OPINION: Stop the phony photocalls. Why do we force our politicians into empty gestures of sham pity?

When Boris Johnson finally arrives in the flood-stricken region of North Yorkshire it seems the locals don’t particularly want to see him anyway. We must ignore the “you took your time” catcalls and silence this unnecessary clammer for political leaders to visit disaster zones for a photoshoot.

With parliament prorogued for the election Jo Swinson and Jeremy Corbyn have five weeks of full-time campaigning. Boris Johnson, as Prime Minister, still has a Government to run.

But that’s no reason to expect him to pop up to dip a toe in the murky flood waters, or gawp at Mr and Mrs Soggybottom’s saturated wreck of a bungalow.

What good was Jo Swinson’s bag-for-life donation? The leader of the luvvies makes a public presentation of a couple of loo rolls and a multi-pack of Dairy Milk. There’s a glass and a half in everyone.

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Head Girl: Jo Swinson visits North Yorkshire, representing Liberal Democrat High School

Lovely photo call though. And isn’t she simply the embodiment of the positive, bright orange future that she claims to offer? A future where every personal disaster inspires a visit from your old Head Girl in her brightest jumper and perfectly pity-creased forehead to raise your spirits.

If she’s not careful with that pity-the-people eyebrow contortionism, she’ll end up with a forehead like Jeremy Corbyn’s. He couldn’t stretch to a bag-for-life and isn’t allowed to use single-use plastic bags in election season, so decided to offer a few words… of Boris-bashing.

So, Boris hosts a Cobra meeting to discuss an emergency response to the floods, and then makes a visit to the area. With a press convoy the size of Jo Swinson’s vivid orange dreams, Boris tries to find a local willing to talk with him.

Nobody wants to have a natter with Boris.

A few stilted attempts at conversation, and Boris talks instead to some journalists. He praises the emergency services, and makes all the usual noises about the seriousness of the events, and future preparations.

Not one of the political leaders added value to the relief effort by turning up with their camera crews. Perhaps they even got in the way of the emergency services teams.

In the wake of this torrent of unashamed electioneering, please can all politicians resist the temptation to use victims as their pawn in this game of election chess.

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