Tag Archives: politics


2 Mar

My niece might come too,” said Griselda craftily after she’d explained that there was only one way they were going to find out why the UFO appeared in Swanspottle and destroyed a row of charming if draughty ancient cottages, and that involved travelling across the mighty Atlantic ocean and visiting the White House in Washington. Bumptious Tiddles, the leader of what was tantamount to being a defunct Parish Council had protested most vehemently at the suggestion that a journey like that need in any way involve him.

I’m going nowhere, and that’s flat!” he shouted above the raucous rhythms of Chubby Checker doing the twist again. “I’ve got no head for heights,” he added, trying to sound convincing.

Griselda fixed her eyes onto him and they were spooky affairs. They seemed to reach into his very soul and see all the nastiness he’d accumulated over the years. They seemed even to peel back his memories one by one and snigger at what they found there. They even delved into his love-life and sniggered in a way that eyes don’t. He’d never seen anything like them.

I haven’t even got a passport,” he concluded feebly, and even he knew that absence of official documents would be no barrier at all if this ancient piece of ancient and spooky womanhood wanted to do something.

Tittle!” she snapped, confirming his suspicions. “We’ll go by broomstick and slip in by a back door that I know…”

B-b-broomstick?” he stammered.

My best one,” she grinned, “you’ve never seen anything like it! Talk about supercharged or what! And the luxury of just the right number of knobbles to keep my geriatric bottom satisfied over what will be quite a long journey if we stick to the skies all the way…”

But … but … have you any idea how far it is to America?” he stuttered, “it takes hours on a Jumbo and days on an ocean liner! It’s impossible by broomstick!”

Tosh,” she smirked, “where I’m concerned there are no obstacles except those that dwell in the mind, and your mind, if you don’t mind me saying it, Councillor, is absolutely chock-a-block with obstacles of every possible hue! We’ve got to dust them away, clarify your thinking, create a man out of you!”

Bumpy was at a loss for words. This ancient crag of a woman seemed to have something to contradict anything he might say, and when he failed to respond favourably to her was cogent and forceful arguments she played her ace card.

He niece.

But I’m gay….” he tried, but to no avail.

He knew his own preferences when it came to friends and partners like the back of his hand and he’d had the odd cohabitee over the years capable of confirming it. After all, Sailor John was his best ever friend and they got on so well together he’d even thought of resigning as a councillor, giving up his dream of success in politics for good, and turning for a trade to the big blue briny, until he discovered that Sailor John had been forced into retirement due to an inability to stand upright on even the most motionless of seas, but he had insisted on keeping his nickname as a means of impressing like-minded souls, and Sailor John he was, though no longer any kind of sailor.

Tush,” grinned Griselda. “Come on. Drink up and we’ll be back to my little place to pick up my number one broomstick. Then, my hearty, we’ll be off for the States come wind or fine weather, cloud or rain, snow or hail! We’ll have a journey that you’ll remember for the rest of your life, and may that be a long and glorious affair with the charms of my niece visiting you whenever you feel low!”

But I’m gay…” he mumbled again, but followed her anyway.

Bumpy had been in politics of one kind or another all his life and he knew many a slippery way out of just about any situation. He had even managed to get the borough treasurer locked up for fraud when the truth was the very opposite and that good official had kept his books with such singular perfection that not even a penny went adrift. But he’d used a devious argument involving virtual debts and hypothetical sums, and succeeded. So he should be able to deal with this old hag, surely? But he found, there and then, that no matter what he said he could get nowhere near influencing this piece of what he looked on as geriatric scum.

I’m not, you know,” she grated at him from the back of her throat.

What?” he stammered.

Scum,” she said, “not even of the geriatric sort. but you’ll find that out for yourself when we’re heading into an anticyclone a thousand miles from land with only the twigs of my besom between us and certain doom!”

His legs should have responded to instructions sent by his brain, instructions that said run, run, run, as fast as you can and even faster but they wouldn’t. Instead of him galloping like a demented schoolboy down the street and away as fast as he could go he found himself tagging along behind Griselda, incapable of any independent action of his own.

Incapable, he thought shamefully, of even thinking.

