Friday, 14 May 2010

Scrabbling for Victory

Regular readers of my blog may be surprised to learn that I am an afficionado of online Scrabble, courtesy of an obscure social networking site called Facebook.

On the whole, I put up a good fist of it and, over the last year, have won my fair share of games. But anyone who knows Bill Blunt will tell you it's not enough to win 75% of my games. I'm nothing if not a perfectionist, and I'll not be happy until my every opponent is vanquished.

That's why I've decided - unilaterally, of course - that anyone who plays me must agree that they can only win the game if they win by a clear 55 point margin. Should there be complaints, I'll point them firmly in the direction of Her Majesty's Government. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, as far as I'm concerned.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Nice Work, If You Can Get It

As one of the foremost political commentators of my generation, I like to think nothing much has got past me over my forty years plus in the business.

But I must admit to being more than a little shocked to discover that election Returning Officers are paid handsomely for their troubles.

I suppose I imagined it was an honourary position - something done by a local authority official as an adjunct to their day job. As such, (to the extent I even gave it a thought) I might have expected they'd get a bit of overtime for having to endure the boredom of an election count. Perhaps, if they had the misfortune to be announcing the reults of a by-election where the TV cameras were in evidence, even an allowance for a new suit and a haircut, so they could look their best.

According to Wikipedia, the task of running the election often falls on the shoulders of a council Chief Executive or Mayor.

And, apparently, it's quite a lucrative affair. After the debacle of voters queuing outside polling booths in Sheffield, the council Chief Executive has decided to forgo the £20,000 he was due to.

A little rooting around on Google unearthed this little discussion, from Thurrock Council, too. Not a bad little earner, for a week or two's work - and they kept it pretty quiet, until now.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

It Is Now

The waiting's over. Our collective breath is unbaited. My colleagues in the printed media and satellite news can muzzles the hounds they let loose to savage Gordon Brown.

For all their efforts, they left him bloodied, but unbowed. I doubt Labour ever really contemplated an alliance with the Liberal Democrats. The very prospect was a car crash waiting to happen.

As it is, Labour are now well-placed as spectators of the crash, rather than passengers. On Europe, expect divisons. All the Liberals in all the phone boxes in the world won't be able to protect public services. Inflation and interest rates are almost certainly set to rise. George Osborne, as Chancellor, will be in the driving seat. Heaven help us.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

They Think It's All Over...

Now that the dust is beginning to settle on the General Election result, the great British public are waking up to the fact that our next Prime Minister might be either David Camelegg or Nick Clameron.

My only observation is that we seem to have managed quite reasonably over the last three days without any conclusive government, and I wonder whether we couldn't just soldier on with the status quo for a few more years. Without anyone really in control, taxes can't be altered, services can't be cut and life seems to go on quite sweetly.

I'm sure that, in the fulness of time, the lust for power will overtake one or other of the party leaders, and they'll want to interfere with this curious calm we now find ourselves in. That will be a shame.

Still, whoever finds themselves in control will be in the invidious position of having to pacify the money markets. I, for one, hope it isn't Gordon Brown. Life under ConLib is going to be pretty awful... but I don't think we'll put up with it for long.