What Fresh Hell is This?

20 Jan

If you have come here to find out for whom you should vote in the upcoming election (whose date looks to be May 6th, but my goodness, you shouldn’t be relying on me to schedule such important things), I’m afraid you will meet with disappointment. I am well aware that many people are such blind followers of celebrities that they have created a whole industry dedicated to emulating them.  Undoubtedly there are people out there who would love to be more like me (and why wouldn’t they?); however, I refuse to influence anyone’s decision about such an important topic as which party should rule our country. So if you want someone to tell you how to vote, you will need to go to elsewhere.

However, I do feel it is not an abuse of my overwhelming popularity to make a simple statement about the most important issue facing us right now: the economy.

I’m not oblivious to the fact that we’re in a “recession”; just because I have an endless stream of income doesn’t mean I’m not aware that others do not. I read the papers and I occasionally watch the telly, and as you know I have nothing but respect for John Humphrys and if he says there’s trouble, I know there’s trouble.

Furthermore, as a woman of the people, I care about the people. If my neighbours are no longer able to afford to have their paper delivered and instead have to walk down to the news agents themselves, well, that’s worrying. However, I have recently learned that the situation might be even worse than anyone had previously imagined. What has really “blown my mind” is the way it is affecting local council budgets. As a result, the lives of everyday people are going to be affected in ways beyond our current comprehension. Those with a strong constitution may be able to face the entirety of the new budget proposals of East Devon District Council, but for the rest of you, I will just highlight a few alarming cuts:

Cease maintaining town clocks and coloured festooned lights

Now we’re not talking about the removal of the town clocks and coloured festooned lights (I believe this implies that the white lights are safe). In many ways, completely destroying them would be preferable. As it stands, the clocks and lights will still be there, just not maintained, serving as haunting reminders to the townspeople of how low we’ve gone.

No planting of hanging baskets or flower beds at gateways to the town

A gateway without beds or baskets? And the Council expects citizens to still be able to walk with their heads held high?

The closure of Littleham public toilets and ending the deep cleaning of toilets.

Now certainly just because we’re in dire straits does not mean that we need to use the loo any less frequently than we did in times of fecund plenty. Our times are so tight that not only are our excretion opportunities more limited but when we do have to go, the toilets will only have been lightly edulcorated. This must surely indicate that we are in crisis mode.

We are a country in distress. People, friends, citizens of one of the top six or seven countries in the world—please keep these devastating effects of the economic downturn in mind when making your decision at the ballot box.  Think of those poor people of Sidmouth, unable to look at flowers falling from baskets as they rush to unhygienic public conveniences while being unsure if the town clock is correct. The government is chosen by the people for the people. Choose wisely.

3 Responses to “What Fresh Hell is This?”

  1. Hilary Hanson-Bennett Monday, 8 March 2010 at 21:27 #

    Dear Agatha,

    I have run out of crochet wool, so while I wait for my next consignment from Crochetworld (they’re based in India, but use genuine lama wool from Tibet which takes time to cultivate as lamas are under the watchful eye of the Dalai Lama who apparently has to wander around the herd and hand-pick those who donate their prized coats to us crochet devotees, which consequently takes some time as they are scattered far and wide and he’s quite old and needs help from some equally old Sherpas to get about) I thought I would peruse some of your older posts.

    I was appalled therefore to learn of East Devon District Council’s decision to cease various services pertaining to the cultural stability of Sidmouth. I spend considerable time in Sidmouth during the summer and indeed my best friend is from there. In fact it is she who recommended your column to me. I was surprised she had not told me about the proposed cessation of maintenance to the town clocks and coloured festoons and public loos -but then I remembered she is colour-blind, has to permanently wear a colostomy bag and suffers from severe Timeophobia (she can’t bear timepieces as they constantly remind her of the time she is losing, and therefore avoids looking at town clocks).

    But what can we do about this dreadful situation? I love looking at the town clocks and watching time go by on them (especially when they are working) and the coloured lights are a joy at night paving the way back home after a night at the panto and as I do have a somewhat weak bladder do frequent the public loos at least once a day during my Sidmouth walkabouts.

    Are you planning a crusade? And if so, how can I help?


  2. Yours, Agatha Sunday, 14 March 2010 at 05:21 #

    I’m afraid that I have done all I could do. I truly hoped that by bringing this farce to the attention of good people like yourself that I could make a difference to our wonderful country. We don’t have long before the election. Keep spreading the word about the injustices that are taking place. The final outcome is in the hands of the British public, and if the X Factor is anything to go by, I fear we may all end up screwed.

  3. Hilary Hanson-Bennett Sunday, 14 March 2010 at 10:38 #

    Dear Agatha,

    You are probably right, but maybe we should enlist the help of the FBI after all? Mulder and Scully I’m sure would unravel the deep conspiracies that surely lie at the heart of the British political establishment. They proved time and time again on the X Factor that such evil contempt for the people runs through the sewers underneath the Oval Office, maybe they could do the same over here and poke around a bit at Westminster. I’m sure Gordon Brown must know a lot more than he lets on. That innocent look he always wears doesn’t wash with me at all. I know he’s only got one good eye, but the childlike twinkle he has had built into the other one is so obviously a rouse. Do you have Scully’s phone number?


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