And still totally under the control of the oldest woman he had ever encountered and with the sun beaming down from a sparkling blue sky, he found himself sitting astride the knobbly shaft of an elderly broomstick behind the slightly musty fragrance of that old woman’s garments as she did something with her bony backside and, as if by magic, rising with her into the heavens with a cry on his lips and a faltering heart in his chest.

The nightmare of the journey back to Griselda’s cottage was every bit as bad as the nightmare of the journey from that same cottage to the Crowne and Anchor had been and Bumptious found himself vomiting before they reached her front door. He couldn’t help feeling a, for him, strange feeling of empathy as the noxious contents of his stomach, diluted as they were by the two drinks he’d had at the pub, cascaded onto the nicely permed head of a mini-skirted tart who happened to be sauntering along enjoying the weather and looking for trade.

Oh mercy me and I’m sorry,” he wept, but she didn’t hear, not with her ears filled with goo.

They were back swiftly enough, though, and Griselda leapt from the broomstick with practised ease and had her key in the front door before Bumpy could have said Jack Robinson even if he’d wanted to. He did, however, managed to mutter bitch under his breath, and trying to sort out a suitable adjective that might precede it.

We’ll have a cuppa before we go,” she grinned at him, “you like my special tea, don’t you?”

He didn’t, but was incapable of making any reply save the rather rancid Grrr that didn’t mean anything at all.

The next half hour passed, so far as the Parish Councillor was concerned, in a blur of nonsense as Griselda packed the smallest suitcase he’d ever seen with an assortment of lingerie that had gone out of fashion before the first world war stole too many lives from too many people.

My best knickers,” she cackled when she noticed him ogling them. “They were made to last,” she added with a bashful grin.

By the time she was packed and ready he was beginning to feel more like his old self and was on the brink of asking her where her niece was and could he sit next to her when she went to an outhouse and returned with what she described as her Mark One super-duper dream of a broomstick.

It didn’t look much different from the one they’d travelled to the pub on, though the twigs at the business end maybe sparkled a little.

Off we go, then,” smirked Griselda, leaping onto the front end of her best broomstick, and he couldn’t help it. Something or someone, probably the old witch he was learning to detest, had control of his mind and however hard he tried he could only straddle the shaft of the broomstick and submit to a power he would never understand.

Wheeee!” she shrieked, and the force of several g’s almost swept him back to the ground.

Almost, but unfortunately for him, not quite.

© Peter Rogerson 01.02.18



6 Jun

The sun wasn’t shining when Laura Pinner went to cast her vote. It couldn’t be because her heart was hanging low as she entered the polling station and looked around at the desk where the officials were sitting, and then at the kiddies drawings on the wall. It was the local school, closed for the day for such an important event, and the sun went further away when she saw her daughter’s simple picture with a golden star stuck to it by the teacher.

But today was polling day and nothing mattered save the vote. She sniffed and presented her card to the Returning Officer, who smiled at her and told her it wasn’t that bad, surely?

Because she was crying.

She shook her head. The sun would never return to wash over her spirit. It couldn’t. There was no light where he thoughts went, no warmth, not even the tiniest glow.

She looked at the voting paper.

Memories came flooding back.

Her parents had always agreed over politics. At least, daddy had expressed an opinion and mummy had smiled and nodded and poured some tea.

Daddy knew which side his bread was buttered. He was on a ladder and he told everyone about it. With no special education he’d set foot on the bottom rung of the ladder and slowly, almost painfully, managed to reach the second after ten years of struggle. But he was on the way up! The government was seeing to that, the men and women in Parliament and the laws they passed that guaranteed that the factory owners would make a killing, would grab hold of the gigantic cake of industry, but he, on that precious ladder, was in an ideal position to catch a few crumbs. And the crumbs had been there, some of them, morsels of goodness, a few savoury droppings from his master’s plate.

So daddy had sallied forth every election day and voted Conservative. It was his duty. It would ensure that every tomorrow saw the cascade of crumbs all nice and precious for him to try to grab. It guaranteed that life would always promise to be good, one day, when this or that boat came in.

Daddy had died a year or so ago. He’d been proudly on the fourth step and so much of the climb still lay ahead, but work had taken its toll and his heart hadn’t been up to it. The strain had been too much and the crumbs, regrettably, too few.

She looked back at the voting paper and the names on it.

