If you’re lucky enough to have a surname that easily links up with the term manifesto, then you’re morally obliged to condense your thoughts on life and politics into a soft-porn equivalent to a call to revolution, which is exactly what Caitlin Moran has done in her new book, Moranifesto. Within its lovingly crafted and sharply witty confines you’ll find everything from a credible critique of modern day politics to Caitlin’s eager views on Benedict Cumberbatch’s face, David Bowie’s codpiece and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Not only is it mostly rational, well thought out and cleverly presented, it’s also very funny, combining deeper subject matter with moments of more light-hearted comedy to deliver a book that’s as credible and meaningful as it is packed with good times aplenty. Throughout the course of the book you get to join Caitlin on her sofa to relive the dismal Thames regatta for the Queen’s Jubilee; go on a journey to Benedict Cumberbatch’s parents house; and start a doomed internet campaign against Twitter, and it’s all done with a non-stop barrage of funny, with some added grey matter hot sauce slathered on top for good measure.
What we like most about reading Caitlin Moran’s writing is that it has a brilliant knack for challenging you to think about things in a completely different light. While a lot of this hits the mark on big topics like immigration, equality, the NHS and the welfare state, it’s just as accurate on fluffier subjects like why Frozen and Brave are such significant films – we’d initially discounted them as being slightly unimportant and lacking in the kind of story that would set them out as animated classics, but having read Moranifesto we now see that it’s what they both say about equality and the roles of men and women in society that makes them so noteworthy (that and the “Let it snow” song), which is pretty deep stuff in itself.
In terms of the core manifesto, which comes more officially in a latter chapter, there are a fair few items that we’d happily include in our own. Her mathematically perfect take on state funded political campaigns is peerless, which is also true of her plans to scrap the House of Lords; wind turbines are undoubtedly the future, the BBC needs all the protection it can get, water fountains would indeed make a welcome reintroduction to society, and big foreign investor businesses should definitely be made to pay more taxes. We’re not so keen on moving away from the first past the post model of politics, simply because it would mean more UKIP MPs, but we can see what she’s getting at.
While Caitlin gets a lot of her thinking, talking and Moranifestoing spot on, she sadly isn’t infallible. Based on our list of questionable statements from the book, we’d have to argue that Coldplay will never be accepted as a band it’s OK to like, irrespective of Caitlin’s claims to the contrary, and we’ll never really get anywhere near equality with cavalier and jocular referrence to gays next door or Cumberbitches. There’s a fairly significant London centric vision to Moran’s subject matter, no matter how much she wants the Houses Of Parliament to be moved to Brum or refers to the city as being crud buckets. We were also a little surprised to see the monarchy getting as much deferential treatment as it does, but we’re assuming it’s all a part of her master plan to become a Dame in a bid to break up the House Of Lords from the inside out!
What all of this leaves you with ultimately is that Caitlin is a brilliant, fallible, right-thinking, sometimes contradictory, but always thoughtful commentator for our times. Moranifesto will leave you with an unquestionable resilience to set your feet, take a deep breath and say resolutely that things can and should get better, which int half bad in our books.
Caitlin Moran, Moranifesto review: 4.5/5