Newspaper columnists respond to the eclipse

_81787003_proba-2_view_of_europe_s_solar_eclipsePolly Toynbee:

In the summer of 1999, there were clear blue skies and a warm August day for the eclipse, which Tony Blair had ensured was happening at the family friendly time of 11am. In 2015, the eclipse was hidden behind thick clouds, only visible to rich bankers circling London in their private jets, buried away at 9.30 in the morning, when millions of workers would be slaving away for their bosses, unable to see it, even if David Cameron hadn’t arranged for there to be cloudy skies. There couldn’t be a more damning indictment of Coalition Britain.

Dan Hodges:

…and as the Moon slowly covered the Sun, pitching the entire country into darkness, what did Ed Miliband say? Nothing. The whole country was being denied the warmth and light of the Sun but he couldn’t bring himself to even issue a press-release castigating the Moon for its role in making this happen. Labour used to be a party of light, now they stand for nothing more than darkness.

Richard Littlejohn:

I’ll tell you what eclipse we should be having – eclipse round the ear from a neighbourhood bobby. That’d sort out the problems of the country. (Note to subs: please pad this out as if I was there, because there wasn’t an eclipse here in Florida)

Peter Hitchens:

For hundreds of years, the people of these islands knew just how to deal with eclipses. A young (and obviously virginal in those days before sex education corrupted our youth) member of the village would be sacrificed, the Moon would be appeased and the Sun would be returned to us with none of the ridiculous fuss we see nowadays. But now we must all stand around and watch this eclipse, and if you try to set up just a small sacrifice of innocent children (assuming you can find any in this Godforsaken country) then the PC Police will descend on you and throw you in prison. Meanwhile, the real criminals – those who would see what remains of our degraded civilization be eaten by angry and unappeased sky gods – go unpunished. That’s Britain today for you.

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Bad ideas for party election broadcasts, number 1 in a hopefully very infrequent series: Borrowing the concept of Dr. Pepper adverts, we go for ‘vote Liberal Democrat – what’s the worst that could happen?’

I guess we need to wait till the final week for the Daily Mail to do their ‘welcome to Nick Clegg’s Britain’ fantasy to find the answer, but I expect it to be one of the so-bad-it’s-good classics. I’m predicting starring roles for Lembit Opik and Evan Harris as Chancellor and Secretary of State for Destroying Everything Britain Stands For, while Buckingham Palace probably gets closed down and moved to a field outside Brussels to serve as Herman von Rompuy’s holiday home.

So, the first votes of the election have been cast and are now sitting in post boxes, delivery vans and sorting offices waiting to be delivered. I still vote in person, mainly because I live very close to my polling station and thus always seem to be the person who gets volunteered to do the first hour or two of telling there, which means I can normally be the first person to vote there too. There’s something about the experience of going into a polling station and putting my cross on a piece of paper or two that makes me think ‘is that it? Next time I vote, I want to be using a decent electoral system.’

Still, at least I won’t be trying to place a cross on the ballot paper while holding my nose, unlike Polly Toynbee, who’s doing her bit for the environment by recycling ideas from 2005. I have the feeling that if the Government depicted in Torchwood: Children of Earth was a Labour one, Polly Toynbee would still be arguing that they needed to be supported. Yes, they may have wanted to hand over 10% of the country’s children to the 456, but that at least helped to create more vacancies at Sure Start centres. Anyway, James Graham said everything I wanted to say on this without introducing drug-addicted aliens into the argument.

Meanwhile, today’s ‘Really? Wow! Thank God you mentioned that, we’d never have thought of it ourselves’ award goes to Sunny Hundal for this piece of advice to the Liberal Democrats:

Identifying Lib Dem pockets of voters and organising activists to start knocking on doors on polling day to get them out would be another strategy Cowley Street is or should be thinking about.

Yes, fellow Lib Dems, we’re going to have to stop spending our election days sitting on the sofa drinking beer and catching up with all the exciting developments we’ve missed on Doctors during the campaign. Apparently – and I know this will be news to all of you out there – if we had some way of finding out which voters were likely to support us, we could then spend polling day making sure we get them to go out and vote. I’ll be sure to mention this brand new idea to the campaign team at the nest meeting.

For today’s campaigning, we got to pretend to be postmen in a sorting office, taking the large numbers of letters that have been addressed and stuffed over the past few weeks and arranging them ready for delivery. Another of those dull jobs that doesn’t get reported on as part of campaigning, but helps get a lot of people voting.

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