Election Day Special

A few months ago, I joined a writing group, a U3A (University of the Third Age) writing group.  It’s turned out to be the best fun.  We’re quite a mixed bunch.  Most of the group write fiction, and a couple have novels on the go.  I don’t.  Paul can turn out a haiku at a moment’s notice, and John’s turning his life story into a hefty memoir.

Imaginative and inventive, Sheila leads us in a range of exercises that are both fun and challenging.  Who know that a discarded shopping list in a supermarket trolley could take our minds in such different directions?

At the beginning of every session, we write.  Just write, maybe using prompts Sheila has devised.  This is what Paul came up with the other week.  What better day to give it a wider audience than UK Election Day 2017?

(Wikimedia Commons, from geograph.org.uk  Walter Baxter)

Dear politician

How deep your pockets?

Empty, though, of words

But filled with promises unfulfilled

And crammed with oily silver

Slipped there from your greasy palm.

And

Who do you have in your pocket, politician?

Surely a hedge-fund manager

And a city banker or two?

Maybe some chums from school;

An expense claim form?

For fake responsibilities

Carried out in fake locations

By numerous fake relations?

Tomorrow’s speech there too?

To massage the masses,

Written in a back room

By the spinners of dreams for the working classes?

I wonder if, at the very bottom of this cache,

Remains, from your possibly innocent youth,

A nugget, a trace, a sliver of the truth?

Paul Finch

On a shop in Herne Hill, 2016 (Wikimedia Commons, JWS Lubbock).  No prizes for guessing who I’m not voting for.

35 thoughts on “Election Day Special”

  1. Superbly biting poem, love it. Unfortunately, I feel only too accurate. From distant family connections I know of one ‘charming’ hedge fund chappy who has already decamped to Switzerland and another even more unmentionable, ex RBS trader, who has discretely slithered back into the woodwork – both true blue to their core. Need I say more. We need a big change! Wishing you good and intriguing times with the writing group.

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  2. Yes the U3A offers everything. Italian class for me this afternoon. Love the poem! Obviously I am a cynic to the core. I love what you write. It’s every day life and therefore stranger than fiction. I am told I have an over-active imagination. Fantasy world, spin, web, stories……..all relevant today. Happy ending?

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    1. Who knows? Most of my friends are like-minded, so it’s easy to believe change is in the offing with all of us doing our bit. But in the end, no doubt cynicism will have to prevail.

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  3. My husband works at the polling station and he says it’s quite frustrating listening to the conversations going on amongst voters waiting in line, so many misconceptions and misinformation being passed on. Fingers crossed the weather doesn’t play a significant part in the result.

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  4. GR8 GROUP…..
    Such an amount of fake news 😉
    I wd get my f&c from the Cape Clear Fish Shop too…..
    In fact, I was watching the pre-election video on The Guardian before reading you – I mean gosh, you can’t vote for MAYbe, can you. And it’s nearly the same as the last few French elections (where we also can’t vote!) – it’s choosing between a rock and a hard place – but still. I think we are left with a great HOPE – I’m crying for the UK I knew when I lived there as it is. And I have friends in the Senior Care Business as I have them in Hospital Care. It’s all too dismal….

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  5. What I like really, really about the English, is their sense of (often sarcastic) dry humour…. I couldn’t imagine such a ‘voter’s invite’ in a French or Swiss window. It would be smashed before you could say ‘hmmmmm’.
    They also hardly ever wear a T-shirt with a vote recommendation…. but they are nerds and anoracks in other ways 😉

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  6. Clever poem and I appreciate its startling imagery, but it’s a sad day when it’s assumed politicians are “in it” for themselves rather than the common good. Is polarization and finger pointing the answer? Are the dream seekers without fault?

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    1. I know there are many decent, honest and hardworking politicians from all parties in parliament. There are still too many who are not, and they carry disproportionate weight in opinion-forming, tarnishing the reputation of the rest.

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  7. Good Morning – seems populism is back and politicians are promising anything and likely everything to be re-elected. It’s easy of course because most of the electorate isn’t paying attention to the real issues only the issues and events that are in the ‘news’ – front and center – and from the front it’s easy to get misconceptions and not understand what the real issues are… I am hoping that we all wake up and realize what is happening to us from the government and that the real culprit is ourselves – the voters… it’s easy to separate into ‘us and them’ and when it happens the political machines can manipulate as they see fit… yes I am a cynic, too. I hope real change does happen, but we (all of us) have to pay attention and seek to understand before trying to understand.

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    1. This has been a really difficult election here and I’ve really struggled to choose how to cast my vote. But I have tried! As you and other commenters have observed, it’s easy to be swept along on a tide of misinformation, and certain parts of our press are really guilty of slanting stories to fit their own agenda. Tricky times.

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  8. I smiled at the poster, not that I would ever support vandalism. The poem saddened me; the politicians I know at all levels work hard and got involved for the right reasons. We are off to A-V at the crack of dawn on Saturday for a week to recover from back to back elections. However my mobile phone and iPad will come too so I shall still be able to carry on with council duties!

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    1. I know, Kathryn. Many – most – politicians work honestly and hard. If anything, I resent the way that debate has been trivialised and twisted by elements of the press, specifically the right wing press. I can’t forgive the lies put out by the Mail and Express in particular. Enjoy your break. You, and all workers for every party really deserve one. My son has hardly been home at all since the election was announced, which is hard on him certainly, but on his family too.

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  9. I love our U3A and I too thoroughly enjoyed a creative writing class with them. We had a teacher who coaxed so much out of us. We play Petanque in a beautiful rose garden with U3A and have made so many friends.
    Your elections? Well they’ve been interesting…

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  10. Interesting? Not half. Lots and lots of dust to settle. I thought you’d be on the move too much to frequent the U3A. I took up petanque in our village, but I can’t now pursue it since my shoulder surgery. Grrr.

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  11. I just keep thinking of that (supposed) ancient Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times. I feel our times are too interesting by half! Between your elections and our televised testimony from the former FBI head, yesterday will keep us talking and wondering for a long time. Paul’s poem is depressing and astute and hits so close to home here, too . . .

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    1. It does, doesn’t it? And ‘interesting times’ about sums these last few months up. What next? It could be the beginning of interesting times, in a good way,with any luck. Here, at any rate.

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    1. Despite huge reservations about what it means in the short term, and for the unwanted negotiations for Brexit, it’s good to see that both the nastier sections of the right wing press, and May herself got their come-uppance.

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  12. I have been so lifted up by your results in Britain. I believed that the Brexit vote was a foreshadowing of what would be happening here in the US, and it was. I now hope these latest election results in your country will also foreshadow a future for my country, come 2018. Lordy (to use a new popular phase here in America), how can we wait that long!

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