So, this general election thing, it’s really happening then? So who’s running the country? Mind you, it seems to me we get by just as well when the MPs have switched the lights off in Westminster and fled back to their constituencies to doorstep unsuspecting voters.
Who among us has not been startled by the sight of a rosette-sporting MP-wannabe when we answered the bell expecting to see the Avon lady?
It doesn’t feel like a general election. There’s usually a reasonable amount of argy-bargy and politicos on the telly pointing at polling numbers before it and the distant sound of leaflets being printed. This all came on a bit too soon.
The big old beasts of previous regimes are usually trundled out to pontificate about policy and rumble meaningfully about what they think the strategy team are going to do next, like they’ve still got the White House on speed-dial. They’re the equivalent of those old buffers who used to pitch up at the works Pensioners Lunch who then toured the offices telling the young whippersnappers how things should be done, completely overlooking the fact that modern technology has pretty much rendered the slide rule obsolete.
Those Big Beasts of both front benches have vanished. Here in Scotland we did the Labour ones in back in 2015, and down south they seem to have mysteriously evaporated.
The great chest beating silver- backed Tory Grandee is nowhere to be seen. Where did Tarzan Heseltine go? Michael Howard, with his Cheshire cat grin and oily voice?
Where’s John Prescott to punch an egg-slinger? Surely Gordon could be lured out to smile at the electorate? Oh, wait, that’s probably not a good idea.
Paddy Ashdown. Where did he slope off to? He could usually be relied on to say something mildly provocative in a mildly irritated manner. He always sounded like Wing Commander ‘Biffo’ Baxter imprisoned in Stalag 13 discussing the numbers of escapees they hoped to get out of Tunnel A.
Cameron, Osbourne, Clegg, all gone faster than a wee boy on a bike fleeing the sound of breaking glass.
It’s been a fairly joyless affair so far. I mean, Mr Corbyn seems like a nice man, but he strikes me as the sort of person who’s idea of a cracking night out involves elderflower presse and an improving lecture on the importance of international trade relations with Kiribati.
Theresa’s got round the whole campaigning nonsense by walking everywhere incredibly fast and holding rallies for invited guests only. She seems to be getting paler by the second. She has the haunted look of a vampire desperately seeking a fresh throat to feast on. No wonder Ruth Davidson looked a bit nervy up in Aberdeen.
Ever seen Mrs May in the mirror? I rest my case.
Poll-axed by election fever
Of course, I am excited about the election, because I am thrilled by the possibility that I might, at last, get asked about my voting intentions by a polling company. I never have.
It’s like jury duty, I always fancied a crack at that and assiduously watched Crown Court so I could perfect my “listening intently to the evidence” face. The only time I ever got called for jury duty, they didn’t want me. It might have been the strange look on my face that scared them off.
I have been preparing for my big polling moment for decades now. At the last election I spotted a young man with a clipboard on Princes Street and stalked him for nearly an hour before I managed to catch his eye – all right, I basically cornered him.
Sorry, he said, he was looking for people aged 18-30. Spent a fortune on moisturiser and age-defying serums that day, I can tell you.
Mary to the fore and marvellous
I thought I spied a pollster at Leith Market on Saturday, but it was Mary Moriarty signing folk up to volunteer at the Leith Festival, which I of course I did, because when La Moriarty asks you to do something, you generally do it. Anyway, she bribed me with a brownie. Yes, I am that shallow.
The Celebration of All Things Leith was a crackerjack event. Thank you to the organisers of a lovely day on Dock Place.