Friday, 20 May 2011

Was it really too difficult or is this just voter apathy?

WHEN people voted in the recent national referendum on the Alternative Vote it appeared the simplest of choices – Yes or No.

You cannot get an easier decision than that yet, when the dust had settled at counts for Weymouth, Portland and West Dorset, there was one figure which stood out head and shoulders above the rest.

Never mind the fact that we joined the rest of the country in a 2-1 rejection of AV, the key figure was that 271 votes had to be rejected.

Don’t forget, this was a simple yes or no question, yet it proved too complex a task for all these voters.

The reasons for rejection were varied.

Some votes were scrapped because the person had voted both “yes” and “no” while other votes were voided because the marks made on the voting paper couldn’t be clearly attributed, papers had been defaced or they contained comments.

Perhaps the clearest of those opinions came from one voter who had simply taken their voting paper and scrawled across it: “I don’t care.”

Sadly this was an all too common sentiment from people who were so underwhelmed by the referendum that they didn’t bother to vote at all.

Much has been made of the overwhelming two-thirds vote in favour of retaining the existing electoral system, but it became a lot less of a landslide when it emerged that 57 per cent of people hadn’t bothered to vote.

The burning question of the hour

BOTH children were clearly impressed by their surroundings as they ate their meal while watching the hustle and bustle of people drinking pints and chatting in a town hostelry.

The children were well behaved but also seemed to be very curious about their surroundings and the variety of glasses and cups they could see.

So when their meal had been completed and someone came to clear the dirty plates away they had a question ready and waiting for the bar staff.

Perhaps they were planning a future career in the licensing trade, perhaps it was a complaint about the bill or perhaps their squash hadn’t been properly prepared, but it was none of these.

Instead they asked: “Please, do you get free drinks if you work in a pub?”

High jinx with the library letterbox!

MANY people risk arrest but very few of them do so in a library.

The woman looked a bit flustered so I asked her what the matter was and she explained she had forgotten her key, needed to get some letters out of a locked library letterbox… and was my hand small enough to fit through the slot to retrieve them?

Well it wasn’t but I asked library staff for a pair of rulers and then manoeuvred them through the slot to tease out most of the envelopes, all the while keeping a wary eye out for passing constabulary keen to catch a criminal in the act.

The last letter refused to come out but I was able to get it close enough to the slot for a brave woman to insert her hand and pull it up high enough for me to grab.

That just left the poor woman with her hand stuck in the slot… and it was stuck!

There was initial talk of calling the fire brigade but she was able to yank herself clear at the expense of some bruising with everyone thanking each other for all their help. It certainly wasn’t the usual sort of human activity you get in a library!

How to outwit a seagull without really trying

A WATCHING crowd of people burst out laughing at the antics of a seagull.

The bird had apparently grabbed what it thought was an ideal meal and was attempting to consume it on top of a car when another gull flew in to try and grab a piece of the titbit.

The invader was repelled but the gull lost its grip on the tasty treat and had to work hard to get it into a position on the car where it both felt safe and able to deal with it.

Now gulls are powerful birds with a vicious hooked beak, so when the gull drew back and hammered its bill down into the meal there was only going to be one winner.

That turned out to be the meal which proved to be a lot tougher than the gull had bargained for.

People began to laugh as the poor bird’s first stab at a mouthful visibly rebounded which was hardly surprising because the mouthwatering prize in question was a tennis ball!

The bird didn’t give up and its audience by now was in stitches but the message eventually got through that the tennis ball wasn’t edible. Game, set and match to the ball.


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