Saturday, April 4, 2015

Election Diary - Day 6: Of Gauls and Galloway

Saturday 4th April
A quirk of our electoral calendar is that election campaigns frequently coincide with Easter, which in this instance leads to sedateness, blind dates, and the French.1

“Excusez-moi, Monsieur Consul-General.”
“What time is this, Albert?” replied the Consul General, stirring from his slumber and instinctively lighting a Gauloises.
It was five in the morning, and in the master bedroom of the French Consulate in Edinburgh, all was not well. The Consul-General never likes to be disturbed early after his Friday night function, but something must be up.
“What has ‘appened?”
“The phone is ringing off the ‘ook.”
“Parce que?”
“Is it possible that you or one of your ambassadors had a conversation with Nicola Sturgeon?”
“We’re French! We talk with loads of women!”
“I mean, in a professional capacity.”
“Ah. Well, that is less likely, but c’est possible.”
“Well, did she ever mention that she would prefer Monsieur Cameron as Le Premier Ministre, and that Monsieur… I forget his name. The other one? The sort of dark-haired Tintin?”
“Ah. Glenn Miller Band.”
“Vraiment. Well, did she also say that he was not up to the job?”
“I can’t remember. If she was talking about British politics, I was probably too bored to listen.”
Albert informs the Consul-General that The Daily Telegraph has a report on an official memo detailing this alleged conversation. The Consul-General is adamant that no such conversation happened, and therefore has to spring to action. He takes his morning Cointreau and hurries downstairs.
“Vite, Albert, vite! We must head to Madame Sturgeon to apologise in the classic French style. You bring the scooter round. I’ll get the croissants.”

There is, in some quarters, a light-hearted atmosphere on this Easter Saturday morning, not least in this morning’s Guardian, where they have done a political blind date between leader of the Greens, Natalie Bennett, and MP for the 19th century and opposer of the 1832 Great Reform Act, Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Even here, though, there is a bit of tension. Though the two profess to having got on quite well, Rees-Mogg gave his date 10/10, whilst Bennett gave him 5/10. Well, we’ve all been there, Jacob.
The romance would have be star-crossed at best. Natalie Bennett is a radically left-wing, modern woman, whereas Rees-Mogg is a man who has to be restrained from making his campaign slogan “Vox populi, vox dei”. In The Guardian write-up of their date, he was asked “What do you think she made of you?” He replied: “No idea. To see oneself as others see one is a great gift, but not one I necessarily have.”
No Jacob. I think that "one" does not necessarily have that gift.

You don’t have to feel sorry for Nick Clegg, but it’s getting harder not to. Here’s a picture of the campaign office in his newly marginal constituency of Sheffield Hallam.

By comparison, here is a picture of David Cameron’s in Witney:

Star of the debates and new Batman nemesis, The Heckler, has been explaining her motivations. In a Guardian article. Her first line is surprising: “When I spoke up and heckled David Cameron during last night’s party leaders’ debate, I didn’t expect my face to be all over the internet within 24 hours.”
Really? Really? You interrupted the Prime Minister live on national television, and whilst wearing that gilet. You must at least have expected BuzzFeed to pick up on it.

And now the main event of the day. Labour’s star-studded rally in glitzy Warrington. This afternoon we have Eddie Izzard (who has been a frequent campaigner for Labour since the last election), Ben Elton (who is presumably writing a terrible musical about the campaign), and Bilbo Baggins, who is attending via Palantir.
Meanwhile, in the audience it’s everyone’s favourite electoral innocent, Joey Essex. Joey said something really sweet the other night on Andrew Neil’s political discussion and low-budget cabaret show This Week. He said “I think these people are just trying to do the right thing.”
Aww, bless.

To be frank, dear reader, it has been a drab day, which is fair enough for a Saturday but nevertheless frustrating. As a writer, you are often waiting for inspiration: for someone or something to emerge that genuinely fires the neurons and gets the passion flowing.
Enter George Galloway, who is running for his Respect party in Bradford West, and was today the subject of a small joke from the Bradford Brewery. “Are you still a thing @georgegalloway?”they tweeted.
In his lair, Galloway saw this and thought to himself “How could I overreact to this best?”
He lurched to the keyboard and fired back: “What does that mean? And should you as a licensed premises in my constituency really be writing that?”
“That’ll have them quaking in their barrels,” he thought to himself, but much to his chagrin they did not have the good-manners to bow down to his inflamed threats.
“You're the only candidate not to come and say hi. Was just wondering,” they reasoned, before following up with “You're a candidate. It's not your constituency.”
Enraged by their reasoned and constitutionally-informed impudence, Galloway decided to give them the full “Kim Jong-Il” (I’m thinking less of the historical figure here, and more of the Team America: World Police puppet).
“Well then, I shall return to this matter after the election. You have been most unwise.” He reiterated this threat again a little later, before moving from twitter to You Tube to watch the old video of him impersonating a cat whilst on Celebrity Big Brother, to remind himself of a time when he was universally respected.
He sits dreaming of May 8th and how he is going to shut the insolent pub down, and then everyone will know that he is, indeed, still a thing. He attempts to twirl his moustache and practices his evil laugh.

1 Events depicted may differ from actual events. In fact, this is a work of fiction, with some facts. But mostly, it's nonsense.

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