(This has nothing to do with the article. Its one of my pet toads. Its saying, in Toadish, that you should read this post. And give it some locusts. But mainly ‘read this post’.)
There are two major dangers with writing about politics in a self confessed self indulgent blog: first, the very mention of politics, politicians, and all associated words tends to provoke a mixture of anger/apathy amongst readers, and thus it took me a lot of persuasion not to title this blog ‘MAD goatsex PUrPle ROFL Bin laden WOOp’. Undoubtedly, that might have held your interest more thoroughly, as well as providing me with interest stats when I check the google searches people made to stumble across here*
Yet politics is all around us, for better, for worse, and the concept of democracy states that all those with the vote, and that’s all but the prisoner/minor readership here , are integral and thus active participants in the process, so if you think politics are irrelevant, I pity your impotence; and if you think ‘its all shit’ . then here’s looking at you, poo head.
Second, the structure of Government from ministerial office to parish council is one of such labyrinthine complexity its a Gordian (Brown?) knot that even the most seasoned, professional mass-media commentators struggle to untangle: have a read of Private Eye’s ‘Streets of Shame’ or ‘Hackwatch’ and witness how the most revered, connected, seemingly most prescient commentators are bloody useless at prediction. Self contradiction is rife, and ubiquitous across the media spectrum. The Daily Mail has been telling me that we’re all off to Hell in a Handcart very soon, yet after years of waiting I’ve only come vaguely close with a journey to Luton in a National Express.
To be glib is thus to be wrong, and when laced with an opinionated streak can only be useless commentary. As I consider myself under-qualified to provide anything but another purveyor of ill-informed rhetoric, I’m going to do what all governments promise to do in their infancy, and devolve power. Devolve power to those who seek our mandate for power. I’m handing the reins of this blog over to those who intend to ride the political horse of Beestonia over the jumps and hedges of the future with minimal sugar-lumps whilst swiftly sending this over-tired allegory trotting to the knackers yard.
Soon after sending this article to press (its a complex process, where i have to hire thousands of little pixies to individually write this on your screens, and not at all just press the ‘publish’ button then go and file my nails) I will be sending emails to all the candidates who have sent me glossy persuasions to lend them my pencilled ‘X’ at the forthcoming elections, and posed the following five questions:
- What qualifies you to be given power in Beeston?
- Whats the best, and worst things about Beeston?
- If Beeston were to be endowed with a new statue or monument, who/ of?
- Beestonia as a Republic. Comment please.
- Where do you see Beeston in five years?
So that’s the Tories, Labour (and as we are represented as part of a Borough by a Labour MP, Mr Palmer), the Lib Dems, Greens, UKIP and the BNP. Of course, with the interests of neutrality in mind, I wont say which of these parties makes my fingers ache to type and resist spoiling my screen with a disgusted bolus of spittle, and I implore you to do the same, cos People Like You have to show the same neutrality as People Like Me.
So by the time you read this, those questions will be out, and Ill knock up an article once I have the replies. In the meantime, I’ll declare all my interests in politics, meagre, void of duck-islands, but worth a read.
My first political memory was as around 1980, aged six, when I remember I lent, with a no small nod to Freudian psychology and via the Sun’s cartoon, that I supported the Labour Party and its matriarch, Maggie Thatcher. This confusion can be explained by breaking down my thought percentages back then, which ran as thus: 1% politics, 5% my newly born brother, 10% Bright Eyes by Art Garfunkel, and 84% The Empire Strikes Back.
When I came of suffrage in 1992, I was staunchly anti-tory, and as such spent election night having my heart slowly broke as I lay on my front room floor with my then girlfriend watching Snow’s swing-o-meter slip away from the red deeper into the blue, despite trying to mentally force it through telekinesis into the red.
The next two general elections are handily negligible: I spent the 1997 Blair Landslide unable to vote due to being in transit between Alicante in Spain and Faro in Portugal, a journey that found me sitting in a Tasca in Seville and using my base Spanish skillz reading, impassively, that Britain was inder a Nu-Lab government via a discarded copy of La Pais. I had more pressing concerns then, such as being in the wrong country, having no cash, no cigarettes, and it being too stupidly hot to trouble myself with domestic matters.
2001 found me such a passionate advocate of my employers, the BBC, ethic of political impartiality that I thought it best to not cast a vote, and as I lived in Tunbridge Wells at the time, a knowledge that any vote for anything for the incumbent Conservatives would be akin to trying to stop a marauding bear with party-poppers. I did vote, as a Beestonian, in 2005, but thats between me and the ballot box, thank you very much.
I also must state Ive had a few run-ins with political figures: Labour activist Steve Barber was once, technically my landlord, and disregarding his political allegiance, a nice man, I often see ex-Lib Dem councillor Adele Brunton in Beeston, and I am sorry her abdication from her position has been exploited by less scrupulous rivals She drinks down Wetherspoons, thats cool with me. Our MP, the gangly yet useful Nick Palmer I’ve had a few run-ins with; all of a postive nature, where I have queried his position on policies I’ve felt strongly about. Hes always been helpful, informative and willing to listen: even if one doesnt agree with his allegiances inParliament, he seems an effective , concerned local MP. And hes not got a Duck Island or cluttered moat we are paying for.
I’ve also known well both the sitting MPs for both Gedling and Erewash, as with anybody lucky enough to school at Bramcote Park Comp in the mid to late eighties, they were my teachers. Liz Blackman stood against that perma-tanned idiot Robert Kilroy-Silk at the last election as the MP for Erewash last election, and thoroughly thrashed him; while Vernon Coaker is now quite a high-ranking Home Office Tsar/ Czar**, with the same immaculately gelled haircut he had back in 1988 when he taught me the intricacies of Sociological theory.
When an employee, as previously mentioned , for the Beeb at the 2001 election, I was asked to phone Anne Widdecombe at 7am to try and arrange a telephone interview with our morning presenter; after being told by her agent she wasn’t up for it, to enquire to her agent ‘why?’, I heard a barking voice in the background shout ‘tell him hes a very rude young man’, a badge of honour I still wear with pride. Make her speaker, her or Dennis Skinner. We need some interim fun after the past few weeks of horrified disenchantment with the Chamber.
I have asked the candidates to answer within ten days, so I can post a reply in two weeks, in good time for your journey to the community centre, primary school or Scout hut where your opinion will be counted. Watch this space.
*My favourite so far has been some individual who popped in after googling ‘BEESTON TESCO LESBIAN’. Whoever you are, identify, I think I love you.
** He has thus the power to create policy whilst donning a thick Russian accent, boom boom.