My Very Last Word on the Forthcoming Election – Almost Definitely…

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Whilst I have, in common with most people I would presume, my own political beliefs, I also have an over-riding conviction – to which I intend to rigidly adhere over the coming few weeks – that I should keep them to myself. It’s bad enough having to listen to some old eejit’s opinions at the best of times, let alone at the time of an election. Sadly, it would seem that President Trump does not share my reticence. Strange, because he would not, I am sure, be too keen on a foreign head of state – President Putin for instance – trying to influence the US election… Anyway, let’s leave that kind of thing in the hands of those who are paid to bang on and on without remorse. I will have no problem whatsoever in ignoring altogether the politics of the present situation. Not so easy, though, to ignore the situation itself.

According to the media, this is our first December election in almost a century. And…? I mean, it may be true, but so what? What are they suggesting is the relevance? The evening newscaster suggested that many will choose not to vote if it is cold. Really? What if it’s windy or rainy? This is the UK – there is an almost one hundred percent chance of at least two from three. If it should be none of the above, it will be seen as a certain sign that the world is about to end and it will, anyway, be far too hot to go outside. The risk of British voters not going out to vote because of inclement weather is, I would estimate, roughly equal to the chances of them not moaning about the weather in the first place. For we Brits, the weather is never suitable for anything. We will complain about a rainy day in the middle of a drought if it stops us putting the washing out. Are we unique as a nation in suspecting that everything comes along at the wrong time, for the wrong reason?

Anyway, if you don’t fancy a trip to the polling station in the cold, then just accept a lift from the first party activist to knock on your door. They have no way of checking how you have voted – although you may well have to fib a bit if you don’t want to have the Rich Tea plucked from your treacherous grasp by a slightly bearded lady in a tweed twinset who tells you that you can jolly well catch the bus home.

I’ve also heard some dark mutterings about the Universities being closed and the students therefore unable to vote. OK. Well, apparently many Uni’s are not closed by the twelfth and, in any case, seventy percent of students vote for their home constituency. These are our country’s elite. I’m pretty sure that they can work out how to register for a postal vote.

Elections are always going to be at an inconvenient time for somebody. There was a call, I noticed, to make election day a public holiday, which is a great idea except it completely ignores the large section of the population – the doctors, the nurses, the firemen, the policemen, the public service workers, the shop workers – who have to work as usual through public holidays. How would a tired voter even drag themselves to the polling booth without the ability to pick up a skinny latté on the way? What would become of our streets if the cleaners were not around to clear up all the gnawed fingernails of those trying to make up their minds? Imagine a polling station with no staff – you would certainly have to take your own biro for a start.

I am always amazed by the number of people who do not vote, but then again, I am always amazed by the number of people who never watch the news. There will be, on the day, I am sure, a significant number of people who do not even know that there is an election (although many of them will know what Phil Mitchell is currently up to). It is difficult to envisage voting ever being made compulsory here unless ‘Don’t Know’ is added to the ballot paper – the problem being that in the current situation, it may well win.

Anyway, the reason that I mention all of this is simply because I wanted to tell you that I won’t be mentioning it again. At least not directly. I am certain that most people in the UK will be bored to death with the whole circus before polling day – and elsewhere probably more interested in the outcome of ‘Strictly’ to be honest. My dad always used to say ‘It doesn’t matter who wins, it’s always us that pays.’ Certainly, the main option on offer from all directions on this occasion seems to be to pay the piper and then listen to whatever tune he/she decides to play, wherever he/she decides to play it.

In a nutshell, it is my belief that you should all vote – but only if you want to. You should vote however your conscience tells you to vote and, thereafter, it would probably be wise to keep it to yourself. Almost certainly, the only people wanting to know will be those who are looking for an argument – and you don’t need an election to find one of those…

NB For those of you from outside of the UK, to whom portions of this tract might just as well have been written in Sanskrit, I can only apologise. If it’s any consolation, it makes no sense to us either.

Generally speaking, politicians are generally speaking – John Sergeant

I think the voters misunderestimate me – George W Bush

Political skill is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen – Winston Churchill

Finding My Own Way to Fight

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My dad always told me, ‘If you’re going to make yourself a target, you might as well make yourself a big one: that way, even if they hit you, they might just miss the painful bits’. And he knew a thing or two my dad because, although I have been winged a time or two, I have never really been floored.

I was a small ginger kid. I learned quickly that I had two choices in my life: learn to fight or learn to make people laugh. I chose the latter because, quite frankly, I was never much cop at the former. Obviously the best thing I could have done would have been to keep my head down, but I was never great at that either. Although by no means a performer (the fear of failure has always overwhelmed the prospect of success) I never quite mastered the knack of keeping my mouth shut. I’ve got better as I’ve got older, but my brain is still much slower off the blocks than my mouth. My brain, when it eventually does decide to intervene, often does so in such a way as to make things worse. Like a railway signalman who averts disaster by diverting a speeding train away from a broken siding, but into the path of a runaway express, it generally succeeds only in drawing attention onto what could, otherwise, have been ignored. When put under pressure, my brain seldom makes the right decision. At least, not until it’s much too late, by which time, of course, it has become the wrong one.

Now, I can hear your teeth gnashing from here. This is not news to you, I know: we have covered this ground before, you and I. So, why are we back here again? Well, it all started out with a customer at work. I don’t like to discuss politics: it gets me nowhere. If I tell you my opinions, you will either agree with me (which, seeing as we were not disagreeing over anything in the first place, will have got us precisely nowhere) or you will disagree with me, in which case we may we may feel honour-bound to defend our relative positions and fall out. If you know me, you will probably know my opinions anyway. If you don’t, why would you care? The one truth I know about politics is that no amount of ‘discussion’ will change opinions. Maybe it should, but it never does.

However, today I was reprimanded, quite brusquely, by a lady who told me in no uncertain terms that I should be prepared to state what I believe in and to defend my position whatever the circumstance. She said it was my duty. I asked her why, but she just said, ‘Suppose you were friendly with someone and they didn’t feel the same about things as you do.” I was confused by this. I said, ‘but surely that can only be a good thing?’ She stared at me as if I was deranged and muttered something that I’m pretty certain contained the word ‘moron’.

She left. I knew her views. She had told me those before she scalded me for keeping mine to myself. They were different to my own and it bothered me not one bit. She knew my views too, and it actually bothered her none that they were different to her own. What bothered her was that I was not prepared to argue about it. All she actually wanted from me was a target and, for once, I managed to keep my head down. Maybe I’ve just found my own way to fight.

 

You say the hill’s too steep to climb, climbing
You say you’d like to see me try, climbing
You pick the place and I’ll choose the time
And I’ll climb the hill in my own way
Just wait a while for the right day
And as I rise above the tree-line and the clouds
I look down hearing the sound of the things you’ve said today.
‘Fearless’ Pink Floyd (Gilmour, Waters)