In accordance with my younger daughter’s instruction (she is “Waste Prevention and Recycling Education Officer” for Essex County Council after all!) that I have to recycle more stuff, I thought it might be appropriate for a couple of reasons to let you see the following piece originally published exactly four years ago.
You will, in all probability, not have read it before for the simple reason that it was not originally shown here.
Along with my esteemed former school classmate Mike V, I was at that time a “Guest Editor” on another site run by a mutual acquaintance and used that for somewhat pithier pieces than I normally do here. This was one of those – please treat it as a historical article because I think that editing out the stuff about the referendum would ruin it.
It is interesting to note that the “commute” that I refer to was to and from the then Huntingdon location of the company I am currently working for at their “new” Peterborough site.
Alfie: May the Fourth be with you! – 4 May 2011
Today is known by some of my geeky friends and an increasing number of Radio DJs, who have finally cottoned on to the joke, as “Star Wars Day” and despite my oft stated penchant for puns it always brings to MY mind a far less humorous event from 41 years in the past.
I refer, of course, to the deaths of four students from Kent State University, Ohio at the hands of “frightened” National Guardsmen on May 4th 1970.
The memory of this event serves to remind me of two important things.
Firstly, that the so-called “Land of the free”, and consequently any other enlightened democracy on Earth, will still not hesitate to use threats and actual violence on their own people if sufficiently irritated by simple disagreement with them!
Secondly, it reminds me that had I been born anywhere in the Post-1776 American Insurgency (aka the U.S.A.) rather than the Ancient Kingdom of East Anglia, I would almost certainly have been conscripted into the army and sent to Vietnam. I would therefore most likely now be dead, crippled or emotionally scarred to some extent or another!
Driving home from work today on the aforementioned 41st anniversary I was held up in a traffic jam on the back road from Huntingdon to Peterborough right outside the main gate of the American Airbase at Alconbury. I was thus able to entertain the armed American guards with a one fingered salute and “Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young blasted out of my car stereo at a painfully high volume.
So my next communication will probably be from a remote corner of Cuba with pictures of me wearing a stylish orange jumpsuit!
Tomorrow, Thursday 5th May, sees the UK enduring the annual local council elections with the added bonus this time of a referendum on the proposed Alternative Voting system and I have made up my mind for all the wrong reasons!
Reason 1, the campaign videos; the “Yes” campaign is short, clear and to the point but that alone would not sway me. The “No” campaign chose instead to go for a message which seems to me to be summarised as “it’s a bad thing because you are all too thick to understand it”!
Insult my highly prized intelligence and you’ve lost your battle immediately!
Reason 2 – the Prime Minister supports the “No” campaign which automatically (and regardless of the incumbent’s political party) sets me up in opposition! I believe it is every citizen’s duty to oppose our rulers on any matter that was not an issue when they were elected.
It helps them to keep in mind that they are our servants NOT our masters and besides that it is fun to watch them get really cross when the British public rises up periodically and tells them to get stuffed!
Mind you, it probably wouldn’t do to protest too much – remember May 4th 1970!