So, we are at last on the eve of the General Election. If you are under 20 or thereabouts, you might not appreciate how extremely odd it is to be watching Dimbleby saying ‘so, the Tories are hoping to form a government…’. In 1997, Labour wiped out the Conservatives with an enormous majority. In 2001, they again won by a massive margin. I remember thinking it was almost impossible the Tories would lead the country again in our generation. But, well, here are we. Let’s just see what happens. But if it’s your first General Election I do recommend staying up till at least 4am. It’s great fun, whoever you’re supporting.
Just time to thank you all for contributing to last week’s referendum in which we devised on-the-spot fines to punish a wide range of behaviour. There were some marvellous suggestions both of punishable crimes and potential sanctions. Among these, Carl thought that people making dull small talk should be forced to walk on their hands; Kate proposed that anyone chatting in the audience at a comedy show should be fined ten times the ticket price and the money distributed among those they inconvenienced. Someone advocated throwing calculators at people who say ‘twenny’ instead of ‘twenty’; several people spoke out against the injudicious use of the word ‘literally’. Perhaps most bafflingly, Zoe Groom urged a fine of £1000 for ’the growing of Leylandii Conifers: none ever to be grown again’ - probably the most specific and inexplicable grudge I have ever come across. Zoe, can you elaborate?
Anyway, here are the most popular new bans supported by our poll, in addition to the ones I put forward:
TALKING IN THE CINEMA; TEXTING, GENUNINELY PISSING ABOUT WITH PHONE IN CINEMA. Can’t believe I didn’t have this one in my original post. Spoiling a film for others is the most loathsome of behaviour, and as I’ve said before on stage, not understanding the film is not a good enough excuse for muttering ‘who’s that guy? What was the point of that bit?’ – if you can’t follow the plot of a film, don’t go the cinema, stay at home and watch a DVD or get a colouring book.
STOPPING SUDDENLY IN THE STREET, BLOCKING THE PAVEMENT, ETC – this really gets to some people, by the sound of it. My wife is big on this as well, regularly hissing things like ‘why have you stopped there!?’ at complete strangers (but just too quietly for them to hear).
BAD PARENTING, INCLUDING SWEARING IN FRONT OF KIDS, OR CAUSING A TANTRUM AND THEN TELLING THEM OFF FOR IT. Children are the future. Let’s try not to completely screw them up.
Among a lot of excellent posts, LisaD contributed a very interesting selection of American-specific peeves, including ‘use of the phrase AMERICA: LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT’, which I can only imagine must be exceedingly annoying to intelligent Americans who don’t wish to sing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ every ten minutes. Also, most people were far harsher than me when it came to the specific fines we should be enforcing, with a lot of penalties going into six figures. One poster recommended a flat fine of a million pounds for all of them.
So, we’ve pretty much cleaned up the country, I think. For the full original manifesto, see the post called ‘the £2500 Breadcrumbs’. And next election, I will make sure I enter.
Tomorrow, the results of the ‘Would I Lie To You’ tiebreaker, and more high jinks. Thanks for reading, and I hope tomorrow morning, you will not have elected someone else as your blogger. But if it’s Nick Clegg, well, fair play. He is on a roll. Or is he? We’ll know in a few hours.