Monday, October 09, 2006

Straw Vote

It would be fair to say that politics and I have never been comfortable travelling companions. In fact, rarely have we been in the same vehicle together.

In the days when I used to saunter into the London School of Economics, I would linger at the Communist bookstall on the mezzanine floor, not because I was attracted to the array of pamphlets on display but rather more so to the pretty girl who was dishing them out. It was not her Marxist mind I was after, more her body, which I felt, in the true spirit of Communism, she should share with me. I had a limited degree of success in this but, much as with Communism itself, the affair withered and died, and with it, my interest in politics.

Subsequently I felt that, as far as politics were concerned, I was in much the same position as a passenger on a runaway bus. You may have paid the fare but your chances of gaining any control were minimal, and then there was that notice instructing you not to speak to the driver whilst the thing was in motion.

So I was pleased to see that in Great Britain, which is, as you know, now a sub-division of Scotland, an English politician stood up and expressed himself clearly, truthfully and succinctly, without malice or prejudice. Mr. Jack Straw proposed that Muslim ladies who wished to have a discussion with him should, in private, lift their veils so that he could have a genuinely face to face talk with them. And they had done so quite willingly, it seems.

A very large percentage of the Muslim community agreed with him, perhaps the only dissenters being that minor group who view any comments other than by Muslims as being sacrilegious and an excuse for a Holy war.

I think most of us are in agreement. No one likes to talk to somebody wearing sunglasses, especially if they happen to be State Troopers on a US Interstate.

Not being much interested in politics and, frankly, finding Mr. Straw less attractive than my former Communist liaison (I always felt that he looked like the man who used to call to read our gas meter), I had not paid much attention to his views up until now. There was an element of the old school tie, however, which warmed me toward him since we had attended the same school, and at first I attributed his display of sound commonsense to this. Then I recalled that the discredited historian, David Irving, he of holocaust denial fame, had also been at the same alma mater, so I discarded that idea.

But, not surprisingly, the denizens of Downing Street refused to rally behind him, apparently unaware that almost all of their electorate were in full agreement with his thinking.

This was, of course, due to the fact that he had breached that solemn oath of a politician never to tell the truth.

It is a little known fact that, on being elected by a generally disinterested public and being admitted into the inner sanctum of government, the appointee has to attend a ceremony held at Number Ten, Downing Street. There, on bended knee, in the presence of the two principle lairds of the kingdom, dressed in their tradition kilts and with claymores at the slope, sporrans swinging in the breeze, he (or sometimes she) swears a mighty oath on the Holy Haggis never to tell the truth, the whole truth or even a little bit of the truth, so help me Tony, and never, ever, to make their true feelings known to the public at large. This solemn occasion is enhanced by the faint skirl of the bagpipes coming from the kitchen, where odd job man Prescott is pouring the whiskey for the piper. He is not allowed at the ceremony, being of the wrong ethnicity. This incident should point up just what a failure Hadrian and his wall have proved to be over the years.

Having received the blessing of his masters, the candidate is allowed to retire, backwards, into Downing Street.

And it was his breaking of this solemn oath that accounts for the lack of support for Mr. Straw. You would think that he would know better, having already been promoted sideways for criticising the top nabob, but no, he just blundered on and spoke his mind.

What the future holds for him now is a moot point. Had he been caught fiddling his expenses or having a bit of nooky with one of his staff, he would have been in line for promotion, but truth will out – if you see what I mean – out of government.

Perhaps he should get on and write his memoirs, but if he does, his penchant for the truth might let him down. After all, no other politician’s autobiography has been much other than a work of fiction.

However, if he’s reading this and wants a hand, I’m available.

And that would rekindle my interest in politics.

PS. Just caught a glimpse of a headline on BBC news. It read: “Prescott Backs Right to Wear Veil.” Well, I think he should – he’s not much of an oil painting!


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