Mummy had been a real joy. Although she’d never agreed with daddy because she saw things a great deal more clearly, she’d never argued or rowed about politics but gently, like the woman she was, gone her own way. Daddy had never bothered about the way she voted because he was sure that she voted the same way as him because that was the right thing to do. She had to. There were the crumbs to think about. But on the sly she’d been an independent person with a mind of her own and always voted the way she felt. Despising extremes, she’d always voted Liberal and then, when things changed, Liberal Democrat. Laura knew that and thought it a wonderful breath of fresh air, that mummy had voted differently from daddy, that she’d been her own woman. But grief had been too much for her and taken her, and she’d died too.

She looked back at her voting paper and shook her head.

The picture on the wall made tears form in her eyes again when she caught the least glimpse of it.

Sophie had drawn it, Sophie had painted it so carefully it was a miracle of a child’s talent, and Mrs Blossom had stuck a gold star on it and praised the girl and whispered effusive commendations into her ear.

But wonderful as that was it hadn’t cured the cancer.

Sophie was only eight, and she had cancer. And not so long ago she’d died in an overcrowded children’s ward where they just couldn’t get their hands on enough nurses or medicines or doctors or anything important.

Sophie had been an angel, but the shortages and the wonderfully unsuccessful austerity caused by bankers and their mischief a decade or more ago had helped her die. They’d said her time would be limited anyway, that the cancer was so evil and so unresponsive to any kind of treatment and most certainly inoperable that she would have died sooner or later.

But like she did?

A great deal was being said about the cost of health. Politicians had rowed about it. They made promises, all of them hollow, none of them going to help Sophie because Sophie was dead and so was Laura’s heart.

She went into the voting booth. Nobody could see her. Nobody would know until she’d cast her vote.

Which she did in the fleetest of moments.

She placed her voting paper in front of her and took a blade from her small perfect handbag and, closing her eyes, slashed it as deeply as she could across her own left wrist.

And when she opened her eyes she smiled to see so much blood.

With barely a tremor she marked a cross, in the purest and reddest of blood, on her voting paper, and then closed her eyes again.

She was in that voting booth for quite a long time before someone noticed the pool of blood oozing under the curtain that made her voting secret, and raced to see what might be wrong.

An ambulance was called, but too late. There’s only so much blood in a frail woman’s body, and she had used all of hers to mark a simple cross.

“She voted labour,” muttered the officer, and he slipped her paper into the voting box before glancing at the pretty picture by a child called Sophie and thinking how lucky everyone was to have such a child in the world.

© Peter Rogerson 03.06.17


17 Nov

Quite a lot of people have tried to define the age we live in and almost without exception they come out with words that imply that, politically, we live in post-truth Britain.

But what does this mean? For as long as I can remember politicians have been accused of being free and easy when it comes to the truth. Quite often the actual facts behind a situation might get in the way of their own personal happiness, wealth or sex life. Yes, I did say sex life. There’s not much some politicians (or men of any persuasion, be they politicians, bin-men or lawyers amongst the whole rainbow of employed people) wouldn’t promise in bed to a loved one when they’re in the opening glory and first muscular twitch of an orgasm. And promises, if made to one’s nearest and dearest, are often reasonably sacrosanct.

But it’s not the bed-room mutterings I’m thinking of so much as the wealth ones. Politicians like to line their pockets because there’s one thing they know about their jobs and that is the simple fact it might only last until the next election, when a disenchanted public might oust them from the gravy train.

And in this age of materialism the gravy on that train is positively addictive.

Let’s look at this particular period of time with my birth bracketing one end and today bracketing the other.

The world has, in that seventy-three (almost) years become a very different place. My father died within only a few years of me being was born, so I was brought up (with my younger brother) by a widowed mother and the one pride and joy in our home was the radiogram. It was furniture. It was polished. And it made sounds. The gram part, although electric, only had one speed (78 rpm) and the radio had never heard of VHF. Many people had similar radiograms but few had a better one. We didn’t have a television set (there were a few around, my uncle had one with a tiny screen and pictures in less than fifty shades of grey – they said it was black and white but in all honesty when my mum dragged me to his house there was only grey and never actual black or real white.

