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Friday, April 08, 2005


HowardA.jpgGAINST MY BITTER JUDGEMENT, and despite last year's horrorshow - I remain an incorrigible, capital-F sucker for elections. Call me a democrat with any size 'D' if you will - I can't help myself? And though I've complained before - and promise to do so again - that I cannot yet vote here where I live - No Taxation Without Representation is our battle whine here in the Xenoverse, remember - I remain fully entitled to vote there: back in Blighty, where Tony Blair has this week called a general election.

I have, however, chosen not to exercise that right: I don't believe it proper to be casting expatriator votes for a government and country I left away behind me?

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more:
Men were deceivers ever.
One foot in sea and one on shore,
To one thing constant, never.

But this year, this british general election, I'm given pause to think again. Just this once, I'm feeling a little... what? What the hairy hell is that? Sssh: Regret?

Why? Whhhhyyyyyyyyyyy???

Very few of you will likely have heard of his principal opponent - the Rt. Hon. Michael Howard MP, QC Blah Blah - but expats of a certain age and lineage, whose formative hippy years were spent under the crushing hoof of The Mad Cow: we are not so lucky. We know Who He Is alright: he was at one time Number Two in her pantheon of toadies, beaten in cringing smarminess only by the arch-slither Kenneth Baker, who you won't have heard of either? Perhaps if I tell you that while Michael Howard was serving as Home Secretary (Major, not Thatcher), and therefore in charge of Her Majesty's Prisons amongst other things, that his deputy Ann Widdecombe, who herself led one of Thatcher's Harridan Squadrons, famously said of her boss that "There is something of the night in him" you may begin to appreciate what a piece of work he is? But really, you'd have to listen to him speaking, if only for a minute, for a proper sense of recoil? We who remember, shudder. I swear... it is his ugly voice that I'll forever fear! sang sensational Alex in another time, but all the best songs are timeless.

How to explain? You know, sometimes the imagination forms its own caricature of people? Like that guy I used to work with - call him "Bog Brush", as we all did after that time I misheard his given name as "Andrex" - who was so cruel, so sneering and arrogant in his everyday demeanor? Who gave the word demeanor substance? The vision I formed of him was of someone who could stand on the lip of a trench and callously unload his Schmeiser into it? An outrageous and ridiculous exagerration I know, but that's what appeared, though I never asked for it? It conjured itself as involuntarily reaction to his giving me the creeps. And once there, lodged?

Pimpernels.jpgThe image, the cartoon, that I hold in my head of Michael Howard is quite different: it is a picture of an eighteenth century fop, a dandy, stood at the bars of a gaol with perfumed 'kerchief held to his nose to disguise the awful stench; but tittering, and poking some lowly prisoner there with a stick? The unfortunate is likely some gypsy dragged there by the Mob - for Michael Howard always favors some kind of race card or other in his hand, and is particularly fond of gypsies. After all, everyone is still allowed to hate the gypsies, aren't they?

Michael Howard gives me the willies.

Foppery.pngBut there's more to this year's general election than Michael effing Howard. Another reason I'm tempted to vote is that this time, when my man Blair wins - the only man of mine who has ever won - it will be to win his Third term. If I'm not mistaken, the Labour Party has never won a third term? Ever. I fancy I'd like to play my tiny part in that, as I did with his first. He may have taken one hell of a beating over Iraq, that's true, but he's taken it bottoms-up-trousers-down like a man. When he faces Question Time whether in parliament or on television or on the bloody streets, he faces his hostile audience squarely. He doesn't pack the town halls with miserable squealers; neither does he require them to sign any Loyalty oaths, nor will they be kicked to the curb by a bouncer for wearing LibDem woolly sweaters? I like Blair - admittedly from the distant Xenoverse it must be said - for many reasons, but chiefly I think because when he addresses the Outside World in his Statesman hat, he really does make W. look like an imbecile by comparison? Doesn't mean it's true - I try not to misunderestimate the Bush - but Blair makes it sound like it's true.

It is also the case this year, I hear, that fat and indolent british voters like me are to be encouraged to vote from their sofas, by postal ballot, if they cannae be arsed walking just down the street to the Polling Place? There is indeed a controversy brewing - for in Britain postal ballots are being viewed as untrustworthy, electoral anthrax, a written invitation to abuse? It's one thing to let your crippled Granny vote that way, but quite another to encourage the general punters to do so? Visions abound of mass-campaign Stoppers squatting in fetid attics across the country, stuffing phoney ballots into envelopes; or of stern-faced immigrant Fathers taking the franchise rights of their wives and daughters unto themselves? Here in America, on the other hand, I don't remember there being any such shenanigans in Oregon, a state where everybody votes by post? Did I miss something?

Fourthly, finally I suppose, there is the looming truth that, barring some unforseen disaster, this will be my very last chance to vote as a Briton. By Friday May 6th that part of my life will be definitively over. No: I won't succomb to the urge for a final indulgence. If everything goes to plan, the next time I vote will be November 2008, just down the road here, in sunny California.

Then sigh not so, but let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into Hey nonny, nonny.


*   I apologise for the title, but I can't help myself: I'm as much a sucker for Engrish as I am for growling puns. I also apologise for my lack of posting this week: I blame that squarely on an overactive Work gland. Oh, and Blogger has been a total bitch! Just saying is all, not complaining: You get what you pay for.


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