In Gerrards Cross, in the rain, dusk falling, attempting to gauge the political mood of the town through the pristine fatuity of ‘vox pops’. You scour the street in desperate search of anyone who is aware an election is taking place and try to avoid the drongos. I approach one chap — besuited, late-middle-aged — and strike lucky.
He is aware that we are in the midst of a general election campaign. He explains to me: ‘I am absolutely pig sick of the lot of them. It’s an absolute disgrace! We voted to leave the EU three years ago and it still hasn’t been done. They’ve let us all down. The only thing that matters is let’s get out! Now!’
Thank you, sir. And what way will you be voting? ‘Well, I think I’ll give the Lib Dems a go this time.’
I was a bit under the weather and, as I say, it was raining, so I didn’t stop to enquire if he had recently undergone invasive surgery to remove the frontal and parietal lobes of his brain and have them replaced by a packet of cheese Doritos. Also, it’s not the done thing to query the patent idiocies spouted by members of the public during vox pops. You are meant to nod at the manifest sagacity of each reply. Nor are you supposed, as a journalist, to punch or kick members of the public, no matter how asinine they might be.
In the Northamptonshire town of Corby a few years back I accosted a little old lady. ‘What way are you going to vote on Thursday, madam?’ She thought for a moment and replied: ‘Well, I turn right out of my house and walk down Dovedale Road to the main road at the bottom, and they usually have a polling station in the school opposite.’