To those who have noticed a relative paucity of posts from yours truly on the Blog today – my apologies. Some will be pleased to know that I am not in jail again.
Despite all attempts to avoid being ensnared in the election process, I have been co-opted by a candidate in a rural constituency, to assist in electioneering. I am thus fully engaged over the next few days – and then almost completely in the coming weeks – on the nuts and bolts of democracy, the tiring and stressful process of actually trying to win an election for a particular individual.
Arguably, this is what elections should be about – individuals. In an ideal world, voters would chose individuals on their merits, not for their party badges, and the best man – or woman – would win. In an idealistic way, in the area in which I am campaigning, I am fighting for what I believe to be that "best man".
What is interesting about the process is that, immersed in what some might call the "real world", or real people and real lives, how remote are the concerns and preoccupations of the "Westminster village" and how totally unreal seem the bleatings of the BBC and the prognostications of the printed media. They seem to belong to a totally different world.
And, if Westminster seems a million miles away, Brussels does not even feature on the horizon. People know about it, in the sense that they know that it exists, but any real knowledge of its machinations is entirely absent – although even here, there is some concern that a French "no" will allow Blair to opt out of a referendum.
Nevertheless, for this blogger, a brief sojourn in that "real world" will probably do me good – and the exercise certainly will. Perforce, though, it means that for a short period, posts will be relatively erratic. My colleague, Helen, will pick up some of the load, and for that I thank her. I hope, between us, we can continue to keep you informed and entertained.
In the meantime, please bear with us and the short period of "blogging-lite".