Moulton Seas End's John Ward: 'Promises and more promises' in the General Election
Dad always said if the Trade Descriptions Act applied to politics, or rather their ‘usual’ batch of promises, he would be there first in the queue to put his cross in the box of choice on polling day.
The last time he went to vote, he took a list of items, as promised or intimated in the last bash that he/we collectedly were told would/going to happen after the previous event, and then challenged the supposed ‘winner’ from that where were they.
Despite a load of patronising waffle the response was much akin to ‘nil ponts’ as they say in the Eurovision Song fiasco scoring when the UK entry is evaluated by other countries.
- Ward's World: "That festive do"
- Ward's World: "Being hot in Murmansk
- Jerry Green Dog Rescue: Please find Tammy a home at last
This is why he never voted again after that lack of response, but he mentioned it to a friend who suggested: ‘But by not voting, the ‘wrong lot’ would get in!’ to which dad replied: ‘How would we know? We still carry on paying taxes as before, regardless of who’s running the shebang’
What is surprising is that nobody bothers after these events to ask just where these supposed pledges or inferred promises get to. If it was something missing in your shopping, you would soon go back and complain about being ‘short changed’
This manifesto promise’s malarkey, by all parties, is also known as ‘Carrot Dangling’.
It seems our scribbled cross is priceless when voting in such ‘run of the mill’ elections but sadly seemingly not up to scratch when doing the same in a referendum as strangely it was treated with contempt in the Brexit process that is still in the stages of ‘Yes, No or Wishful Thinking’ until further notice.
The country voted in favour of leaving the EU Glee Club but this has never happened with various factors quoted but not including ‘Leaves on the line’ or the now infamous ‘get out of jail’ card of ‘Lessons have been learnt’ tag line but if you vote for a politician, it happens within minutes of the result being announced as that’s alright then.
For those who possibly thought that democracy was a blend of trendy over-priced coffee, they might be about right as otherwise the word democracy is now meaningless and debased nowadays or at least in this country it is until further notice or ‘Lessons have been learnt’ maybe?
One joke (?) apparently doing the rounds is: ‘My father was a Brexit negotiator, like his father before him..’ which might now have a ring of truth about it.
‘Great - super - magic’ as they used to say on TV’s darts game show ‘Bullseye’ from years ago, then when losing, a contestant was shown the star prize with ‘This is what you would have won’ has a certain hollow ring about it nowadays.
So while we didn’t actually ‘leave’, we have an election as a runner up prize.
Yes, another GE is yet again on the cards as it seems to be now trying to keep up pace with the Olympics, another form of sport, but the intervals between are narrowing as from four, to two or three years depending on your pain threshold.
Back to the election thing currently going on, with the actual build-up being rather different nowadays compared to years ago as it’s now run like a publicity drive for a block buster film about to hit the big screen with all the razzmatazz it carries.
Although the posters, flyers/leaflets, car stickers, beer mats and other trivial stuff have the same life span as Christmas decorations.
They are up for a few weeks beforehand then down before any embarrassment is noticed, more so if you supported or blocked precious daylight from your windows to find out you backed or voted for the wrong lot.
Oddly the ‘save the planet - rain-forest - polar bears’ lot don’t seem to go banging on about all that paper wasted etc when it’s in such publicity stuff.
However, I must admit I hanker for the gud ole days of electioneering or more to the point my mum, of the people for the people, who glided into such events with plain straight forward questions to ask assorted minions if the ‘main chap’ (candidate) was not there to which she expected straight answers to.
At one event together with her friend Monica, she nearly met the main man himself resplendent in well tailored suit, rosette with bolt on smile but they were not allowed to actually meet him.
The party minions had a basic ‘invisible wall’ around him to deter assumed peasants, including possible non-believers, but their supposedly chosen sycophants with their usual false smiles in abundance were allowed to meet with him.
However, one of the minions spotted them and wandered over with a gleaming smile - she said later that the last time this had happened was ‘Some bloke in Currys tried to sell me a front loading washing machine I didn’t want - I told him I just wanted a battery for the kitchen clock’.
She was rather battle wary of anybody in a suit as somebody to be very cautious of, not withstanding ‘offers’ of front loading washing machines that is.
The suited one introduced himself and then asked them: ‘Do you know who that gentleman is over there, ladies?’ as if they were just back from a ten year cruise.
The reaction might not have been quite what he expected but went along the lines of the following as Monica often repeated it at following elections thereafter as a sort of warning.
Mum turned to Monica, then said: ‘Well, our Monica - haven’t they come a long way with these pub quiz things as before we used to get a few dozen questions, true it was a team effort between four of us, then the winner got a meat voucher or a bottle of plonk nobody wanted as a prize (being a past raffle prize via seven other winners beforehand) but now it’s whittled down to just one question: ‘Do you know who that gentleman is over there?’ but it saves wasting paper and ink’.
Monica did say the response from the suited one with the selective smile was slightly garbled but there was no hint of a meat voucher or a bottle of plonk, with much faded label due to been passed though many previous occasional owners, so off they went for a cup of tea.
This is politics - knowing the core audience but not insulting them too much as after all, they are or could well be your future customers.
Following on from the Brexy fiasco, I have lost count of the people who have mentioned in passing they won’t be turning out again to vote as the result of the last one (ye Brexy referendum) has been made into a game of charades as three years of their lives have been wasted and they, or we, can’t get back.
As a final thought I always remember a wonderful line as written by the late Johnny Speight for his Alf Garnett character as played by Warren Mitchell in his BBC TV sit-com ‘Till Death Us Do Part’ from years ago:‘I have served under 15 Prime Minsters and I have been poor under every single one of ‘em!’
So considering that observation from years ago, not much risk of change there then.
More by this authorSpalding Today Columnist