Saturday, 16 February 2013

We have had a few spring-like days, and along with the snowdrops, certain other species are pushing their heads up towards the sunlight. No, not daffodils, not just yet. I'm talking about an even more fragile and threatened variety - local politicians (electus incompetens) You might question the unseasonal appearance of these delicate and rarely seen blooms - but had it escaped your attention that on May 2nd, 2013, there will be elections for Cambridgeshire County Council?

And so the gloves are already off, certainly in terms of political cliches. Battle lines are being drawn, the electorate is to be consulted, favours are being called in, positions are due to be clarified, canvassing is amazingly encouraging…Are you still awake? Yes? Well, there is much more to come. No promise will be left un-made, no vitriolic dart in the direction of the opposition will be left un-thrown. No badly-spelled slur or counter-slur will be left un-posted on Facebook, and no Tweet will be un-retweeted.

Saturday saw an impressive display of handbag swinging over the right to campaign in Wisbech Market Place. In the yellow and purple corner was a redoubtable lady from UKIP, who is determined to deliver Wiz from the clutches of the evil migrants, and in the blue corner were two feisty dames of the Conservative persuasion who were prepared to lay down their lives for….erm….hang on….. give me a second ….ah yes!…for the right to have everything stay absolutely the same, with no-one breaking cover or suggesting anything remotely resembling change. There was even a territorial dispute about who could sit on which bench, and who could speak to who, and anyway, it's OUR Market Place, so push off…! Immensely edifying, and a tribute to the timeless legacy of political debating skills. No, actually, forget that last bit. It was more like something off Little Britain. The most treasured remark from one of these Tory ladies was regarding the derelict buildings of Wisbech. "Oh, they'll sort themselves out," she said. Of course they will. Why didn't I think of that?

A planned march to protest against immigration is not due until after the May elections. So what's the point of that? Not a lot, really. It will only serve to infect open wounds. No one in their right mind welcomes another unchecked wave of migration from Europe's answer to the Third World - Romania and Bulgaria. But what's to be done? Cameron's pathetic speech earlier this month was less a throwing down of the gauntlet, than an elderly lady forgetfully dropping her lace glove. A huge political conundrum opens up. Vote Labour or Liberal Democrat, and very soon all border controls will be relinquished, and we will actually be offering grants to folk from Papua New Guinea, North Korea and Iran to come and  colonise our high streets and doctors' waiting rooms. Vote UKIP, and you will probably split the right wing vote enough to let in the Labour Party. Vote Conservative and…mmm ….just let me check…Got it! Nothing very much will happen, rich people will get immeasurably richer, and the deserving poor will be put in laundries to wash and iron the toff's shirts. AND our membership of the EU will go unchanged, because we don't have migrants in Whitney, thank you very much!

So what to do? Pickwick offers no solution, no panacea, no easy fix. A sudden death…? Early-onset Alzheimer's Disease…? A private health-care lobotomy? An undetected meteorite striking PE13 with massive casualties? A misdirected North Korean nuclear test missile? Who knows. All of these may be favourable alternatives to the shabby individuals who will be scratching at your doorstep pleading for your vote over the coming weeks and months.

A final request. Do not vote for, talk to, shake hands with, or fart in the general direction of ANYONE who does not use capital letters appropriately, cannot spell, or is confused over the correct use of 'their', 'there', 'its', 'it's', 'of', 'have' and other things people should have learned by the age of eight.