Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Exile and return

Having a volcanic ash prolonged break has cut me off from a daily diet of election coverage. I only see it when I sneak a glimpse on the Internet. Lucky me, except when I do get back to Britain it will be like the awakening of Rip van Winkle. I went away with a vague awareness of the insignificant leader of a minority party called Nick Somebody-or-the-other, and will come back to headlines like this. Presumably this is all because of the curious introduction of the X Factor for party leaders, to my mind an anomaly for a parliamentary election in a representative democracy. It has certainly spawned some hysterical commentary.

The latest to go mad is Fay Weldon who combines a frisson of excitement at at the multi-lingual and "good looking" Clegg with a bleak dystopian picture of Britain under New Labour.
Common sense? Generosity? Forget it: "heathy (sic) and safety" rules. (It's the "lite" version now, but "health' and 'safety" are words that sound uncomfortable in the mouths of governments: Le Comité de Salut Public – guillotines, Sicherheitdienst – Gestapo, Staatssicherheit – Stasi).
Ah. Health and safety is the same as public execution and private torture then? Neither seem particularly safe or good for one's health to me. I gather it is nothing to do with this - or this - or even this?

Oh well, April 28th is the International Labour Organisation's World Day for Safety and Heath at Work. Perhaps it could be a point when campaigners could recover the term from tabloid tales and the scorn of the literati. But then again, such useful mythology is rarely discarded, even if the protection of real lives may be an election winner against the spectre of red tape.

So, on the whole, I am happy to be here, dozing in a Greek spring, and I can't help thinking to myself on occasions, "blow volcano, blow".

1 comment:

Brigada Flores Magon said...

Yup, Weldon's piece was fruity and loopy and there's plenty more where that came from, I'm afraid. So, you're not making for Piraeus to be rescued by HMS Indescribable?