It's been a bumper day for local election leaflets at the Kelly residence, with both Labour and the SNP making their pitch. Labour haven't quite managed to scale the dizzying heights of last year's "Frank and Bernadine McKenna" epic, but there were one or two small points that managed to confuse me all the same. For example, the headline on the back cover reads "Being Labour means giving everyone a voice", but the text that follows fails to explain that rather cryptic claim, or indeed to have any discernible relevance to it at all. So I can only conclude that Labour's inspiring voice-enabling exercise essentially constitutes a feedback form further down the page, which gives the following tick-box options -
"Yes, I'll be voting Labour. Count me in!"
"Yes I'd like a poster."
"I'd like to help in Stevie's campaign!"
"Yes, keep me up to date. Sign me up as a supporter of Labour."
Now, in the interests of full disclosure, I should note that there was also a fifth option of asking to speak to the Labour candidate. Nevertheless, there does seem to be an expectation here that constant repetition of the words "Labour are fab!" will account for at least 80% of the use people make of the voice that Labour have generously given them.
Elsewhere in the leaflet, a young lady called "Gillian" earnestly informs us that -
"Stevie has been a great servant to this area and faced with SNP and Tory Led cuts I believe Labour's commitment and excellent record is the positive way forward."
Which begs a number of questions - a) does anyone in the known universe, with the possible exception of Anas Sarwar, actually speak like that?, b) how can a "record", however excellent, be the "way forward"?, and c) why is there a capital 'L' in 'led'? Is the subliminal suggestion supposed to be that the SNP and Tories are a married couple, and that Led is their surname?
Other blurbs in the leaflet were making me feel distinctly nostalgic, but I was struggling to put my finger on the reason why...
"Labour has achieved a lot in Cumbernauld...
There is much more to do..."
"During difficult times, Labour in North Lanarkshire has delivered...yet we know there are continuing challenges...
We have achieved a lot, but there is more to do."
And then it suddenly came to me in a blinding flash - North Lanarkshire Labour seem to think they're fighting the 2001 general election. Well, as I firmly intend to give Stevie and Labour my vote on Thursday (sixth preference out of six), I'm now looking forward to at last finding out what it would have been like to have the starring role in that excruciating Labour PEB eleven years ago. I expect nothing less than hordes of suspiciously attractive and wholesome-looking teachers, firefighters and nurses to applaud me out of the polling station, ecstatically chanting the Blessed Mantra - "a lot done, James...but a lot still to do!"
All the same, Labour had only been in power for four years in 2001. They've continuously been in power at local level in Cumbernauld since 1980, so if they think they've still got "a lot left to do" here, heaven only knows how many more decades it's going to take them to actually get round to doing it.