Here\’s the video of Kevin Rudd eating his earwax in the Australian Parliament:
As Sam Leith points out:
For at a stroke, a microsecond nibbling earwax threatens to eclipse a lifetime of hard political graft. Is this fair? Is this reasonable? No. Mr Rudd has experienced what could turn out to be his Neil-Kinnock-falling-in-the-sea moment.
There are certain mistakes you can make as a politician that do not, in the long run, scotch your standing as a statesman: cheating on your wife, starting a war, crashing the economy, illegally bombing sovereign states, selling landmines to despots, public assets to private entrepreneurs and influence to crooks.
But there are certain mistakes that seem to prove fatal: disco-dancing; appearing on internet sites in your underpants; and being exposed as an earwax-eating farty like the rest of us. Outrage, you can face down. Sniggering, you cannot.
I\’ve said this before and no doubt will say it again, but I\’m convinced that such sniggering was one of the things that helped to stop Sir Oswald Moseley and his Blackshirts before WWII. From the pen of PG Wodehouse we got Roderick Spode:
The trouble with you, Spode, is that just because you have succeeded in inducing a handful of half-wits to disfigure the London scene by going about in black shorts, you think you\’re someone. You hear them shouting "Heil, Spode!" and you imagine it is the Voice of the People. That is where you make your bloomer. What the Voice of the People is saying is: "Look at that frightful ass Spode swanking about in footer bags! Did you ever in your puff see such a perfect perisher?"
The owner, as we know, of "the emporium in Bond Street known as Eulalie Soeurs".
Given the incredible popularity of Wodehouse at the time (he was getting $200,000 a time in 1930s money for the serialisations of each novel in a magazine) that sort of giggling couldn\’t fail to have hurt.