Vote for me!

I have decided that it is time for the Fish to run for high, public office.

Why this sudden interest in running for elected office?  Do I have any policies?  Can I solve the problems which afflict this country?  Probably not – but then again, neither can the current incumbents, so this would not appear to be any bar to government.  And who needs policies in the 21st century?  So far as I can see, the following structure should work:

  • roughly one-third of my policies should appeal to the very rich (be they individuals or corporations) such that they will fund my political ambitions
  • another third should be selected by focus group to appeal to the people who will actually vote for me
  • and the final third should appeal to the meanest elements of the gutter press (their owners and editors) to make sure the first two groups recognise just how good for them I will be.

But none of this is either new or the driver for my current political ambitions.

Has the current, sustained self-immolation of the Liberal Democrats tempted me to provide a new third force in British politics?  Not really, and again not really news.

No, to explain why now is the time for me to take control of the nation, we will need to take a brief digression (warning: may not be brief).

As we know, I am taking singing lessons and, as I may have mentioned, my voice lies very much at the bass end of the sonic spectrum.  It is more than 30 years since I gave up my dreams of playing the romantic lead in opera: I have long realised that my best operatic hopes lie in playing the villain (mwu-ha-ha-ha).  Actually, this might not be the only option…

Last Friday, I finally managed to see a live performance of J S Bach’s St Matthew Passion (better known as the St Harris at Fish Towers) performed by the Cambridge University Chamber Choir and Bach Ensemble.  Hearing the St Matthew had been an ambition for nearly two decades, after having heard the St John a couple of times, but somehow it was never quite achieved.  I can honestly say that it was worth both the wait and making my way past two separate protests (one against Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the other against Israel) to get to St Giles Church.  What an incredible piece of music!  I also discovered that the role of Christ is covered by a bass – and I believe he is generally considered to be the lead (though not, perhaps, all that romantic) in the novels in which he appears, if not necessarily in the Bach (he is rather upstaged by the Evangelist).

Welcome back after the digression!  Research from the University of Miami (or “University if Miami” as the BBC News website describes it: I think they have been borrowing my proof reader) has indicated that people are more likely to vote for the candidate with the lower voice.  This reinforces earlier research carried out last autumn in Canada.  So, even in a normal week I would have a clear advantage on the hustings – but this has been no normal week.  I have been suffering from my annual cold – and as is traditional, this has migrated to my chest (which, I suppose, is south-ish – at least when I am even somewhat vertical).  As a result, my voice is even deeper than usual – and so it is either politics or the Lee Marvin role in the forthcoming remake of Paint Your Wagon.  My thinking is that nobody wants to hear my take on “Wand’rin’ Star” (though I suppose I am a learner and my voice is low) so prepare for a fresh (if deep) voice to transform the UK’s political landscape forever.

Vote for Fish!  Or you’ll have had your chips…

Ethics

Not just a county to the east of London (even for an Igor or one with a related thpeech eccthentrithity).  Though, it is worth noting that Essex currently seems rather popular with television programme makers – though I suspect this may have more to do with its proximity to London, and the media hotbed of Hoxton, than anything intrinsically fascinating about the county itself.

But no, I must tear myself away from East Anglia and instead turn the searching gaze of GofaDM to the subject of morality.  I like to imagine that I lead a somewhat ethical life -though, as this blog has established, I could represent my country at self-delusion.  However, this week my ethics were put to the official test.

My employers started out as quite a small company, but having been taken over three times are now part of a huge corporate behemoth (though, so far as I know, it is neither attracted to bright lights nor have I caught it nibbling on my clothing).  With each take-over and resultant increase in size, the degree of bureaucracy has grown exponentially – as is inevitable.  We humans aren’t good in groups of much more than 150 or so, though that doesn’t seem to stop us trying to form much larger groups and then wondering why it’s all gone wrong.

The latest wizard wheeze from Head Office was an on-line ethics test.  I’d been avoiding this for months as I felt I had better things to do – well there was still grass capable of growth and paint with the potential for drying – but the email-based bullying had become daily and started including the word “Final” and an increasing number of asterisks in the subject line, so I felt I better succumb.  Prior to taking the test itself, I had to endure the “training” component of the exercise.  This had clearly been prepared by our friends across the Herring Pond, and seemed to be aimed at the under 5s.  By luck, I turned off the narrator – so only had to read the blindingly obvious statements prepared for my elucidation (rather than having them read out to me).  To maintain our fleeting attention, the training included “amusing” little scenarios where two characters played out a variety of ethical “dilemmas”.  In each of these, a sociopath chats to a colleague and lays bare the moral vacuum that forms their soul.  We are then instructed as to what we, as good little drones, should have done instead – though, in at least once case, this did involve violating causality, which years of reading and watching science-fiction has taught me seldom ends well.

After making my way through this instruction (as rapidly as possible) came the “test”.  It wasn’t quite Only Connect.  It comprised only four multiple choice questions (and budgets must have been tight, as rather than the five traditional answers this test only ran to four).  Without the benefit of the “training”, I would hope that almost everyone aged 5 or over should have found the test entirely trivial – though I suppose this might be my woolly liberalism showing through.  I presume anyone who fails is marked out for a career in politics or time at her majesty’s pleasure (or, based on recent events, quite possibly both!).

Still, I shouldn’t complain too much.  I am paid handsomely for carrying out such foolish, but trivial, little exercises – and I do now know that, in a very limited sphere at least, my moral compass is pointing north.  I guess I should also be grateful that our major corporations are embracing ethics (and I’ve worked for one that certainly wasn’t doing so at the top) – though one feels the world of business (and indeed, the one beyond) still has quite a long way to go (given the continuing nature of the news).

So, perhaps I should finish with a suitable peroration:  The only way is ethics!