In Christianity the dove is a symbol of love and peace, originating from the bird that Noah was supposed to have sent from the ark. Well, Chelmsford doves have never read the Bible, either that or the ones in this part of East Anglia have evolved into creatures far more aggressive and less loving than their forbears. Darwin used the example of the variation in appearance through selective breeding on pigeons as a proof of the viability of natural selection. It appears still to be in action.
A pair of grey collared doves in our garden regularly dive-bomb pigeons on our bird-feeders, driving them off. Not long ago I saw a pigeon and a significantly smaller dove face each other off on the grass. The pigeon twice lunged at the dove, which stood his ground; each time the pigeon lost his nerve. No blood was spilled. Today, one of the doves having evicted a pigeon from the feeder by the expedient of landing on top of him, refused to give way to a much larger magpie also looking for a meal.
Is this, I wonder, the ‘Essex’ effect working its way into previously mild-mannered birds? I understand from Wikipedia that the collared dove originates from the East, and has only been breeding in Britain since 1954, so Perfidious Albion influences natural selection even in doves. Where will it end? Will all those Renaissance pictures of the Holy Ghost depicted as a dove have to be redrawn?
The price of opportunism
Twice in the last twelve months the Conservative government have called an entirely unnecessary and opportunistic national poll, and twice that hubris has resulted in humiliation for the government.
This latest result ensures that whoever leads the divorce negotiations with Europe - which start in eleven days time - will have no mandate from the people; almost any outcome from those negotiations will be able to be challenged. The country is hopelessly split, and it is difficult not to envision yet another Prime Minister and another election within months.
It seems that my wishes to the new MP for Chelmsford - see previous post - have been unexpectedly fulfilled. Although it is impossible to suppress a little Schadenfreude over this outcome, the cost to the country will be enormous.
I wrote a long email to my prospective Conservative MP today which I shall probably not send. At least though, there is a sort of catharsis in writing these things down.
My children relish reminding me how I used to instruct them in the ‘Eighties that Margret Thatcher was the Antichrist, sent by the devil, and was the incarnation of the beast, 666. My views are a little less extreme now, although if anything, the pernicious effect of the Conservative Party on the country is just as poisonous now as it has ever been. Anyway, here is the text of the email:
Dear Vicky Ford,
It really is a bit rich is it not? I refer to your just-received flyer asking us to vote for you. Has your party not sufficiently damaged the country yet, but you want another five years to do the job properly? I don’t know about a Russian connection with Trump, I am starting to wonder whether there is a hot line between the Kremlin and Tory Central Office... Our enemies abroad must be rubbing their hands in glee; our friends, tearing their hair out.
A Conservative prime minister commits the country to an EU referendum. This to spike the guns of John Major’s ‘bastards’, of which there are quite a few still left in the Tory party. He (Cameron) thought he could win the referendum because of favourable polls, but gets a result contrary to the wishes of the great majority of MPs, including himself, the current prime minister and the previous MP for Chelmsford. Having lost the referendum, and committed this country to an expense and amount of trouble not seen since September 1939, Cameron realises the enormity of his blunder, and leaves someone else to clear up the mess.
That nice Mrs May comes along, unelected as prime minister, and one of her first actions is to appoint the court jester Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary. Johnson, three times liar: to Michael Howard who sacked him because he lied about his private life; to the editor of The Times, who sacked him for lying to the readers, and to the British People to whom he lied incessantly about the £350M per week that would be liberated to spend on the NHS. OK, perhaps she just wanted to give Boris enough rope to hang himself, so let’s see how she gets on...
'Strong and Stable’? Time and again Mrs May told us she was not going to call an early election; and she calls an early election - surely winning the international prize for blatant opportunism in 2017. Her chancellor announces an increase in National Insurance contributions for the self-employed. Within a few days, this was reversed following fury from Tory backbenchers and others. Was there no prior discussion with the wider party or country? Did no-one think to ’test the water’? Is it possible to trust the finances of the nation to an outfit that can make such a major commitment, and then reverse it just like that? Then there was our Theresa’s famous gaffe over capping costs for the care of the elderly. And having done a ‘U’ turn, she refuses to acknowledge it as such! Strong and Stable? I don’t think so.
And Theresa tells us time and again she will stand up for our national interest; “Brexit means Brexit!” Really? She didn’t even believe it less than one year ago, but now she will negotiate for our country a policy that in her heart she knows is a catastrophe of Biblical proportions.
No, I’m not going to vote for you. I heartily wish you confusion and disappointment, since that is what you and your ‘party’ have inflicted on this country. History of course will tell, because it always does. But I doubt whether future generations will forgive the Conservative Party; I certainly never will.
What stops me sending it is that Ms Ford’s secretary will just hit ‘delete’ after the first sentence. I’m just waiting for a knock on the door; I have the garden hose ready…
Welcome to the Mirli Books blog written by Peter Maggs