Thursday, 21 April 2011

A row of tents

NOT an Easter Egg...but usually given at Easter. I'm not expecting one.

Well we're cruising through to Easter quite nicely. Not religious by nature, I can't deny that the treat of having Hot Cross buns tomorrow and a big chocolate egg on Sunday is something to look forward to. As is a four-day weekend. With The Boy and The Cat returning after their long yomp in the Brecon Beacons, it promises to be a lively few days. Especially as, I hope, that thoughts of impending exams can be banished for a few days. There are some things that need to be given up AFTER Lent, not For Lent.

At the same time, the balance of who decides what will change too. The Cat's Mother and I when left to our own devices just muddle along, gently taking decisions because they suit....with the return of the offspring again, we will have to start thinking about their needs. That's democracy for you.

In the wider world. democracy is not all that it seems. You probably think you live in a democracy here in the UK, but there is democracy and there is democracy. An interesting piece of news yesterday was a report from the Constitution Unit at University College London that said the House of Lords is overly full. Indeed, that's not surprising given that David Cameron has taken it upon himself to create 117 Peers of the Realm since he took power, bringing the total to 792. That's 792 men and women who have not been elected yet are taking decisions about our lives on a daily basis. Worse still, of the 117 new peers, a large proportion are former MPs. Yes, that'll be people that we, the electorate, have decided we do not want to represent us, but are still part of the Parliamentary system. To my mind, that stinks of a 'ruling class' completely disregarding the desires of the voters...the people they are supposed to be representing. It's certainly not democracy in my books. David Cameron is the current villain, but it was Tony Blair's bunch who started parliamentary reform, but did it in such a half-hearted, half-arsed way that we're left with a whole house of parliament which is appointed. I don't think it's been that bad for 500 years.

The political system was much in mind yesterday, as we went off to London's last music hall (and best secret venue), Wilton's Music Hall to see Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe. Apart from Wiltons being such a special venue (have a look here), the production was equally special...the cast is entirely male. So there was a whole troop of male fairies. Judging by the audience, it was fairies playing fairies. And very splendid they were too. Sometimes 'camp' is wrong, but here they played it to the full and very fun it was too. In case you're not familiar with G&S (and I can't say I've seen more than a couple in my life), the story mixes true love and politics...involving fairies, Lords, an Arcadian shepherd, a Lord Chancellor and the beautiful Phyllis in a tangled-web of love and betrayal. There is conflict between the Peers and the Fairies and the as a punishment the fairy queen installs the lowly shepherd in the House of Lords, and he makes any decisions he likes because the other peers are charmed to support him. Naturally it's a happy ending and you can read the full plot here. But it's quite a smart political commentary.

So all in all we managed to travel full circle yesterday. Politics in the news, politics on the stage, camping in the Brecon Beacons and camping it up on the stage. Isn't symmetry nice?

NOT Gilbert and Sullivan: