Vox unpopuli

The repetitive, uninspired and party-line-towing of most politicians depresses me. It depresses me enough to consider seriously the possibility of doing something about it, and standing for election myself. We Herringshaws have a proud track record of rejecting common sense and putting our names forward as candidates. Standing as the Liberal candidate for Birmingham Small Heath, G. H. Herringshaw was roundly trounced in the 1970 general election, whilst my dear father, G. Peasmould Herringshaw, successfully failed twice to persuade the New Parks local electorate to make him a Leicester councillor. I would be certain to complete a noble triumvirate of non-representation.

This struck me forcefully as I sat at the back of a first aid class recently, listening to the rest of the group (including the course instructor) venting their ill-considered spleen. Early on, inoculation was discussed, and the link between MMR and autism brought up. There is no link, as proper practitioners of science and medicine have endlessly made clear, but the British media (collective noun, an ignorance) declared there was, and their ovine readership continue to bleat on about it.

At some other point, the state of the roads came up. The electorate love their cars, so they worship those who also love cars, like Jeremy Clarkson. And this is important, as car owners are the most hard-done-by people in the world today, and justifiably angry, as their commute to work can sometimes be ten or twelve minutes longer than they want it to be because someone inconsiderate bugger has only gone and collapsed by the side of a major road, and a diversion has had to be created so that those meddling paramedics can get to the scene and try and save their life, so anyone wanting to get elected has to listen to them. Which is unfortunate for me, as I want petrol prices to be as high as possible, the tax revenues generated being invested in cycle networks and public transport.

As for speed cameras, I don't disagree that they are an easy source of revenue for the authorities. I'd prefer to see fewer of them, and more of the signs that flash up your speed and tell you to slow down if you're exceeding the limit. However, I've no time for the speed camera moaners. It's not as if it's difficult to avoid a fine. Don't break the speed limit and you won't have to part with your cash, tosspots!

Whilst I was daydreaming about irate motorists, the occupants of the room had moved onto drug taking. A former shopping mall-cum-cinema complex security guard regaled us with tales of how a man on magic mushrooms had left a screening of 'Transformers' thinking he could fly. Leaping off a balcony, he had singularly failed to do so, bursting his head on the polished stone floor beneath instead. The group tutted and muttered, decrying the drug-fuelled madness of the modern world. I reminisced about Sango Sands and an army of gorillas marching up the beach, recalling my contemplation of stepping out in front of a car on the Durness road.

And then they began regaling each other with tales of their caffeine addictions, and the shenanigans they'd got up to whilst blind-drunk, and I knew I was alone in wondering how they could condemn cannabis and psilocybin whilst lauding the magic of coffee and booze.

Predictably, almost inevitably, the most rabid, pig ignorant and stultifyingly ill-informed person in the room was the one who wanted to be a policewoman. Crime was mentioned, and onto a bandwagon she enthusiastically jumped. "Hanging's too good for them! They need to be castrated! Slowly! Let them bleed!" With law and order in the hands of people like her, we'll no doubt be back to beheading pickpockets before long.

But democracy is a wonderful idea, of course, and everyone deserves the vote.
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