Monday, August 14, 2006

Home thoughts from abroad

Epernay, France.

Blogging was interrupted during a stay in a beautiful “Hostellerie” with more civilised guest services than Wi-Fi. It was probably good for me. If I had the now standard-issue victim mentality, I would consider myself an "addictive" blogger. A rest will do me good; not to mention my overworked readers who shoulder the heavy burden of making my theraputic ramblings seem less pointless.

Political thoughts continued to surface however. Mrs Paine’s mother sat in the cramped rear cockpit of the Painemobile for our 7 hour journey from oop North to the place where Champagne comes from. She is a lifelong Labour woman, chatty and decent. She’s the sort of person the toffs who run the Party imagine “the workers” to be (when they are not shamelessly attributing ridiculous views to them). I blogged [here] about the Party’s corrupt pitch to her to run for the local council.

Listening to our last English radio news on the way down to the Eurostar, she said that “something doesn’t ring true” about last Thursday’s terror scare. I affected surprise. Surely she didnt’ think "our Tony" and the boys would make something like that up? She said, “I think they want us scared.”

There was much cynicism in our high-speed political capsule about the downgrading of Britain’s terror alert status. “They’ve overdone it so people are calling for Blair to come back from holiday. So he’s told them to downgrade it to take the heat off” was the consensus.

I am amazed. We have known each other for over thirty years and never agreed on the wickedness of the Labour Party’s intentions before.

Unfortunately, we have also never agreed about the hopelessness of the Tories before. There was unanimity on the pointlessness of voting for a Party led by “our Dave”, whose sole political idea is to imitate Blair - now that everybody has finally concluded that Tony is as fake as his tan.

Over coffee in our Relais while they readied our rooms, we discussed what (short of violent revolution) could be done. Unfortunately we had no better ideas than trying to get involved in organising tactical voting next time.

Mrs Paine’s mum is a constant source of information about heartlands life. She told of a conversation with a midwife. When leaving a home delivery on a local council estate during the recent heatwave, the midwife had run into the postman. After a chat, he had pointed to all the local gentry who had carried their sofas out into the gardens and were drinking tins of beer while marking their race cards, listening to their radios or watching their TV’s - in the middle of a working day. “You and me are the only ones with a job for miles around, love” observed the postie, “we must be mad.”

The midwife told Mrs Paine’s mum that the mother she had just delivered had told her to “f*** off” at an early stage in the proceedings. The midwife had had the satisfaction of being begged to stay when she had made as if to take the foul-mouthed loser at her word.

We fantasised hopelessly about how good it would be to make the Cabinet live on such an estate for a year. There’s about as much chance of that as there is of Prescott developing a conscience.

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