Nevin's Notes (07/05/10)

An alternative take on the election

Charles Nevin
Saturday 22 October 2011 21:24


You are ahead of me, but I can tell you it's still pretty exciting on polling day, what with N Farage, who has taken a metaphor opportunity as far as it should ever be asked to go. And I've just this minute come off the phone from talking to Mrs Carmelia Bond, in Chettisham, Cambs, who has given over her son's bedroom in her bungalow to be used as a polling booth. Polling is brisk, reports Mrs Bond, who is able to clear up some conflicting claims made earlier: yes, it has got a new carpet, but she is not insisting on voters taking their shoes off. And, no, her son's bed has been removed, as there wouldn't have been room otherwise. Thank you, Mrs Bond, charming lady.

Can't be too careful, can we, sir?

Another much-loved old friend whose initials are HS made a finely calibrated appearance when two men climbed on to the roof of the Witney polling station where David Cameron was due to cast his vote, and began swigging champagne and making toff-based remarks. Specialist police officers wearing "mountaineering-style helmets" arrived with a ladder to escort the men down from the roof, which is 2.5 metres high. Excellent. Mind how you go.

On the record

Might I be the first to re-record this time round the famous quote from the late Mo Udall, Democratic congressman and presidential contender, after he lost the Wisconsin primary to Jimmy Carter in 1975? Ready? "The People have spoken. The bastards."

The People speak

The Norwich Evening News reported yesterday that a voter in Thetford decided on his vote after asking his daughter to close her eyes and take a stab at the ballot paper. Hmmm... Thetford, of course, is the birthplace of the great Tom Paine, fiery fighter for the People. How much would he weep? Well, actually, not a lot, probably. This is Tom: "The sublime and the ridiculous are often so nearly related, that it is difficult to class them separately." Indeed. As it happens, another example of that, Dad's Army, used to be filmed near Thetford. The cast stayed in The Bell, where the sublime Arthur Lowe once fell asleep in his starter, woke up, lifted his head, paused for a beat, and said, "Soup in this place has gone off." On!

Ozymandian moment

You will recall Shelley's lines about the once-mighty ruler whose shattered visage lies forgotten in the desert waste. Well, at this pertinent moment for such pondering, amid the hubbub and hysteria, I must tell you that John Major's Spitting Image puppet is up for auction. Come on, everyone must remember him. Just a few of his claims: the first prime minister to be turned down for a job as a bus conductor; the first prime minister to have been given by a former girlfriend the nickname "Rover"; and the first prime minister to save the life of his heat-affected pet goldfish by rubbing in sun cream.

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