OH, goodie. An election. Oh, I’m so happy. I’ll just have another of those Prozac sandwiches. Delicious.

It’s notable how campaigners suffered for years to get us the vote, even giving their lives. Indeed, they still do in benighted foreign lands. But, here, we complain that it might be too dark or a bit nippy and, even if it isn’t, we can’t be bothered because we’ve got busy schedules of reality TV to watch.

And all this in the run-up to Christmas tae. The Daily Telegraph cartoonist Matt quipped: “At least a December election will put paid to all that ‘Season of Goodwill’ nonsense.”

The cry also went up: “But what about the nativity plays?” The what now? I haven’t been to school for a while, and never paid much attention when I was there. But are they seriously still forcing the inmates to re-enact scenes from the Middle East 2,000 years ago? Come to think of it, I can’t remember having these at my primary school. Maybe that was just Leith, right enough. I think we only did May Day and Lenin’s birthday.

It would be fine if the election was all about Leith Man but the doughty old port suffers from the disadvantage of being Scottish and so could never be representative of Britain. Instead, they’ve decided that it’s Workington Man who should be the successor to previous incarnations of electoral barometer such as Essex Man and Worcester Woman, not to mention various vehicular representatives such as Mondeo Man and White Van Man.

The Pebbledash People were also adduced at one point, but the least said about them the better. In Leith, they’d have been put up against a wall.

The Workington Man concept comes from centre-right think-tank Onward, and is predicated on targeting older working-class Leave voters without degrees in gender studies or vegan sociology, who are worried about crime and immigration, which liberals living in prosperous, all-white areas say they ought just to thole.

It’s currently a Labour seat with an unrepresentative Remainer MP, which has led many stout proletarians to say they’re going to vote Conservative this time. That’s well weird. But it’s the same in other northern English towns like Warrington and Wigan where, as one psephologist said, most voters would normally never give the Tories the steam from their tinkles.

But now, feeling alienated from and despised by the haut-liberal establishment, many are thinking of going further than offering not just the vaporous by-products of micturition but also their votes.

Not all of them are saying this, of course. Some Workington citizens have taken offence at the stereotype pinned to them, and many proletarian Leavers simply could never vote Conservative, even with clothes pegs on their proboscises.

It’s the latter vote that the Brexit Party of Mr Nigel Farridge (to give his name its British rather than Continental pronunciation) is banking on picking up. Yesterday, at the launch of their election campaign, the spiv-style statesman said that, if the Tories thought they were going to win northern English Labour seats, they needed to get out of the office more.

He believes his party are better placed to take the Labour Leave vote because, unlike the Tories, they don’t yet have a history of being horrible. The Brexit Party might plausibly claim also to be a broader church, apparently including even some ex-Communists, and as far as I can make out, it hasn’t overtly extolled the virtues of the enslaving free market as Boris Johnson’s Tories do at every turn.

Of course, a few people in Workington and elsewhere will continue voting Labour on a tribal basis, believing it still to be the party of the working person (audience laughter). The party’s launch this week showcased several attractive proposals for punishing the rich, with even some encouraging talk that there should be no billionaires in Britain, and it’s possible that decent people everywhere might support this.

But maybe not in Workington, which has had enough of Labour promises. I’m guessing that old industrial Leith, meanwhile, will stick with the SNP, particularly with its attractive policy on trans-gender issues.

As for how I’m going to vote, I’m afraid it’s not my place to say.


IF you were genuinely open-minded, and not a liberal, you might concede that there are some things to admire about Boris Johnson. Well, two: the humour and erudition.

And, of course, there are a few things to dislike, including the not inconsiderable fact that he’s a Tory. However, a clinching factor against him for many decent ratepayers is the fact that he’s a cyclist. And, if the account of one former journalistic colleague is anything to go by, he typifies the breed.

Stephen Robinson recalled: “[Following] Boris on a bike is a very dangerous undertaking indeed. When traffic is gridlocked, Boris shimmies along the inside lane, propelling himself with his left foot along the kerb. He crosses red lights, he cuts up the largest lorries.”

Textbook stuff. Voting is an important business and, when weighing up candidates, it is important to consider several factors: their hairstyle, football team, alcohol intake and mode of transport.

Few people beyond the pedalling narcissi themselves would knowingly vote for a cyclist. My own view is that, as with bald people, cyclists should not be allowed to vote never mind stand for election. However, I’m aware that this policy is not popular among the closed-minded.


A SURVEY of 2,000 adults found the majority wouldn’t dream of going to the cinema or dining out on their own. The study, commissioned by hotel brand Staybridge Suites, also found many wouldn’t attend the pub or the football or a museum on their own.

How peculiar. The only one I concur with is dining out. I used to do it when younger, not knowing it was problematic. But I soon noticed I was getting stared at by other diners, most often those couples who never exchange a word.

Chinese restaurants were the worst. In two establishments, I looked up to find the entire staff staring. And they don’t flinch when you stare back.

Of course, I cannot discount the possibility that I look bizarre. Somebody once said I resembled a character from The Lord of the Rings (she never specified which but I suspect a talking tree) and it’s true also that I used to be a martyr to red-face disease rosacea (inadvertently cured by accidentally alkalising my diet for a bit).

But none of that is an excuse for such bovine staring. So, if dining alone is called for, I’ll do it in rather than oot, thanks.


WE live in fast times. By the time I finish this sentence, many of you online will already have moved on, to find something bilious about Brexit or fitba’ or dancing cats. Losers.

However, I cannot say I’ve been bothered by the furore over a new Netflix feature allowing viewers to speed up or slow down films and TV shows.

It’s mainly film-makers and actors whose underwear has been formed into a bent, curling or distorted shape by the development. They say the move has a similar effect on the artwork and resent such interference.

But it’s long been available on DVDs, and I can’t remember using it much. On TVs, too, you can apparently fast-forward through the adverts on recorded programmes.

The new Netflix function is currently only available to Android users, ie punters with portable telephones. Am I getting this right? They watch movies on their mobile phones?

Why would anyone do that? Do they eat from tiny wee tubs of popcorn as well? They’re the sort who probably would fast-forward through films, right enough. The fast set. Still, there’s no slowing down progress, I’m afraid. Right, I’m off to watch a video about a Brexit-supporting cat playing keepie-uppie.