Domestic chores were done (by mum) by hand and the house was owned by the local council as part of a large estate of hastily built steel houses put up in haste to house people made homeless by the German Luftwaffe.

So the only thing of any worth we owned was that radiogram, and I wish I had it now. But it probably went into a tip when my mother died half a century ago. The thing is, though, we may have been poorer than most but I, as a schoolboy, didn’t really know that. I wore a school uniform (all of the daylight hours, I didn’t have what you would call casual play clothes) and my grey shorts were the same as anyone else’s grey shorts. They didn’t mark me out as being different. The society we lived in, still shuddering from wartime destruction of both property and lives, didn’t make life any harder for my mum that widowhood would anyway. And she lived in an age that was still warped by Victorian false morality and I believe never thought once of relieving the sexual tensions brought on by her widowed status with a parade of strangers marching through her bedroom. She wouldn’t even have turned to plastic. But all that is by the by.

These days there’s so much more.

Look around your home and at the devices few people owned back when the bracket opened. Kitchen appliances. That blessing in electronic disguise, the microwave. We had a cooker. Gas. Full stop. No mixer, food processor, electric tin opener, electric kettle… Nothing fancy like that, and until well into the fifties the iron was heated on the cooker hob.

My mother only ever owned one vacuum cleaner and it was a small hand-held one and she used it on the stairs. The rest of the house was swept, which was easy because the main floor covering was linoleum. Her sister had a carpet sweeper which the small boy me thought was magical when we called on her. You pushed it and hey! It picked things up! Things so small you couldn’t even see them! But then, she had the odd carpet in her home.

As I said, we had the radiogram and with it my mum had a selection of a few 78 rpm records. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik on two twelve inch records was played until the grooves gave out, and even beyond that, and there were maybe a dozen other more popular discs, gathered by her over many years. Lovely.

The radio aerial was a single length of wire that ran round the room, tucked neatly into the dado rail about a foot down from the ceiling and running round the front room. So we had decent reception, though that damned radio never managed to pick up Radio Luxembourg on 208 metres because the nearby BBC transmitter with its Third Programme output drowned out most things, especially when small boys were trying to tune in to something less classical.

And that was it. My mother didn’t own her home, had a radiogram and a copper in the kitchen in which she slavishly washed our clothes, and if she had the time a tiny hand-held vacuum cleaner for the dust on the stairs. We didn’t have a car (even now I can remember that man next door telling her she really ought to buy a car, it would make life so much easier, and her reply that she was a woman and didn’t drive…) Yes! In 1948ish a woman thought it less than womanly to drive! And before you all put fingers on keyboard in anger, I do know there were lady drivers back then!

The thing is, and this is the main point of this piece, the actual possession of material goods was on a different plane to the one it’s on today. And that’s true for everyone, even politicians.

So if a politician can, by lying, make life a little richer for himself then that’s what most of them will do. By a vote here, by a whispered word there, and when Referendums come along by as many dirty big lies as they can conjure up.

And wealth is addictive. The more some people get then the more they want, which explains in part what motivates the Farages, Johnsons and Trumps of this world. They will invent any version of what was never the actual truth in order to further their aims, and be most convincing when they say it. And the rest of us, those who’re never quite sure when our modest wealth is going to run out or be stolen by big business backed by a political elite, endorse their lies because we want to believe them.

So we have Brexit and the Americans have Trump, both brought about by lies or such gross distortions of the truth that they are lies, and I’m hard pressed to work out which is worst. But they are both present as nightmares that won’t go away because we, in our folly, created them from other people’s lies.

