Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Choose the least bad option

ALMOST beyond belief, the government has announced that the campaign for the general election on May 7th has now started!

OK, so that statement was backed up by a few minor incidents such as the dissolution of parliament, but you’d have had to have been locked up in solitary confinement in an Orkney Island jail to have missed all the electioneering which has already been going on.

Giving the campaign an official ‘start’ stamp merely uses a broad brush to gloss over the inescapable fact that for weeks now politicians at local and national level have been after us for our vote.

Like all courtships it has a certain format with the suitors bearing gifts of one kind or another... and we all know what they say about people bearing gifts!

What has amused me down the years is that, while the faces may change, the tub-thumping rhetoric, histrionics and extravagant promises remain the same. Give me your vote, they say, and I’ll make sure you’ve never had it so good!

By my count this is my ninth general election so I’m sparing a thought for you and the rest of the electorate who, like me, are just totally disillusioned with politics in general and politicians in particular.

Now my view may be challenged by the political machine which will be trying to coax people to the polling booth, their argument being that interest in the government of this country has never been keener. Sadly the facts will not support them.

Figures show that the turn-out for the last three general elections in 2001, 2005 and 2010 has been the lowest since 1918.

And the turnout for those three elections, which left the electorate clearly underwhelmed,  was a minimum of six percent and as much as a staggering 11.7 percent less than the previous lowest turnout of 71.1 percent way back in 1935.

It merely underlines politicians’ greatest skill which is to believe their own exaggerations.

What the job millions of voters face is not to support promises for some non-existent land of milk and honey but to weed out the lies, hot air and evasion before making as shrewd a choice as possible from what is left.

It is a thankless task, but only by gritting our teeth and carrying it out do we retain the right to be critical of the next brains trust to take its seat in Westminster.

That squirrel’s driving me to the nuthouse!

WE have robins nesting in a conifer bush in our garden, opposite our French windows.
Just watching them makes me feel tired because they are zipping in and out with loads of material or food every minute or so.

Contrast the pleasure of seeing them at work with the unwanted regular morning arrival of a grey squirrel, presumably out foraging from the nearby cemetery.

This damaging creature has left our lawns looking like a giant demented woodpecker has been having a go at them, scores of holes half the size of a golf ball where the squirrel has either excavated something or retrieved some food items cached for the winter.

The robin will fiercely defend its territory but the squirrel is equally determined to get at anything it fancies and so it wrecks bird food displays, digs holes in flower beds, excavates newly-planted vegetable areas I’ve just broken my back to dig and plant or knocks over pots and ornaments.

We are not short of grey squirrels which have been a pest for some time. One less in my area would be very welcome. 

I hear squirrel pie is very tasty, or perhaps a stew, or burgers...

There’s no fooling you madam

WELL, last Wednesday was April 1st, otherwise known as All Fools’ Day, and I’m sure you all successfully negotiated the usual pranks, fantastic claims and bizarre broadcast items designed to catch you out.

Among a number of chuckles I have had were two pensioners reading their papers in a coffee shop.

The woman was gasping at various unusual stories she had come across, but the man was having none of it.

He said: “Don’t be so daft! They’re all made up.”

She replied: “That eclipse thing the other week wasn’t made up.”

To which the man hit back: “Well that wasn’t April 1st, was it.”

You can’t argue with that.

Keyholder forgot the drill

FEW people look forward to a visit to the dentist but one group of early morning patients found themselves on a visit to remember.

They arrived at the surgery in Weymouth where they greeted the dentist, staff and fellow patients before settling down for the usual wait.

But there was nothing usual at all about this wait because everyone – the dentist included – were all still out in the car park!

It emerged that the key had yet to arrive and, despite a number of hurried phone calls, everyone remained firmly locked out.

It began to look like someone might have to drive across town to get another key when the missing key finally turned up and everyone trooped in, in fear and expectation.

It brought a “hole” new meaning to the expression “filling in time”!

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