Friday, 13 July 2012

That Friday feeling

So there I was, lounging around in bed at 7 a.m. like a lazy beached whale, when I realised that today is FRIDAY. And FRIDAY this week means MEET PAUL UPPAL MP! In the flesh!  Seriously, the great man actually in his constituency and ready to meet REAL constituents who aren't the ones who express themselves in parliamentary terminology and aren't at all the figments of Pompous Paul's imagination!

And then I remembered. He's cancelled on us. We were meant to present him with the 38 Degrees petition against the government's proposed new surveillance legislation. He agreed to allow two people (very generous) for ten minutes, as long as no photography was allowed.

Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking
'But Vole, the new legislation allows the government to harvest every phone call, tweet, email, letter and pigeon post people in Britain send. So why, in the name of all that's holy, would an MP not want his photograph taken? That's really weird. It's like he doesn't like being a public figure. It's a bit hypocritical isn't it? Why would an MP vote to make sure everybody in the country is spied on all the time, but be so shy? Isn't that just a teensy bit eccentric? To say the least? And anyway, didn't the Lib Dems and Tories make an awful lot of election promises about ending the Labour Party's authoritarian, unconstitutional, repressive surveillance state? Because this sounds very like an actual, y'know, extension of their Orwellian habits.'

And I have to say, I'm with you. I met him once before, at a public meeting. I took a photograph. He sent his teenage goons over to demand to know who I was and what I was doing. Then he came over and rather rudely repeated his questions. Was I press? What was I going to do with the photograph? Why was I taking notes? Did I have any ID? In the end I had to point out that most MPs want to be shown hard at work in the constituency. I know, for a man who wants the state to spy on all of us, all of the time, he's got a finely developed sense of irony.

Sadly, there'll be no repeat today. Paul's cancelled because a close relative has died. Still, we're going to have a short meeting in the rain outside the bereaved parliamentarian's office. I'm as sad as you are that I'm denied the chance to meet the city's most upstanding and hardworking public representatives, but there'll be other chances.

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