Who knew that great wealth brings with it great fear, writes Susan Morrison as the general election looms.
There used to be a certain excitement about general elections. Rosy cheeked wee volunteers would chap on your door and not run away whilst you snarled at them about the government’s woeful record or howled with laughter when they told you what their party planned for the bright future of milk and honey if only, only, you would give them your vote.
Television pundits would follow candidates about waving microphones and asking questions about deficits and the NHS. There would be rosettes, posters and people standing in the Kirkgate looking vaguely out of place behind Mrs Thompson’s pasting table, dragooned into service as the campaign tabletop.
Now I think we’ve all gone a bit voting booth bored. If they keep doing this, they may have to consider a loyalty card system like some sort of hipster coffee shop. Once we’ve voted more than six times, we win our very own MP. Hang on. That’s probably not my best plan. What if the MP you win is Mark Francois, that splenetic little man who looks like a cursed garden gnome come to life? Couldn’t have that in the living room. Very high coloured is Mr Francois. He’d clash with my curtains.
Of course, the politicians are fibbing all over the shop. Everyone expects them too. The Lib Dems, remember them? Used to get great scandals with them. In fact, usually the only time we knew a who a Lib Dem MP was when the charge sheet was being read out.
They used to promise everything from free personal care for elderly hamsters to doing away with high fees for students. Then that young Mr Clegg found himself in a faintly sleazy ménage a deux with that Cameron bloke and, hey presto, the hamsters were abandoned to shift for themselves whilst the students had to find the sort of money you usually need to build a small nuclear deterrent.
Invisible film crew
Mind you, that Boris is a one, eh? I mean, there are election fibs, but this lad takes telling electioneering tall tales to an Olympic level. Most of them are being filmed, because young Mr Johnson doesn’t seem to realise that he’s living in a sort of Truman Show right now, where the beady eye of the camera and the sharp ears of the microphone pick up every twitch and word.
Obviously, he’s oblivious to all this since it wasn’t that long ago that he told an outraged father in a rundown NHS hospital that he had no press with him. We know this because it was filmed by the press with him.
Perhaps he thinks these people are just staff from the estate, following the young master around in case he needs anything.
Meanwhile, who knew that with great wealth comes great fear? Every election, sure as fate, wonga-laden folks start screaming about leaving the country the second various parties unveil their spending plans for the welfare state, the NHS and education services.
Well, not the Tory Party naturally, whose plans for the NHS in England would appear to be bringing in those great managers of health systems, the Americans.
Bet our southern cousins can’t wait to wake up in a hospital bed to be greeted by Lucozade, a cheery nurse and a brightly coloured invoice.
What are rich people so scared of? The point of being rich is that you have more than enough money to stand your round at Wetherspoons. You really won’t notice it. You’ve probably misplaced more down the back of a sofa than I earn in a decade.
Think what good that money will do. All those sick people getting better and old folks being cared for in their very own homes by teams of well-resourced carers. We could re-invigorate Sure Start centres again to give the most disadvantaged young folk a good beginning in life. We could carry that on through to properly funding great schools.
Given that investment in their lives and talents, perhaps some of those kids could go on to be rich people themselves, or go on to become doctors, teachers and the kind of smart people who develop apps to run your life. Whatever an app is...
Don’t be scared, rich people. You’ll still have enough money to buy six luxury cars, a fleet of private yachts and fly your chihuahua’s psychotherapist to Santorini for an emergency consultation.
But, if you really insist on leaving the country because you’re feart, I’ll drive you to the airport.
Scotland’s relationship with Satan (and other historical insights)
Don’t forget you’ve only got a week left to get your tickets for Previously…. Scotland’s History Festival.
We have a whole host of events where you can explore Scotland’s relationship with Satan, songs sung by the herring girls, and French involvement in the American War of Independence. We’re in the French Institute up opposite St Giles, and if you google us, you can find our website.