3090 days ago
My father has already done his stint as part of the slick electoral machine of the Shipston branch of the party that wishes to block the deportation of Abu Qatada and now we sit back and watch the results come in tonight. To add interest we have six bets running. And it is at 5 Albanian Lekke a pop.
My banker is who will get a greater percentage of the popular vote: UKIP or the Lib Dems. The last national survey suggested the Lib Dems would get 14% and UKIP 22% just behind labour on 24%. I think it is pretty brave of anyone to admit voting Lib Dem but I suspect that even more folks are reluctant to admit to voting UKIP lest the local council snatch their kids or Ken Clarke accuses them of racism. So I sense the 22% might just underestimate the UKIP vote and so barring a miracle this is my banker bet.
I win 5 Albanian Lekke from my father.
I wish we had a bet on the South Shields by-election where the word is that both the Tories and Lib Dems will lose their deposits. Indeed there is a suggestion that the unofficial Monster raving Loony party (the one led by Nick Clegg) will in fact be beaten by the Official Monster Raving Loony party. UKIP will come second but I suspect a lot closer to Labour (in its safest seat in England) than it did in Rotherham.
How well UKIP actually does is down, I suspect to whether folks feel apathetic (Local elections do not count, all politicians are greedy sleazy tossers who ignore our wishes on everything, but I am off down the pub, staying at home waiting for the next Coronation Street star to be exposed as an alleged sex offender) or angry
3094 days ago
I gather that the local elections loom. My deluded lefty parents are keenly watching the contest in Shipston on Stour where they have a choice of 5 candidates: Labour, Lib Dem, Tory, Green and UKIP. My father tells me that the pro-supermarket protest vote for Labour last time will not carry and so that the nice lady from the Co-Op who flies the red flag will be battling it out for fifth place with the smelly eco-warrior. As such it is a three horse race between the Liberal and two parties which my deluded lefty family would not support under any circumstances: wicked UKIP and the even more wicked Tories.
My father has thus asked little Step-sister Flea to put up a Liberal poster. Since her young man would rather drink his own urine than vote Liberal since he believes in low taxes for those who work, hard work, etc, etc Flea is dithering. But Flea too believes in hard work and low taxes so, having admitted this to the deluded lefty collective that is my family, I’ll urge her to stand her ground publically.
Flea, just remember that the Lib Dems are blocking moves to allow for the deportation of terrorist loving Abu Qatada who costs this nation £400,000 a year and who would like to see you blown up. And it is the taxes from your hard work that go to pay his bills. As you go to work tomorrow, dear Flea think about where your taxes are going, that bloke outside the school gates who would rather “go fishing” than get a job. Think hard. On that basis: Flea I urge you to stand fast and vote with your conscience on May 2nd.
No go on. Go the whole hog. I do not care two hoots who you vote for in a secret ballot but why not annoy every single relative (including wicked Uncle George). A UKIP poster would look great in your front window.
3106 days ago
I had planned to leave London on Sunday but that all changed. I will be heading down to the Strand to mark my respects to Britain’s greatest ever Prime Minister – a woman who saved this country. A woman of principle. I am not sure how many folks will line the route nor if it will be disrupted by unkempt lefties, ignorant young people or worse but I shall be there anyway.
Lucian Miers is trekking up from the boonies to join me. I guess the crowds will build early so I shall work late at Real Man and then head off well before the crack of dawn to bag a place for Lucian and myself.
Uncle Chris (Booker) says that his wife queued to pay her respects at Churchill’s coffin and so this time I am there for the Booker’s who cannot make it. My own family of deluded lefties have rather different feelings but I guess I am also there for little step sister Flea who, to her credit, is a true child of Thatcher.
Afterwards I shall return to Real Man, feeling – I suspect – rather tired so it may be a light blogging day ahead.
3129 days ago
And so I found my way to Oxford on Saturday to a party at the house of my sister Naomi to celebrate the 25th Wedding Anniversary of my father and step mother and also my father’s 75th birthday next week. My father and step mother are actually second cousins and eons ago when she was an undergraduate at Oxford and he a post graduate he took her to the Opera as a cousin-friendly gesture. 26 years ago they met for the first time in 20 years at the wedding of another mutual cousin. He took her to the opera again and within nine months they were getting married in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.
It was a lovely sunny and warm March day. Ireland won a six nations match that day and I mentioned that in my best man’s speech. After 25 years of global warming we gathered to celebrate that day as the snow fell heavily in Oxford. It was my father and Helen’s oldest friends (a group he refers to as the Coffin Dodgers) plus my sisters (and husbands) and my step sisters and brother, young Tom. I am middle Tom. My father is big Tom.
I was banned from mentioning certain subjects in a gathering where I suspect myself and step sister Flea (pictured below) were the only non-Guardian readers.
It was a deluded lefty hothouse. And so I bit my lip and did not say to everyone how many inches of global warming was falling in the garden or raise any other controversial issues like, er… everything I believe in. And so conversation
3230 days ago
I am again engaged on family matters and so sitting in Shipston with my father. He is aware that i am about to report back on today’s deluded lefty activities from my family. They are (with the glorious exception of little step sister Flea) utterly deluded.
We will shortly light the fire here. It is freezing. My Dad trousers his pensioner’s winter fuel allowance but amid a heated debate about global warming the actual heating is never switched on. I have tweaked the dial without telling him. It is still freezing. And so yesterday’s Guardian will once again start its useful life in a few minutes with Toynbee’s gibberish and the rest going up in smoke.
But there is, I am proud to reveal, another useful purpose for the BBC’s sister publication.
3239 days ago
Yup I know it is December so not really a shock (unless you are a total global warming nutter). And I know that it is a bit childish but there is always an excitement in seeing the first snow of the winter. It only becomes a pain later. And so at 3.30 AM as I work on a new book idea I look out of the window and there are huge snowflakes falling on Shipston-on-Stour.
I am again at my father’s house sorting out a few things. It is only about half an hour from the village in which I grew up. Snow lay thick on the ground and roads when I had my first driving lessons 27 years and eleven month ago with Mr Ceney. That was fun. A few years earlier snow meant a day off school if you lived in our village. Harbury was at the top of a steep hill and so it was sometimes too dangerous to try to drive down that hill towards Warwick. Yippeee off to Ufton Hill to sleigh down on a plastic bag.
And now the snowflakes are falling harder. The child in me wants them to settle. Step sister Flea’s very young daughters are staying the night and I know they’d love to throw a few snowballs at Grandpa tomorrow morning. Heck, so would I. The adult in me knows that I have to drive the Old Man into Warwick tomorrow and I am not sure I really fancy doing it on snow covered roads. I am torn.
3243 days ago
I have spent the day with my father at Shipston in Warwickshire. A landslide somewhere near Worcester meant that my route was a the “scenic” one but we have enjoyed a happy afternoon chatting about various family matters. Our conversation was, however, interrupted by a series of phone calls and knocks on the door – my father is a victim of his inability to say no.
First up was some bird trying to persuade him to fit new plastic windows and plastic doors. Given that his house was built in 1692 this was clearly a pointless call. Of course if Dad had told her that last time she called rather than just listening patiently and saying eventually “ this is not a good time” she would not have bothered with this call. Next up was Christian Aid to whom my Dad already gives a fortune by Standing Order. Christian Aid called to say it needs more to help starving people in Africa, blah, blah, blah. Unluckily for it, when it asked for Mr T Winnifrith it got me.