Posts Tagged ‘council’

What now shall we do,
With the red, white and the blue?
Our jolly jack, half-mast, and shredded,
Timbers liberally embedded
With grapeshot, of raking volley,
Scrap metal of corruption,
Sleaze and folly.

So many left to die, felled by cutlass
Of entitled spin and lie.
Holed below the water,
Pride of fleet adrift,
Towed out to slaughter,
No steam, no course, no captain.
No steerage in the storm,
And not a single friendly port
To call our own.

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In spite of the ongoing pandemic, there are local elections taking place in various areas on May 6th. For anyone on the left, politics can seem like something of a lost cause these days. There is the hope we still have a shout in the locals though, and the Party cheerleaders, and their friends at the Guardian this week, are certainly keeping their peckers up in that respect. Locally though, we’re a little more realistic and expect a drubbing.

Once in a blue moon, I drop leaflets for the local constituency Labour Party. It’s a mystery how I’ve ended up doing this. My son was (briefly) a party member, so it’s his job really, but he resigned in dismay, post 2019, post Corbyn. And what with Bad Boy Boris still sailing high in the polls, on the strength of 130,000 dead, he’s lost faith in the topsy-turvy world of politics, and that anything can ever change for the better. That said, we managed to squeak our guy into the borough council chamber last time, which meant a Labour majority. But now the boundaries have been changed to include a larger swathe of blue, and he’s not so hopeful of being re-elected. When he accosted me over the garden hedge, sounding me out about the leaflets again, I got the impression we were just going through the motions, but he’s a nice guy, and I have the time, and why not?

So I’ve been out in the spring sunshine, wandering up garden paths with all the confidence of a man on official business. There are about a hundred properties, some of them remote. The boss-class Jags and Beamers on the driveways confirm this is not your natural Labour heartland, but I don’t want the Blues thinking they’ve a clear run. And one never knows.

Letter boxes are interesting things, at least they are if you’re in a philosophical frame of mind. Those up-tight double flapped draught excluder ones (like the one I have) are the worst. They scrunch up your neatly folded leaflets and trap them somewhere between the inside and the outside. Postmen must really hate them. And if you try to shove your hand through to lift the inner flap and get your stuff through cleanly, they’ll trap your fingers, if you’ve rings on them.

Then there are the old-fashioned easy lift-up type with the busted return springs – the type that rattle and squeak a bit in the wind. They’re the best, suggestive of a relaxed household, one that’s garden gnomey, with a cosy cat curled up somewhere. Your leaflets just sail through those. Then there are the posh mail-boxes that stand like sentries, keeping you at a distance from the door.

Long, scrunchy gravel driveways, electric gates, electric fences, keep out signs, beware of the dog signs, and the plethora of security cameras that protect wealthy egos, they’re all intimidating, but I’m on official business. I’m representing your local councillor, so I shall pass!

After the rout of the general election in 2019, we’ve entered a strangely post-political era, Orwellian in many ways, post truth, post fact, and with a media either powerfully in support of the incumbent, or shamelessly supine in not calling out even their most egregious transgressions. The left too, is in a pretty hopeless state, something self-neutering about it. On the plus side, I’m impressed by the various independent media – Novara, Double Down News, Byline Times, but they’re preaching to the converted and I don’t see them getting much traction in the main-stream. My own position these days, while still left leaning, has somewhat transcended the fray.

I’m working on the assumption the coming years will be turbulent as Brexit bites, and the Union disintegrates. There’s also the chance of a return to sectarian bloodshed in Ireland, and for which History will judge the British harshly, unless, as seems likely, History will be abolished, unless it can be proven to be Patriotic. Meanwhile, the right-authoritarians consolidate their grip even further on hearts and minds, by blaming it all on someone else. Politics is one of the most complicated stories there is, but all we want are simple answers, which is why many of us would sooner get our information from the crass soundbites of Youtube and Facebook pundits, making us all suckers for disinformation and spin.

A handful of leaflets for the locals isn’t going to change any of that. But it gets you round the houses, and it’s nice to see the various ways people make the approaches to their homes homely, or otherwise. Almost everyone I met was pleasant. The two ladies taking morning tea in their sunny front garden were charming, and received my leaflets like they were the most important missives they’d had in weeks. Just the one curmudgeon told me where to shove them. Then there’s the party member, and conference vet. If he sees you out and about, that’s it for an hour on the subject of where the left is going wrong, like I really care any more. He’s talked to this person and that person (drop name here) “at conference”, lets you know he knows infinitely more about politics than you ever will, as he may well do. But I do wonder why he isn’t he taking the leaflets round instead of me.

Anyway, May 6th. Whatever your political stripes, do read those leaflets. I know they’re cringe-worthy and my lot managed to wiggle in a few typos, which will have raised eyebrows among the keener eyed. But they’re the only info you’ll get unless you’re lucky enough to be door-stepped by your local candidates, and they tend only to go for the known floaters. I know, politics is mostly bullshit and name-calling, but votes count. So let’s have your votes.

And now after all that dirty politics talk, I need a bath in something slow, repetitive, and with lots of reverb:

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