It's Election Day here in Britain. And quite the fascinating election it has proved to be. The nation's first televised debates. The Lib Dems mount a spirited (and serious!) third-party challenge to Labour and the Tories for the first time in decades. Their leader, Nick Clegg, says that his favorite author is Samuel Beckett, winning from me affection and a vague sense of unease. (How could you not respect the intellectual complexity of that choice? How could you not be troubled by the idea of a leader who is inspired by these lines from Worstward Ho!: "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better"? Or maybe that statement is the essence of realistic liberalism. I say this as a progressive, you understand.)
Watching the election coverage the other night, D and I are struck by a candidate running under the aegis of the "Official Monster Raving Loony Party." It had to be investigated. And indeed, investigation only deepens the party's allure.
Then, yesterday, overheard in the Reform Club:
"Might go into the wee hours tomorrow."
"I'm voting Monster Raving Loony, you know."
"Ha ha! Well, that's quite a surprise!"
"Well, its just another way of saying 'none of the above.' Besides, our candidate is rather sensible. He was a prison governor; now he coaches the British Rifle team."
"Ah well, that's all right then."