At the End of the Day

Chicken & fried green olives at the half-moon hotel

For the last thirty years, it has seemed to me that most of the time a substantial majority of voters in the West have been faced with what one might call The Lesser of two Evils*. I would offer as examples of this:

*Francois Hollande rather than Sarkozy

*Cameron rather than Brown

*Obama rather than Romney

*Tony Abbott rather than Julia Gillard

The choices above were between, respectively, a dull bureaucrat and a self-obsessed midget; a human plumface rather than an inhuman crumble-face; an empty black suit being preferred to a full-on asset stripper; and a trappist bonehead gaining ascendancy over a patronising Welsh robot.

But the same set of mediocre choice applies in so many other areas of life:

*Bundesbank mania vs EU Central Bank fantasy

* BBC Soft Left vs Newscorp Hard Right

* Jay Leno vs Piers Morgan

* Neoliberal vs Socialist

These ‘choices’ in turn could be paraphrased as 1923 v 1984; Bloomsbury v Mussolini; Bumface v Peabrain; and 18th century v 19th century.

So to summarise, the eclectic choices available to us embrace everything from pond-life via Utopian Edwardiana to contemporary criminality. As with cooking, when you boil things down, there is either an intense flavour…or the smell of burning in the nostrils.

As an escape from all this strangulated bollocks, I ventured east and slightly south to Cahors for the weekend – and found reality there in the shape of an historic steak & kidney pie, gallons of Cahors red, local integrated Franglais culture, superb architecture, and the blessed relief of conversation with people whose views are to the Left of mine, but perfectly congruent when it comes to an appreciation of decency.

It was so warm when I got back to Slogger’s Roost this afternoon that the compulsion to garden was irresistible. Hedges were clipped and fences repaired, after which I crawled under the tracteur tondeuse and persuaded an ancient steering system to behave itself, and a badly bent axle to go straight. Then some Apollo 13 ingenuity was employed to get the bugger going again, following which the Green Beast dutifully cut the eastern lawns of Slogania.
Anyway, the choices open to me tonight are: to stare south and see the small Plough dimly lit in the sky; to gaze to  the west, and see a bright half-moon’s glaring light on the local village ‘mont’; to look east at the large Plough’s clearly pinpointed arrangement; or to watch the flashing lights of aeroplanes returning passengers to more northern climes.
The tagine is on the log burner. Maybe there’s something on the telly. Either way, I’ve been enjoying greater privileges rather than suffering lesser evils. I’m lucky, but believe me: I know how lucky I am.
*While travelling in the American South many years ago, I was treated to a lecture about how ‘evils’ was an anagram of Elvis.