© Peter Rogerson 17.11.16


18 Apr

There was a chill in the air that shouldn’t have been there, not in high summer, not when the sun was shining from the kind of blue sky that artists have always loved painting and talking about. Chandry Boniface shivered.
“It’s cold,” hr growled.
“No,” smiled Elaina, his wife, “it’s really quite warm The reason you’re feeling cold is because you’re dead.”
Chandry thumped the table and the breakfast pots rattled. He fixed his eyes on Elaina and there was no doubt in his mind that he could see her quite plainly. If there was one thing he didn’t feel it was dead and he had more than a suspicion that the dead can’t see.
“Dead people don’t do this!” he snapped, picking up the milk jug and pouring its contents onto the floor next to where he was sitting.
“They do if they’re on their way to hell and don’t want to go there,” she told him, smirking.
“Hell? What do you mean, woman? There’s no way I’m destined for hell!” he protested, “I’ve always lived a spotless and practically perfect life! I’ve supported all sorts of charities, made huge donations to the unemployed and ruffled the tousled heads of wounded children! Nobody could say I haven’t been more than the most perfect of people!”
“You were a naughty boy once,” she reminded him with a half smile on her lovely face. “And my, weren’t you naughty!”
He glared at her, tempted to bellow his response but something in his throat wouldn’t work.
“That was only me being natural!” he managed to splutter out. “And it wasn’t that naughty!”
“Well I always thought it was, and so did the creatures involved,” she told him severely. “You shouldn’t have done it and now look at you: shivering at breakfast on a beautiful day like this, with the sun shining and the promise of a lovely afternoon, and you about to fall to pieces.”
“I’m cold,” he mumbled, and his tongue fell out and ended splat in his cornflakes. “I didn’t want it anyway,” he tried to say, but speech without a tongue is well nigh impossible and it was just as well that Elaina knew exactly what he was failing to enunciate.
“Anyway, I didn’t mean when you were pulling the wings off bats for fun I meant when you were in politics,” she said quietly. “That’s when you were a really, really naughty boy.”
“I was a boon to the British people!” his head said, but the sound that came out of his mouth was “Mwa a boo to itish ple” and not even Elaina caught every syllable.
“It’s why you’re dead and on your way to hell, though,” she said quietly and ducked out of the way when one of his eyes popped out and flicked as if jet-propelled towards her. “I told you at the time: politics was never meant to be a route to personal wealth and happiness, though you couldn’t see it. Oh, I know you believe that it worked and you amassed so much wealth by taxing the poor that you could make teensy little personal donations to charity without noticing the change in the weight of your purse, but did it bring you happiness?”
“Did it bring either of us happiness? You could afford anything your heart desired and what did you spend so much money on? A penis extension! I mean, a penis extension! You were Chancellor of the Exchequer and the absolute pinnacle of your desires was to have a longer willy!”
“Glug gar glug!”
“It never crossed your mind that the money you spent on an extra inch or so in your pants might have bought a new hospital or a few more teachers for overcrowded schools, which is what the people who actually paid their considerable taxes really wanted, did it? And when the surgery was over and the pain had subsided, what did it benefit you? You could never bring yourself to you-know-what with me for fear your you-know-what went wrong or fell to bits… remember?”
Chandry Boniface tried to stand up in order to swipe his wife across her face, but his right leg disintegrated and he lurched, out of control, to the floor.
“You look rather sad down there,” murmured Elaina. “But you won’t be aware of it for long. I’m told the dead soon lose all contact with the living world, just that their going is slowed down by the stuff they’ve encumbered themselves with in life. It’s like a weight holding them back, though for most people it might be slowing their progress to Heaven. But for you it’s hell, I’m afraid. And you’ll find a few chums there, fellow wastrels and bullies with whom you can scream your agony as the flames lick at your unburning flesh for eternity. By the way, have you any clear idea how long eternity might be?”
“That’s it! Stars get born and die and still the fires lash every nerve of your body with unbelievable pain until you can’t even find another scream or wish for a merciful release for the millionth time…. But the Prime Minister will be there to comfort you whilst you comfort him, if you can…”
Chandry Boniface tried to heave himself on to his one remaining elbow, but that suddenly became dust as well. And the strain of all that effort caused his tongueless head to roll off into a puddle of milk. It felt a great deal better when he didn’t have the fragmented remains of his body to worry about, and he blinked his one remaining eye and tried to concentrate.
The bloody woman he’d married years ago, the one who’d spent all their married life mocking his approach to the more physical side of their life together, grinned hugely.
“So it’s goodbye from me,” she hissed, “and I hope you find a kind of peace with your kith and kin when you get there…”
And she stood up, brushed a few crumbs from her plaid skirt, and sauntered into the garden where a chorus of birds were singing fresh melodies and everything seemed suddenly brand new and shining and bright.
Meanwhile the last bits of Chandry Boniface, as if directed by an unseen conductor, disintegrated into a pile of rather dirty dust that somehow got stirred by a stray breeze and blown through a crack in the floor down into some unknown and dreadful depths.
© Peter Rogerson 18.04.16


