Cheltenham, that is.
In an election characterised by corruption and lies, let’s have a bit of fun. This Writer’s good buddy CJ reports from Cheltenham as follows:
“I live in a battleground! I woke up this morning and heard we are a battleground constituency, and now I believe it. Half the Amazon rainforest has been sacrificed to Lib Dem election pamphlets, and vast tracts of Siberia deforested to make Conservative bumph. Vice even ran an article on how uni students might swing the vote here, and Alex Chalk lose his seat. You can’t go to town without having a microphone thrust at you, and the great and the good are here reporting. The BBC have taken over part of the Exmouth Arms as an ops centre I am told, and pollsters are advancing on a broad front from Coronation Square to The Park.
“Soon the dread knocking will begin, and the earnest young people trying to convince me to vote Blue or Orange, trying not to recoil from the litter tray I move to the door at this time of year. Mormons I always invite in; JW’s I greet with a smile, and canvassers – well I make bad jokes, hop around excitedly, and listen.
“I suppose I should be excited that my vote may actually count for something: but I rarely am. Our local LD councillor did a good job helping us fight a planning application and getting it defeated – but I was impressed by councillors of all parties at Planning.
“While I was musing about these things it occurred to me I have never personally seen a Conservative candidate naked. On the other hand, I have seen large numbers of Lib Dem councillors in the buff. Why is this?
“One I never saw naked, for which I can only thank my lucky stars is “M”, and his campaign motto — “Labour is Red, Tories are Blue, but I’m real Liberal can I sleep with you?” — seems to have been embraced by half the party. Lembit Opik said it was a fine policy for a happier Britain that one time we met – though I never saw him naked either, despite my fine Cheeky Girls impersonation. The lady in my college halls who banged on the roof of my room until I went up to apologise and find her stark naked went on to rise in the Liberals; i did not rise to the occasion but made her a coffee and handed her a towel while blushing furiously.
“Anyway, I have never seen a naked Conservative candidate, or for that matter a Labour one — make of that what you will. I am however reminded of a famous incident in Cheltenham electoral history. In the 19th century a young Tory drunkenly staggered from The Plough Hotel (where the Regent Arcade is now) and shot dead a chap wearing a Liberal rosette. He was tried, and found not guilty “having been driven to madness by the peculiar emotions attached to Cheltenham elections.”
“I sympathise with that jury: nothing has changed!”
Well it’s a cheeky little story alright but I’m struck by the account of a Tory being let off for murder! It may have been in the 19th C. but contrast that with the Luddites in my home town who were hanged for shooting a mill owner.