There's going to be a general election on May 6th and if you have insomnia, tune in to the results. That's the best night's sleep you'll get for another five years.
Someone or other will win it but for almost all of us, it doesn't matter who it is. As long as it's not the current drooling imbecile with a face that looks like it's been peeled off a pig, it might be a slight improvement. Overall though, the issues seem to me as an ordinary voter to be as follows.
The economy. Doesn't matter who wins, they'll all bugger it up, just in different ways. They are all wrong in considering this the Big Issue. Most people here consider only their personal economy and telling them the country is in debt gets a shrug and 'That's the government's problem'. Out here in voterland, people's concern about the economy extends to - is my job safe - will I get a pay rise - how much is the price of things going up - can I convert my car to run on gold because it'll soon be cheaper than petrol. Nobody gives a damn about the tractor stats.
The EU. Well sir, we don't like it. We especially don't like hearing that 'The EU says we must...' because we were not only not asked if we agreed with it, we were very pointedly not asked after being promised we would be. Then we were promised it again, and the promise was withdrawn again. Even so, locally, the EU will not be a make-or-break issue. What will matter far more is that Labour have proved, in court, that there is no obligation on a political party to honour anything they say in those little brochures. That one is going to stir up some crap in these parts. Not that I'd do anything to help, naturally (I have my best 'innocent' look on, but I'm told it just makes me look like a psycho).
Immigration. Locally, here, not a big issue. If you come from Africa or Pakistan, you are likely to find our annual three-month freeze and barely-visible daylight for a large chunk of the year really quite unpleasant. A few have settled and adapted but not many, and they are almost all working - at least, I don't know of many local benefit-fed immigrants. Lots of Polish immigrants here, they're used to the cold and they all work so nobody minds. In fact, most of the lazy yobs here are white and vote Labour. Most of them smoke and drink too. If they find one of those little posters, I hope they'll be able to find someone to read it to them.
In other parts of the country, immigration is THE issue for many people. All the main parties are pretending it's not. They are explaining what they plan to do about country-sized economics to people who live in high rise council flats and drive a £100 car with a photocopy of a tax disc in the window. Those people don't care at all about economics. They care about overcrowding and being woken by minarets and having little Wayne coming home speaking like a Jamaican. They don't understand Halal and they believe what they read in the papers, even if it's the Daily Record. Some of them believe what they read in the Dandy.
Some of them want jobs, but the new jobs the Gorgon has manifested out of thin air have almost all gone to newly-transplanted Labour voters. So the old Labour voters will vote for the one party who says they'll do something about the thing that is foremost in their minds. The thing that the main parties have decreed Must Not Be Discussed. I really want to see Labour come below the BNP in at least a few places. It would be one of those 'try to stop laughing before you pee yourself' moments.
Nobody offers my own preference for immigration - let anyone in, but don't pay them to come - so I have no choice based on that issue.
Civil liberties. Doesn't matter who wins, they will all continue to squeeze until we have to have a permit to pick the newspaper out of the letter box and a CRB check before we can open our own pre-opened and censored mail. If the Tories win, we'll get a Summer of Slavery for the young and a 5000-strong (to start with) army of prodnoses for the rest of us. And that's the least worst of them. They all clasp their hands in glee at the smoking ban, they all delight in minimum pricing for booze even though their cherished EU says they can't have it, they all want to control your salt and fat intake and they all want you performing physical jerks in front of the telescreen at 5 am.
So, in the absence of a Libertarian candidate, all I have to choose between are BNP and UKIP here. The BNP won't win here, not because of 'racism' but because they are perceived as 'English' and the Scots will not vote for a party they think is English. So I suppose it is about racism, but not the BNP's. It says a lot about Labour that the BNP can get as much as 2% of the vote in Scotland.
Which leaves me with one option. The only offer on the table for me is an 'amendment' to the smoking ban. I want a total repeal of all silly bans with private premises allowed to decide for themselves whether to allow smoking, whether to sell absinthe at happy-hour prices and whether to put salt shakers on the tables. If a pub or cafe decides to be non-smoking, that's fine, but no private business should be forced to comply either way. I also want a repeal of the bans on guns and knives. They have made things worse. I've never owned a gun and don't want to - but I'd rather any prospective burglar wasn't absolutely certain that I don't have one. Nobody who is standing here offers a total repeal.
If anyone does, I'll not only vote for you, I'll canvass for you. But you'd damn well better not do a Labour on me and go back on that promise after the election. I won't take it quietly.
Right, that's enough about the election. I think that's more detail than you're likely to get from Compo, Foggy and Clegg over the next few weeks anyway. They are all too busy preening for the cameras and treating it like a Big Brother game show. I've stopped following the coverage already and I suspect I was one of the more persistent ones.
There's really not much else to say, as the main-party leaders are finding. A couple of days into the campaign and they've run out of rhetoric already. They aren't even going to touch immigration, the EU or the various bans. I suspect we've already heard everything we are going to hear and we might as well have the election tomorrow.
It's going to be the dullest campaign on record.