People I come across, for once, seem to be getting themselves interested in politics. The local elections, and the soaring cost of petrol,* are for once getting people interested in who runs the country, or things like that.
Sadly, most of the people I come across at work and day-to-day aren’t the sort of people you’d trust to run the country. Trains of thought go along two lines. “Wouldn’t it be nice if things were a bit cheaper,” and “there’s too many foreign people about, you know.” They then say to our Token Polish Office Temp: “I don’t mean you, of course, but you know what I mean. There’s too many foreign people about.”
They don’t really mean that he’s white; it’s just that people everywhere seem to have an enormous blind spot when it comes to “these dirty foreigners.” The sort of people, at least, who say there are too many foreign people about, always have one big exception: foreigners they know personally. They don’t count. They are decent people, unlike the rest of them, the great mass of indistinguishable and interchangeable Foreign People who are here to steal their women and marry their jobs (or something like that). “Oh no, I don’t mean you, I mean all the ones who you read about in the papers.” Why is it that they still believe what they’ve read in the papers, have heard from a mate in the pub, will pass on in a “joke” text message, when all their personal experience goes in the opposite direction?
* it is a Rule Of Clichés, apparently, that any time the cost of petrol is mentioned, the word “soaring” has to be attached.
Time for a news roundup. Today in the news: Ellenor Bland, a Conservative councillor and parliamentary candidate has been caught forwarding an unfunny poem about illegal immigrants. She said it might have been her husband that did it, not her; but he’s also a Tory councillor, so it doesn’t really make much difference.
I don’t particularly care that some Conservatives might enjoy racist jokes – it’s hardly recent news, after all. I’m more worried that they have such a poor sense of humour. The “poem” has been going around for some time now – several of my colleagues were circulating the email a few weeks back – so it’s hardly news either. The worst thing is what she said to attack the rival politicans who broke the story:
[S]he claimed that the leak was “an infringement of my life”, adding: “I’m finding this all rather tiresome.”
I’m sorry? You want to be a politician, don’t you? If you want to be a politician, even a local councillor, you have to expect people to want to know what your opinions are.* If you do something that seems to demonstrate you have an opinion on a political topic, you can hardly complain when people want to talk to you about it. You can’t pick and choose which opinions you want to discuss.
In other news: someone has been searching the web recently for: “symbolic forest pressure group”. Which is clearly a sign that I should set up a pressure group of my own; I’m just not entirely sure what I want to campaign for (or against). Suggestions, please! Maybe I should campaign for more single-issue campaigns.
* even though, like most politicans, you may well end up straining as hard as you can to prevent people finding them out.