THE Tawny Owl pub is to be used as a Priory Vale polling station in the forthcoming European and local elections.

I daresay things have been arranged so voters can’t stroll in with a pint, but I don’t know whether or not that’s a good thing.

Perhaps every pub should be a polling station – or perhaps every polling station should have a set of pumps and a rack of optics throughout polling day.

What with most of us being more impulsive and reckless when we’ve had a few, there’d be less hemming and hawing among the undecided when it came to placing their cross, so the queues would be shorter.

Of course, we might place our cross next to the wrong candidate because the little boxes seem to be multiplying before our eyes.

We might also mistake the polling both for some other confined space where we’re accustomed to making our mark, but at least things would be a bit livelier.

None of that will ever happen, though.

On second thoughts, voting is not a matter to be taken lightly, and you only have to look at some of the other things we do when we’re on the outside of a cargo to realise democracy isn’t comparable with drunkenness.

I don’t know what the polling equivalents of drunk-texting a former partner, getting an unexpected tattoo or showing one’s bottom to a police officer might be, but consider this: every result of every election in recent history has largely been the work of sober voters, so quite who drunk ones might plump for is beyond imagining.

Satan, perhaps: “Yeah, I know he’sh the Prince of Darkness, an’ he promishes eternal damnation, but he’sh a good bloke – he gave me a mark on me forehead and said I could use it to get 50 per cent off me nexsht bottle of shider...”

No, let’s keep drunkenness out of polling stations. Let’s get drunk in the run-up to the elections instead, when the candidates prowl the streets.

Then, rather than making excuses not to talk to them when we answer the door, or being openly sceptical or hostile, we’ll make them feel better about themselves by wanting to be their best mate.

Every conversational gambit from the man or woman wearing the rosette will be a winner.

Some of them say, for example: “I’m the best person for elected office in this constituency because I’ve had a home here all my life.“ Normally we’d be tempted to point out that that the home in question is as empty and bat-infested as the one at the beginning of Scooby Doo, on account of the candidate spending 363 days of the year at their other home in a far-off warm country.

If we’re drunk, though, we’ll respond by bursting into sentimental tears and giving them a kiss as we think about their poor old mum who worked her fingers to the bone at an international merchant bank.

Or perhaps the candidate will say: “My opponents do not have what it takes to represent this constituency.”

Rather than sneering something about them being all the same, we’ll respond by bursting into tears again and offering to track down the opponents and batter them.

As an added bonus, the hangover the next morning will be great practice for how plenty of us feel the day after an election.


It's the way they tell 'em

AM I imagining this, or were we bombarded a couple of weeks back with all manner of happy clappy stories about crime?

Crime rates are plunging, I seem to remember our being assured; we’ve never in our lives been safer; burglars, muggers and vandals are running like cockroaches when the kitchen light in a mucky restaurant is suddenly switched on.

In fact, I got the impression that if I put on a giant gold chain, a £2,000 suit and a pair of crocodile shoes, and then strolled through the most dangerous neighbourhood in town at three in the morning while ostentatiously playing with the latest mobile phone, nothing bad would happen to me.

Now, however, it seems fully a fifth of very real crimes, including some of the most horrific offences imaginable, aren’t even officially acknowledged.
I think this is a great way of improving statistics, and I’ve decided to use the same tactics in my own day-to-day life.

Rather than do the washing up, for example, I’ll just take it all to the tip and call a press conference to proclaim a 100 per cent dirty dish clear-up rate.
Doctors could simply bump off all patients with severe medical conditions and inform the world at large that they’ve completely eliminated those conditions.

Obviously, anybody trying such a tactic had better hope the truth never comes to light, because then they’ll be accused of doing more fiddling than the string section of the London Philharmonic, and nobody will believe a thing they say ever again.


A revolution on the buses

I SEE bus users in Blunsdon have won their tooth and nail fight to get a bus service back after it was cancelled.

Well done to them, and well done to the bus company for finding a way to make it happen.

Perhaps new ways should be sought to make public transport more economical, thereby preventing services from coming under threat.

We’ve already tried assorted new types of engine, special fuel injection systems and the like, but clearly something more is needed in these economically-challenged times.

I suggest first rounding up everybody from among the great and the good, whatever their station in life or ideological orientation, who has ever proclaimed that public transport is wonderful, and that anybody failing to choose a bus or a train over their car is a monster.

Then we should make each one of them board a bus and speak down a tube leading to the fuel injection system.

I’ve no idea whether an internal combustion engine will run on hot air, but I look forward to finding out .