There has been an awful lot of activity in the local villages by the new UKVIP (UK Very Independent Party) activists. Mostly, the action has been led by their local chairperson, one Ms Viola Jane Middlething whose pink bmw sports car has become a common sight on the roads around here.
What set me back was walking into the Surfeit of Lamprey for a pint and maybe a sneaky pie (seeing as dinner wasn't going to be until 8 as Maddy was busy organising the Beavers and Brownies Village Boot Sale) and there was Robert Awfullybuff-Headstrong sporting an enormous purple and gold rosette with a pint in his hand, having his picture taken alongside a slight blonde woman with a rather fatuous smile.
It might have well as been Nigel Barrage, the over-photographed leader of the newest nobs on the old soapbox.
"Robert old man," I finally managed, "what the devil are you doing?"
"Ah, Townshend, my old mucker. (he looked slightly uncomfortable at being spotted) At last, I am taking responsibility. No more forty-two pint binges, no more policemen's helmets removed and hung from Old Father Time's scythe. No, I am a reformed man, ready to do his bit for his country."
"But you've gone and joined UKVIP, that's worse than any of those minor misdemenaours, "I replied, "you know who this Barrage is and what he's capable of?"
"Who?" He asked with a puzzled expression
"The blasted leader of your party." I retorted, getting a little hot under the collar. I don't know why I should be surprised. That's about the standard I have come to expect from some of their candidates.
"Don't you think Bobby will make a really good candidate?" Viola Jane draped an arm about him and oozed admiration. "He's a real Englishman through and through, an icon, the sort of man that the younger voter looks up to and the older voter can trust not to drop the ball."
"I don't see why," I came back, unable to resist it, "he did in the world cup semi against The All Blacks and they picked it up and scored the winning try." I ignored her calling Rob "Bobby" although I was thinking "oh dear".
She laughed. It sounded a little like glass breaking in an adjacent room, "You are funny, Mr?"
"De Grincheaux." I replied, "And I can tell you that however good he may look in a blazer, "Bobby" won't win this seat."
Her smile kind of curdled the way cream does when you add pineapple juice to it, "oh and who will?"
"Farmer George Stanville, of course. The Conserve-Its always win Borderfolk & Sheepshire Central. Frankly, they'd beat Robert if they put up a jackass penguin up against him."
At that, Viola Jane grew quite waspish and said we'd see, "come on Bobby" she dragged Robert by the arm and huffed out with him complaining he hadn't finished his pint. I hoped I was proved right. If anyone could challenge the Conserve-it safe seat, it was UKVIP and after all, Robert was ex Peterville & Gonwylde, Warboys and a sound member of The Shenanigans Club as well.
A two horse race, for sure. Oh, Maurice Dufferly (Liberal) is a very nice chap and he's run for the Libs for the last fifteen years. He is never going to change opinion unless there is some kind of revolt led by people demanding boredom.
As for this time's Laborious candidate, they chose a strident woman who wears trousers, swears like a bloke and has no sense of humour. I rather liked the old candidate who had been an mp previously for Woolcote and Leftfield, Donald Cooper. He'd been shifted when his party decided it didn't want mavericks who had their own views and put over here against a huge Conserve-it majority. He subsequently used his influence with the left to get a better seat this time and we got Tabatha Lee-Jones,
That only leaves the latest party to pitch its views here and that's the Green Tea Party. I happen to know my oft browbeaten brother-in-law, Henry Treadsoftly has joined. I bet Hildebrande doesn't know about that or you'd have heard her yells all the way from Much Vexing. I quite like Sarah Shortcrust, their candidate, although her chances are not helped by being a St Brunhildas Cambridge gal and rather outspoken. She's married to Wilbur Dovecott, the ex England opener but then he's an ex Bignose man and went to Owngall.
Had my first leaflet through the door today, don't you know. It was from the Vacuum Cleaner Action Party against the regulation of Domestic Motors. Get what they're about but that's a party heading for a loss of deposit for sure.
Anyway, I'll keep you up to date with the runners and riders. They're going 8/11 on Farmer George just now. You can get fours on "Bobby" (more like Booby) Awfullybuff-Headstrong. But there's still some way to go, I'm sure.