Friday, 15 April 2011

Fox News

I bumped into my pal Feaxede the other day. For the benefit of those who are newcomers or late arrivals to this blog, he's a fox and - unusual for my fellow creatures - he's quite a political animal himself. He's been busy since I last saw him. I should qualify that: he's always a busy chap, as there are various chicken runs kept in the Streonaeshalch settlement and within the precincts of the Abbey, and there are also various dumps where he conducts his environmental research. He also finds some good scraps of food there as well.

Feaxede is politically inclined because he takes a close interest in human affairs; he's an urban fox and a habitual town-dweller, so his perspective is that anything that affects the local human population will inevitably have an effect on him too. He recognises the symbiotic relationship between his kind and the human race. He's also a paterfamilias (four cubs), so there's an additional motive for his interest. He and I often exchange observations about the ever-changing affairs of human corruption and stupidity in governance and politics; in many ways, he and I are kindred spirits.

So it came as something of a bolt out of the blue when he announced to me the other day that he was considering standing as a candidate in the forthcoming local elections. Apart from the fact that it's highly unusual for a four-footed creature to take a up a leadership role in the human world, I was also concerned with the legality of what he was intending to do. He told me that the good people of Hartlepool (just a few miles further up the coast, on the other side of the mighty River Tees) had actually elected a monkey to the office of Alderman - so it would pose little or no difficulty. Hmmm...

When I picked myself up from the floor and managed to absorb this earth-shattering piece of news, I asked him what he had to offer the humans in his particular ward; he told me that he was going to sell his undying energy and enthusiasm for politics. I can certainly give him credit for that. I get so world-weary of the twisted mechanics of human politics at times, and he's frequently rekindled my flagging zeal by enthusing about things he's discovered or overheard.

He also has a lot of intelligence as well - he's a bright as a button, and nobody can pull the wool over his eyes. He's no fool. But one disadvantage is that he doesn't know how to read or write, and I told him as much. He would need to read lots of briefing documents, reports and agendas. How would he manage to do that? He looked a little bashful - and then asked me rather coyly if I'd be willing to give him assistance? I reluctantly agreed, but it's my suspicion that there will be more reading and writing than he bargains for. And I'm not sure about his image, either - but I didn't like to say anything about that for fear of upsetting him...

When I asked him which faction he was going to represent as a candidate, he told me that he was going to stand as a Redistributionist Faction representative. This also amazed me, but when he explained that the Trees were in favour of reinstating the currently illegal practice of fox hunting, I could immediately understand. But I don't think - for all his zeal - that he's temperamentally committed to the foaming-mouthed, fly agaric-chewing ideology of the Redistributionists. He's too much of a maverick and a free spirit to tie himself down to the mantras of those chancers, losers and wasters. But he's charming and sly - which is a necessary prerequisite for those aspiring to political office. And I suspect he's not only thinking of the public service. He's thinking of the extensive, expansive and expensive chicken buffets. I know him too well.

Will he get elected? I must say, I'm not holding my breath...

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