30 Nov

This story is about a Prime Minister.
Notice I said “a” Prime Minister and not “the” Prime Minister. It’s too late in the day to think of libelling a real live human being, especially a Prime Minister, and anyway I wouldn’t presume to know much about the real McCoy or Cameron or whatever his name is. So this is about some totally fictitious Prime Minister, one who went to the same public school as many of his predecessors and nearly all of his chums.
He probably knows the pertness of their bottoms in remarkable detail. But this is no time for crudities, so I’ll forget that I typed that last bit, especially as no non-fictitious human being or even Prime Minister can lay claim to such intimacy. Not publicly, anyway. Not so that the people know.
And our imaginary Prime Minister is having drinks with some chums. He enjoys having drinks with those eye-catching representatives of what the best schools churn out because, in between reminiscing about their education they can do some dirty little deals.
“Remember buggering Simpson?” he asks to one and all in general, and there’s a sudden squawk created by memory. With people like this memories are often accompanied by squawks, the sort generated by a septum that has been melted away by delicious cocaine.
“Don’t forget, you promised to let my little business have a big bite of the NHS,” replies a chum once the general revelry about a well-buggered Simpson has faded into the meaningless hum of meaningless conversation.
“Of course,” he nods, winking. “It’s being done on the quiet. You know what the proles are like, how they think their health is important! The first hint of selling off their precious health service and there are pages and pages of quite offensive cartoons on Twitter and Facebook!”
“But they only last a day or two,” smirks a chum with an erection brought on by memories of Simpson.
“A two-day wonder,” agrees the Prime Minister. “And don’t you worry, chums. The war that’s on its way will line your pockets okay! As long as you remember which shares to buy and who told you!”
“That newspaper man – what’s his name – the foreignor with the really popular paper, who owns half of the yank media too … he gave me some vital tips,” sniggered the purely fictitious Chancellor of the Exchequer.
“He’s an all round good egg,” giggled the Prime Minister. “We’ll get shot of the Beeb and he can have the lot when the fuss dies down… so there’s some more shares to get your mitts on… Now, who remembers Wilkins’ bollocks?”
“Me, sir, me!” gloated the group as one.
“Who’s for a line of coke?” asked the Chancellor, and even he knew his grin felt a mite twisted. It’s a good job these characters aren’t real.
© Peter Rogerson 20.11.15


20 Jul

burning at the stake photo: burning at the stake 1 Burning.jpg
I rather hope I’m reading things wrongly, because if I’m not we’re entering a new and frightening dark age.

Mind you, people who live and breathe outside the technological maelstrom we call the Internet are probably safe enough. Unless H M Government starts putting listening devices inside domestic television sets, that is. And they might!

In past times, when things were simpler and technology wasn’t even a blip on the horizon there were snoopers and spies galore, all working for the Head of State, be it monarch or government toady. And if those snoopers and spies got wind you were a threat to the status quo (not the pop group but the existing state of affairs morphed into a tiny Latin phrase) there was trouble ahead, often draconian punishment silencing you for good. No Government wants to tolerate criticism, not back then when there were stakes and people being burnt at them, or today, where there’s an Internet.

This is particularly true of the leaders of Government. What they’d really, really love is an excuse to justify monitoring the thousands of texts, emails, blogs, articles, essays, columns of opinion, in fact any words that are the daily diet of a million web sites.

Let me pull aside for a moment and contemplate something else.

All my life I have been expected to be grateful to my leaders for saving me from a fate worse then death. There was the second world war, and that was a dreadful thing that both took and ruined lives. But it was over in 1945 and suddenly there was the vacuum with no reason for the Government to claim it was saving me until Winston Churchill rumbled about an iron curtain stretching across Europe and a war broke out in Korea. Suddenly there were new enemies, reds under the bed, the evil of communism (a political ideal which perfectly described the principles by which Jesus Christ supposedly lived), the Cuban Crisis that terrified us all and made even atheists start praying, a bloody skirmish in Vietnam (communists again), the Irish problem, Saddam Hussein invading Kuwait which was a country we had barely heard of but were told it was a place we loved because of its oil wells, Islamic terrorists blowing themselves up in wave after wave of suicide bombings, ISIS….

