Laughter, the Best Medicine

This time tomorrow the polls will be about to close, and the country’s fate will be sealed for five years. Pray god it’s not a Tory landslide. Mrs May has not had a good election campaign, but while television is required to be balanced in its reporting, newspapers are not. The headlines of the Mail and the Express make me wonder if we are on the same planet, let alone if we have been listening to the same speeches or reading the same manifestos.

On the other side of the pond, in the wake of the terrorist attack at London Bridge, that great savant Mr Trump has been making unwarranted accusations against our elected London mayor, Sadiq Khan. Trump seems to be under the impression that Sadiq Khan is a threat to democracy. I’d say the boot is on the other foot.

Having been pretty uninspired by the leaders of the three main parties at the start of the election campaign, I am surprised to find myself increasingly impressed by Jeremy Corbyn. I have to pinch myself every now and then as this seems so unlikely.  I am hoping that the votes for the Lib Dems, Labour and Greens will be enough to halt the Maybot in her tracks, or at least severely hobble her. If David Davies and IDS lose their seats, I may have to do a conga around Parliament Square. Don’t hold your breath.

If Friday finds us with a Tory majority and a strong opposition, I may still open the champagne. Opposition is vital in any democracy, and Theresa May’s calls for unity fail to disguise the fact that she would prefer a weak opposition, or preferably no opposition at all. This is a frightening prospect in any country, and her further statements that human rights could be suspended in certain circumstances should strike fear in the hearts of anyone who thinks even for a moment what that implies.

But May’s stance on human rights has always been shaky. So devout Tories as well as others who think she is a *strong* leader, offering a *stable* government, may not bother to consider the implications. Perhaps if they were to find themselves imprisoned without trial, waterboarded, deprived of their citizenship or deported without explanation, they might think otherwise. A lack of imagination is as dangerous as a lack of empathy. Continue reading

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How I Spent My Evening; or Three Hours (including travel) I Shan’t See Again

He seemed a very nice man, knowledgeable too. But as a public speaker he lacked certain skills one would usually group under the heading *essential*.

To wit: the ability to speak clearly; to finish sentences rather than tailing off in a self-deprecating mumble leaving the audience with a series of confusing non sequiturs; to explain the slides that seemed to have little or no connection with what he was saying; to show said slides the right way round.

Being able to speak without clearing his throat every three or four words would have been a plus too, but to be honest by the end of the evening I had more or less got used to that.

He wasn’t helped by the burglar alarm that continued unabated for well over an hour of his talk, nor by the Chair’s mobile ‘phone beeping. The odd ambulance siren screaming down the road merely added to the general confusion.

I sat beside D, someone I trained with years ago. Every now and then we looked at each other in disbelief, but when giggles threatened to overcome us we adopted the eyes front option as the only means of survival. Continue reading