Dear Blog Readers
Yesterday was a meandering day spent trawling the highways and byways of Ealing for treasures and eating delicious lunches with some of our best beloved friends. Nothing much happened of any note, which is what made it such a wonderful day.
Love from Mrs. Boo
When I was a bright young thing I thought it was very important indeed to not only be busy all the time, but to have drama in your life. Drama, so I believed, was what showed you that you were really living. If you weren’t up to your neck in some kind of problem or other, or teetering on the edge of calamity in your social/love life, what was the point? If your adrenalin surges were more like ripples on a mill pond, you might as well be dead.
In later years, worn out by childbirth, and the thousand small emergencies children thrust into my path every day that were clearly not emergencies at all unless you were only as high as the kitchen table, but which, nevertheless had to be taken seriously and fixed before those emergencies escalated to all out crisis and utter melt down, I went off adrenalin rather.
Nights spent pacing the floor, glued to a small child by Calpol and snot wondering whether you should call NHS Direct will do that to you. As will your child crying inconsolably for five hours because they don’t think they know how to be a grown up because they don’t know how to have a bank account and they only really want to live in a tent in your back garden and marry daddy.
I learned to cherish solitude in a way I never really did before children, also quietness, and peace. If there is one thing, apart from sleep that I wish I had given more credit to before the days of children, it is peace. It is vastly under-rated in my opinion. Long gone is my desire to be dancing the night away, seeing and being seen. Long gone is my desire to be in the middle of things. The edges are much nicer than I ever imagined.
Although all credit to the children to pushing me into areas of resourcefulness I never knew I had or needed. It turns out that I am not only much more pragmatic than I ever gave myself credit for, but I am also really good at answering questions on the fly. Even if, at times, those answers were a wing and a prayer held together with a bit of angel spit and a lot of chutzpah.
I was thinking about this with regard to Prime Minister’s Question Time yesterday. It was Theresa’s first stab at it, so I paid more attention than usual. I have, in the past, tended to avoid it, because Cameron’s smug face and his utter failure to do anything other than sling insults, jeer, and wobble his jowls around make me want to punch the telly.
I still can’t watch it, it turns out.
Firstly, the school teacher in me wants to make John Bercow do his job, and actually enforce order instead of just feebly sitting in a big chair with that stupid half smile on his face. I loathe the way that MPs, for the most part, totally fail to actually listen to each other. Not to give credit where it isn’t due, but no wonder people like Leadsom start their jobs by asking if climate change is a ‘real thing’, if nobody can hear anyone when MPs are actually in the house, and unless the debate is a hot topic, nobody actually bothers to turn up at all. There is too much hot air. It’s a wonder the Houses of Parliament don’t actually take off.
Maybe they’re anchored by a really big string.
Secondly, I know politicians never actually answer any question that are put to them, but seeing the PM doing it repeatedly is absolutely no fun at all. It is a damn good job it’s not called Prime Minister’s Answers, because none will be forthcoming. Although we could probably sue.
Imagine living with a politician…
Mr. Theresa May: ‘Darling, would you like toast?’
Mrs. Theresa May: ‘Well, I’d be prepared to think about the concept of toast as one that pertains to me.’
Mr. Theresa May: ‘Look. I’m putting some toast on for myself. We’ve got a four slicer. I only want two. I could pop a couple of bits in for you. Would you like me to?’
Mrs. Theresa May: ‘It’s something I’d be willing to put on the table.’
Mr. Theresa May: ‘The kitchen table?’
Mrs. Theresa May: Stares into the middle distance: ‘There are other tables…’
Mr. Theresa May: ‘I’m asking you, for the last frigging time. Do you want toast?’
Mrs. Theresa May: ‘In an austerity government, one is forced to live within ones means for the good of the country.’
Mr. Theresa May: ‘Oh bugger off Theresa. I’m going to the pub instead.’
Thirdly, nothing is resolved. Prime Minister’s Question Time is just like watching a rap battle. It’s all style, no substance and the only bonus is slightly clearer diction in the battlers, as long as you can hear them over the jeers of the back benches.
It is alright for me to crave peace. I’ve done my stint. I don’t sign up for dangerous missions or emergencies. It’s alright for me to opt not to go to a meeting but to stay at home within reach of the biscuit tin. I’ve earned my stripes.
It is not alright for the government to do this. Their job is to deal with dramas and crises, and to surf the adrenalin waves of politics so that we can all carry on raiding the biscuit tin.
It is not alright for the government to fail to provide answers at a time when we need them more than ever. Even I provide answers, and our dramas are minuscule by comparison. I’d be willing to go in and coach the house on the topic of answering questions under fire while being stared in the eye by a toddler with an unwavering desire to win. The indomitable will of a toddler, and their willingness to repeat questions to infinity due to the fact that time is a meaningless construct to them, make Jeremy Paxman’s interview style look milksop by comparison. As for Corbyn, my children could wipe the floor with him.
It is not alright for them to make a lot of noise, but to offer no substance. This is not a high school balloon debate about who wants to be stuck in a wicker basket with Pol Pot, Margaret Thatcher or Stalin.
It is not alright for them to play at this, when the welfare of the country is at stake.
I’m not expecting Theresa to have answers to everything, after all, she’s only been in the job for a week. It would be brilliant however, were she to exceed expectation and actually answer some questions. I’d even take whether she’d like toast or not at this point. Anything at all.
It would be equally brilliant if she were to actually answer questions truthfully. I’d be totally fine with the answer: ‘I don’t know, but I’ll find out.’ I use it all the time. It’s alright to say I don’t know, when even to the most casual observer it is clear that you couldn’t possibly know what you’re being asked. It would restore an enormous amount of confidence in our politicians for me if one of them, not even Theresa, would say: ‘I’m buggered if I know.’
What irritates me most about all this is the fact that during PMQ’s the whole purpose seems to be to ‘look’ busy, just like my children when they know I’m about to ask them to hang the washing out, or unload the dishwasher. Their reasoning is that if they ‘look’ busy, I will fall for it, and think they ‘are’ busy, and will do the job myself. I accept this behaviour in children, although it never works. I find it impossible to tolerate in the government.