Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Of Mice and Men......and Cam er on

The juxtaposition of the Number 10 cat, a dead mouse and Mr Yeo calling his boss out with reference to said rodent, has led to the odd comment on Twitter. Most recent from Isabel Hardman of the Spectator who said "I never met a mouse I liked. One ran up a boy's trousers leg when I was at school." And that in response to the inimitable Peter Mannion who had let us in to the astonishing revelation that "yes there was a tipexed outline marking spot of dead mouse found on Indie press office floor."

All of which reminded me of what was one of the highlights of my wonderful couple of months in the States. Sitting at the kitchen table with my beautiful Aunt June (I hope I look that good at 86!),  hilarious Uncle Steve (or Reg as he now prefers to be known) and wonderful cousin June (Steve's daughter), in Branson Missouri; June and Steve were reminising about their childhood during the war. They had a couple of mice which they kept in the dolls house. Said mice multiplied until there were 150 of them. Having been told by their mother that they had to get rid of them, they decided they may be able to sell them to the pet shop in Hightown, Luton. They borrowed their mother's suitcase, although she refused to let them punch holes in it given it was in the middle of the war she was unlikely to be able to get another one.

                                     Cousin June, Aunt June and Uncle Steve Reg

They got on the bus to Hightown, balancing the suitcase full of mice on their laps. Steve (aged 9 at the time) kept begging June (12) to be allowed to open the suitcase a fraction as he was worried the mice would suffocate. Eventually she relented and said yes, he could open it, but just a fraction...................

Unfortunately he opened the lid - a fraction - just as the bus jolted to a halt. Yes, the lid flew up and all the mice escaped, all over the double decker bus, up stairs and down! They managed to catch around 25 before they were unceremoniously ejected from the bus (this wasn't the only time, they had also been ejected with the family goat - but that's another story!), so they walked down the hill into Hightown to the pet shop. Unfortunately the pet shop owner had a similar problem with mice breeding like rabbits mice so their idea about making their fortune was dashed. Unable to get back on the bus they walked home up the hill, apparently releasing a couple of mice every time they came to a house with a basement :-)

So where was I? Allegations that Mr C may be a mouse rather than a man? Well, it may not be immediately apparent, but I'm not Mr C's greatest fan - however, I do find Tim Yeo's goading a tad childish. Coalition (however much I personally hate it) means THE TORIES AREN'T IN CHARGE!!!! Mr Yeo? You been asleep? Not only did your esteemed party make a manifesto commitment to oppose a third runway at Heathrow - it was also in the Coalition Agreement. IMHO, mouse like behaviour would be if Mr C rolled over and let you tickle his tummy! 

And on that point, I am reminded that my daughter spotted a field mouse climbing into our outside ventilation hole.......sweet dreams.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Light the Blue Touch Paper and..........

OK, it looks like I have been a wee bit inactive for the last few months. That would be true! Having spent a great couple of months in the States I came back and threw myself into the thankless task of job hunting. But that doesn't mean I haven't been completely silent elsewhere. 

Today I followed up my February CiF piece with one raising the question about whether Nick Clegg should stand down as leader........if the LDV poll is to be believed that should annoy and please members in equal measure! To be honest, when I got the call from the Guardian this morning I knew it wasn't going to be easy to write and I hope even those who disagree with me will appreciate my attempt to be balanced. 

I have always been very fond of Nick and as my CiF piece explains, supported him because of his unquestionable liberal values. But those issues which used to be the hairline fractures in our theoretical discussions and policy disagreements, have, over the past two years become chasms. The leader who promised to double our presence in parliament over two parliaments now faces the possibility of achieving the opposite. He is a good man who I know believes he is doing the right thing, that it is a price worth paying for the country and the party. But I am afraid I disagree profoundly with him. Our erstwhile supporters feel betrayed that the party who promised a new kind of politics has slipped itself into the mire.

Elsewhere I have contributed to The New Statesman, Shifting Grounds, Lib Dem Voice and have my own Children and Young People Now Blog commenting on youth issues. 

Today I have also submitted my application to be the Lib Dem PCC candidate in Bedfordshire - gives a whole new meaning to lighting the blue touch paper.....