The list represents the years of my life and throughout it I have had to be grateful for being saved from a horrendous list of threats to my personal well being. Government after Government has told me how much it has earned my gratitude and I am prostrate before them all. But at the back of my mind lurks a question concerning which might have arrived first, the chicken or the egg where the chicken is the dire threat to my safety and the egg is my government-induced salvation.

Back to my original thread, then.

The Government is showing signs that it considers it a mighty good idea if all our correspondence is monitored in case we’re of the chicken variety of blogger. They want to tease out people who might use a particular word or phrase, who possibly espouse all manner of nastiness on-line.

I do both of those. I have a decent-sized personal vocabulary, so I use a decent range of words, some of which might be considered as really, really threatening to good order and the security of the realm, especially to whoever happens to be in office at the time my words are spotted. And as for espousing nastiness on-line, I write quite a lot of fiction which I post here and there, and some of my invented heroes might come out with the odd piece of threatening nastiness, not because I want to harm anyone but because a fictitious character might harbour devious thoughts.

Note the word “fictitious”!

But what it really seems to me is we’re going back to the stake and bonfire days. We’re heading, or hurtling rather, back into a past that was nastier than nasty with cruelty abounding at the behest of kings and even monarchs having their heads chopped off. But it’s easy, isn’t it? Human beings have always had a diverse range of ideas and wanted to express them and the truth is they don’t always coincide with what those elected to govern us want to hear. After all, they’re generally elected by a minority of the voting public yet look at themselves as custodians of rationale and logic. The truth is, its their own rationale they are defending and not necessarily one shared by a great many others.

So in the name of guarding us against yet another threat (ISIS? Islamic terrorists?) they’re planning to peruse our on-line warbling, seeking out evidence that we don’t like them. And then what? They’ve discovered I distrust them…

Do I detect a Prime Minister hammering a stake into the ground?

© Peter Rogerson 20.07.15


21 Apr


blackadder election photo: Blackadder Blackadder.jpg

There’s been one thing said to me all my adult life. Or variations of that one thing.

“If you vote for a minority party in the General Election you’re wasting your vote. They won’t get in, so go for someone who might stand a chance.”

What a turgid, mind-numbing attitude that is! Vote for someone other than the one your conscience believes is right? Crap!

Way back it was the Liberal Party. I seem to remember my mum voted Liberal back in the very early part of my life and she was probably scorned and told she was wasting her vote. In our constituency the Liberals didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting anywhere near enough public votes.

The thing is, my mum was an intelligent woman before a hard life in difficult times took its toll, and she’d no doubt read the propaganda and made her choice. If someone was going to represent her she wanted him to be Liberal. Yes, him: it was mostly men back then.

Things haven’t changed much when it comes to the wasted vote argument, except there’s a proliferation of political parties, and that doesn’t bode well for democracy. It might if things were fair, but they’re not. The system is stacked against the individual in favour of the big blocks called The Main Parties. In this area it’s a given that the Labour candidate will be returned yet again by a mostly working class electorate. Anyone not happy with him will cast a vote in favour of any one of the alternatives, thus splitting opposition to him into half a dozen fractured splinters.

My own vote isn’t for him, though. Because of what I’ve suggested before, he isn’t the leader and never will be, and if you ask Mr Average who he’s voting for the chances are he’ll give you the name of the party leader rather than the local candidate. Here I am, repeating this mantra again! But it’s true. The system in this country calls itself democratic, but it isn’t. The Mother of Parliaments is, I’m afraid, flawed.

My own vote might be described as a wasted vote because the person I’ve already put my cross against won’t get even close to winning the seat. But I don’t consider it wasted because in a true democracy every man or woman’s opinion should have equal weight and the minorities not washed down the plug-hole as also-rans. We should have a system in which the proportion of people voting a particular way has the weight of their votes represented for five years in Parliament. It might only give my chosen candidate’s party one little parliamentary seat, but that’s better than none, isn’t it?

And my views would then have a chance of being heard on the National stage, maybe by only a tiny, whispered voice – but that’s better than no voice at all, isn’t it?

And nothing will have been wasted.

© Peter Rogerson 21.04.15