Elections are looming and I’m not talking about the ones in the U.S., although given the stories floating out of the rumour mill that is our village, I could well be.
The current mayor who has presided over the village for the last 25 years is standing down. He has faced precious little opposition in the last two decades, so the sudden interest in his job and the fight for it is as unexpected as it is animated. It seems that the villagers are queuing up to become local councillors and mayor in a battle so fierce it makes the American candidates look like children squabbling over a sweet in the playground.
As we live a couple of miles from the village, news about the forthcoming elections is murky at best. Information filters down through a multi-tiered system of ‘apparently..’ and ‘I heard that..’ and ‘she said that…’ We have now found the solution for receiving slightly more precise campaign reports in the dubious form of my brother-in-law, who lives in the village itself. We invite him over every evening, ply him with whisky and prise the days’ events out of him.
And what stories he brings! It seems that the campaigns are hotting up and the fight for votes is on. Or not, as the case may be, given that the candidates don’t need a political leaning, an opinion about policy, or an opinion about anything for that matter. No, it doesn’t work like that here. In our village, when the time comes, you vote for who you know, who you like and who you’re related too. And probably a host of other reasons too – I’ll let you fill in the gaps.
On Election Day, in that little curtained cubicle, word is out that ink will flow like pastis on a Saturday night, as the good citizens of Le Village cross out the vast majority of names on their list. Or maybe that piece of gossip is just part of a misinformation campaign. It’s 7pm and my brother-in-law should be here soon – I’ll ask him and let you know.