Friday, 23 April 2010

...I think. Or possibly just a middle-aged man in shades.

Sorry for the hiatus - been cycling. From London to York so far, via Cambridge, King's Lynn, Boston and Hull. But at the moment, bike is in intensive care where a team of brilliant bicycle surgeons are trying to save it from this:

... and I can do nothing but pace up and down outside and hope the little guy pulls through. 

Here's what I've seen so far: 

Lots and lots of pubs called The Chequers. Any idea why? A quick googling reveals it's one of the oldest pub names, and the sign of a chequered board was used in ancient Rome to indicate that a tavern also provided banking services, for which the board was used - this being the origin of the word 'exchequer', and indeed 'cheque'. Doesn't explain why there seem to be so many of them in South East England, though.

Plenty of posters and boards out for the Tories (but then, I have been cycling through the shires.) Quite a lot for the Lib-Dems, mostly in the towns, especially Cambridge. Not a single solitary one for Labour so far. Not even in Highgate, or Humberside. 

A really astonishing number and variety of squished animals. It's carnage out there. 

A life size metal giraffe.


Saturday, 10 April 2010

Exciting opportunity to do my work for me.

I'm appearing on the Now Show again next Tuesday, or rather the new Vote Now Show that will be on 11pm Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays until the election.

I have a favour to ask you connected with it. If you have the means, time, and inclination, I would be ever so grateful if you could send me a scan or photo of an election campaign leaflet you've had through the door recently. Any party will do. You can either post it on facebook or flickr, or indeed anywhere else of your choice, and send me the link; or send the picture directly to me at

Thank you very much!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Their Lordships and the mice.

I tell you who's a funny man. Lord Brabazon of Tara, he's a funny man. This is him:

He is the Chairman of Committees in the House of Lords, and was a Tory whip under Margaret Thatcher. I sense this does not help convince you of his comic talent. But then, you have not heard him on the subject of mice.

There was a short but terrific debate in the Lords this month, basically about whether or not the House of Lords should get a cat.  If you have two minutes, please do read all of it, but here are the bits where Lord Brabazon particularly shines:

The Chairman of Committees: My Lords, I am well aware that there are still mice around. I saw one in the Bishops' Bar only yesterday evening. I do not know whether it was the same one that I saw the day before or a different one; it is always difficult to tell the difference between the various mice that one sees.

Already, you can see this guy has got something. 'The various mice that one sees.' Your Lordship, you have my attention. He's also excellent on the subject of the Westminster 'mouse helpline' that it turns out exists. When asked what other helplines there are:

The Chairman of Committees: I rather hope that we do not have too many other ones. I was not going to advertise the existence of the mouse helpline, although it was advertised some time ago. Indeed, I invited Members of the House to telephone when they saw mice. The trouble is that when the person at the other end of the helpline goes to check this out, very often the mouse has gone elsewhere.
That 'very often' is superb. As is 'elsewhere'. But, I admit, at this stage it is still possible that his Lordship is not being deliberately funny; that this is not dry humour, but just the way he talks. However, all doubt is removed with this brilliantly self-depricating put-down to some smartarse making the dreariest imaginable sixth-form-debate style non-joke:
Lord Pilkington of Oxenford: Why should I and noble Lords trust the Executive to deal with mice when they cannot deal with the economy?
The Chairman of Committees: My Lords, I do not actually deal with the economy. I am glad to say that that would be above my pay grade, whereas trying to deal with the mice is probably just about right for me.
I beg to differ. Lord Brabazon of Tara, your country needs you. You have about two weeks to renounce your title and seize the leadership of your party. If we're going to have a Conservative Prime Minister, I want it to be you.