Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Vote for Cauliflower Cheese!

There’s a lump of cold, leftover cauliflower cheese in the fridge!

Of all the many things that can make me happy, finding such a treasure is high on the list.

Still, I wouldn’t have said that when I was twenty – this is what age can do to you.

I can’t actually remember what I would have said when I was twenty, as Lou Reed once said – “that, along with many other memories, is no longer available to me.”

But luckily that is why someone invented Wikipedia!

And today I need it – because, although I can’t remember exactly when or where it was – I just have a mental picture of the police station – a quick trawl through Wikipedia will set me right. Hang on a second….

Ok it was 1975 and I was 20 (wow, that’s a coincidence!) - though Wikipedia doesn’t actually mention that part and I’m not entirely clear as to why we were at the police station.

There were three or four of us and it may or may not have been the night we had been stranded on the moors in freezing fog but either way there was a nice lady who collected us from the police station and drove us to the train station.

I think.

But what is clear is her asking me – I was in the front seat – how I was going to vote in the then-imminent referendum on Britain’s continued membership of the European Community.

I told her I intended to abstain.

She told me that she knew it.

It was my first involvement in the electoral process and abstaining meant that I would go into the voting station, scribble something expressing anarchist sympathy onto the ballot sheet and dropping it into the box.

ACTIVE abstention you see.

The last time I went to vote – five years ago – the good folk sitting behind the desk in the village hall said – “sorry, you can’t vote”.

ENFORCED abstention you see.

In fact I knew I couldn’t vote, I had just turned up and tried to highlight the undemocratic and racist nature of the system.

And.......I’m in France, I write a blog, it’s the French presidential election very soon so I thought readers might be expecting something pertinent so …..

But you know what?

I can’t be assed.

They won’t let me vote anyway.

I can help determine things in Britain where I go for the occasional holiday but not in the country where I live, work, raise children, pay taxes and speeding fines – even though they consider me to be intelligent and reliable enough to have a say in who represents the village (local elections) and who represents this part of the forest in Europe (European elections).

I’m not sure I’m intelligent enough to understand the logic in that.

Perhaps someone could explain?

Anyway all you really need to know about the forthcoming election is that there is a lot of blah blah blah, that the Mitterrand years were a bizarre exception to the basic rule that France votes to the right and that only the people who have no chance of getting elected stand on a platform that includes votes for foreign nationals.

Like me.

And a few others who live around here.

Oh – and you need to know that every commune sticks up a set of boards in the public square for the different candidates to place their posters.

All very republican – one board for each candidate, and you can’t put your poster anywhere else.

This is to stop people throwing stones through peoples windows – which might happen if you were allowed to stick a poster up in your house.

Do people still do that?

They used to in Orpington where I grew up.

I think I even have an embarrassing memory of sitting in a tree, shouting out – “Vote Liberal” to each passersby.

This was when I was very young by the way, when Liberal meant something different than it does today and when there were trees growing in The Avenue – which they aren’t now because they were taken out to make parking spaces.

That’s Liberals for you!

Anyway, I’m rambling, sorry…

So… the French boards – here they are (above) though it’s hard to say if it is the locals or the wind who have done for the most extreme of the candidates.

Anywhichway – what do you think of those green glasses?

Worth a vote?

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