from Jim Henderson’s A SUFFOLK DIARY

Friday, May 3rd

So anyhoo, the votes to select the new Parish Council have been cast and all we have to do now is wait and see. I am quietly confident of being re-elected, but I have decided that if the new Council turns out to be primarily or overwhelmingly anti-GASSE  – GASSE (“Go Away! Stay Somewhere Else!”) being the Council’s committee formed to stop our village hall being taken over by the government to house their unfortunate and unwanted and uninvited foreigners – and if I find myself in a hopeless minority, I am going to stand down. I cannot face endless arguments about whether or not the village should be welcoming, or even only potentially welcoming, the government’s illegals. On top of that, the prospect of sitting on the same council as my wife, if she gets elected, and disagreeing with her about all of this, now she has decided to side with the anti-GASSE brigade, is a pretty unattractive prospect, to be honest. So unless it looks like the future is going to be a peaceful and plain sailing I want no part of it. But we have to wait for the election results. And in the meantime I am going to watch some snooker on the television while my wife is at “Oh Yeah! Yoga!”, the yoga class she runs.

Saturday, May 4th

So the votes have now been counted and the results are in – and I am out! Has the world gone mad? The villagers in their wisdom have decided that in spite of my selfless service as a Councillor and a dedicated Advanced Round-the-clock Security Executive (ARSE) for GASSE – “Go Away! Stay Somewhere Else!”, the organisation formed to stop the government dumping their unwanted foreigners in our village hall – it seems they would prefer some new faces on the Council, which is now overwhelmingly anti-GASSE, with five members who are all for welcoming the unwanteds to sleep in the hall should the government so wish it, which is fine by me, if that is the consensus of local opinion.

The only two members on the Council who are pro-GASSE are Michael Whittingham and Bernie Shepherdson. Bernie’s wife, Bernadette, is now on the Council with her husband, and she’s anti-GASSE, so goodness knows what life will be like in their house from now on. And there is also my wife, and Miss Chloe Young, and Nancy Crowe and her daughter Naomi, who organised the Young People’s CASHEW group (“Come and Sleep Here – Everyone’s Welcome”) in opposition to GASSE. Anyhoo, it’s 5-2 to the pro-unwanteds. And my wife tells me that no matter who gets to be Chairman or Parish Clerk or what-have-you they have already determined amongst themselves that GASSE is to be dissolved forthwith.

I do not know if it really matters. There is bound to be a General Election before the end of the year, and who knows what a new Labour government – which is a 99% sure thing – who knows what they will be doing with the unwanteds? I expect they do not know themselves. The only thing that seems reasonably certain is that over the course of the summer there will be several hundred of these poor people coming in on little boats to the south coast every day, and even if the government is putting some of them on a plane to Africa there will still be plenty looking for somewhere to sleep. Whether or not that includes our village hall remains to be seen. I wash my hands of it.

And since I will have plenty of free time from now on I have decided to spend the summer on the allotment, by which I mean the vegetable patch in our garden, and that will keep me pretty busy. Also I think I might try to learn a foreign language. I do not know what the majority language of the foreigners who come across the channel in those little boats is. Is it something East European? Middle Eastern? Arabic? It might be useful to know a few words of their lingo if any of the unwanteds do end up coming here. I know a little bit of Klingon but I doubt that would be of much use. Perhaps I could telephone and ask someone in the Home Office to find out. They might know. On the other hand, they might not.

Anyhoo, I am locking my Diary in the desk drawer for now, and I do not know when I will get it out again. I am not at all interested in recording my wife’s adventures on the Parish Council, even if she can be bothered to tell me about them. I suppose I could write down the details of what at the moment is our pretty grim marital relationship, but that will just depress me, and I intend instead to go outside and talk to the vegetables. They do not answer back.



James Henderson






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