A Far Fetched Resolution

I’ll tell you what happens with impossible promises. You start with far-fetched resolutions. They are then pickled into a rigid dogma, a code, you go through the years sticking to that, out-dated, misplaced, irrelevant to the real needs, and you end up in the grotesque chaos of a Labour council, a Labour council hiring taxis to scuttle round the city handing out redundancy notices to its own workers. I’ll tell you.. You can’t play politics with people’s jobs and with people’s services.

Friday, January 12, 2007

La Rive Gauche

Tomorrow I depart for Paris. Visiting my dear old Grandad.

My Grandad, as a candidate in the 1956 French general election made what I beleive to be the best campaign promise of any candidate in any election ever.

"If I am elected, comrades" he told his audience, "I give you my word. I do not promise revolution. I tell you, the revolution will have already happened."

He was last on the Communist Party list for his district. Anything less than 100% of the vote for the Communist Party and his fledgling parliamentary career would be cut off in it's prime. It would take a revolution, and the consequent emancipation of the popular consciousness - or state repression to bring victory to Camarade Charles.

As the revolution didn't happen and the Communist Party recieved somewhat less than 100% of the vote my Grandfather was never a member of the French Parliament.

I did find it hard to stifle a chuckle though when I went to my Oxford admission interview many years later (having, in the intervening period, been born). After a few pleasantries the politics tutor handed me a sheet of paper.

"Analyse that" was his introduction to the interview proper.

On the sheet was a breakdown of the election results for 1956 in France.

"What do you think we can tell from that?" he said.

"The revolution hadn't happened yet" I nearly said.


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