can be great again, just like it was before the ‘80s when Thatcher, yuppies and EastEnders combined to suck the nation’s spirit.
I agree with Jim and, should the coalition turn ugly, I’d say that he’s the true figure who represents hope and real change. Vote JimCam. Yes we can.
James’ previous column can be found here.