At our recent meeting the Chairman (not for the first time) failed to achieve a balance between those members who wish to have a serious discussion on important issues and those who like a laugh and take every opportunity to re-cycle old jokes and seem to forget that we are supposed to be Old Grumpies.
The subject of the meeting was scheduled to be a review of 2016 and our hopes for 2017, but the first contribution was a lengthy, well thought out, erudite proposition that we are all trapped in a bubble of our attitudes, preferences, prejudices and in many cases politically incorrect views and that we are comfortable, and predictable, within that bubble and as the expression goes we can’t think outside the circle. The words” politically incorrect” certainly galvanised the members. Yet again the question was asked “ Who are the Thought Police, those self appointed guardians of propriety, who seem to think that we can only have views that they approve of?” No one could come up with an answer suitable for publication. So back to the metaphorical bubble. Offering a more apt metaphor a member said, “To me it’s more like an impregnable space capsule rather than a bubble because all a bubble needs is a little prick and it’s gone.”
Trying to help the Chairman and change the subject, a member then said that he thought the highlight of 2016 was Burnley being promoted which at least brought the meeting down to a more comfortable level for some of the members. “What, more important than the Queens Birthday, Donald Trump, the Referendum, the Olympics and me being asked to sing at the Hard of Hearing Club?” questioned another member.
The mention of the word “Trump” certainly started something. “He’s come a long way since he was rejected by Scotland as their Special Attaché” “He knows when to play the Trump card” “His vocal chords don’t seem to be attached to his brain” “Was he the lesser of two evils?” were a selection of the comments made.
Reaching for one of these modern gadgets, which tell you nearly everything, a member asked if we knew what the word “trumpery” meant. We didn’t, but feared it might be vulgar and were quite relieved when we were told that it meant” something showy but useless.” “Quite” was the consensus.
Inevitably, the Referendum was going to be mentioned and the Ins and Outs of it were discussed by the For and Againsts present at the meeting. Some of the Remainers don’t like a few people, i.e. The Government, making decisions without the democratic approval of the elected members of Parliament. But wait a minute, isn’t that what happens in Europe? Our retired magistrate then asked why it was that he had to resign at 70 because, presumably, they thought he was no longer capable of making a sound judicial judgment, when half of the members of the Supreme Court were over 70. It was agreed that the result of the Referendum had divided the country and many ignorant assumptions were being hurled around.
Perhaps for next year the motto should be “ overcoming divisions” said a member, but before he could elaborate, a voice shouted “That’s what Burnley did last year” demonstrating once again the difficulty of sustaining a high level of debate, which was made even worse when our member who has keeping -awake problems, suddenly asked why we talking about bubbles and space capsules. Surprisingly he then asked a sensible question as to whether we thought our area had improved over the last year. What happened next was also unusual. No one had trodden in any dog-dirt, been flooded out, knocked down on the pavement by a cyclist, fallen down a pothole or waited twenty minutes at some traffic lights. Some of the eyesores had been fenced off and the only complaint mentioned regarding the doctors appointments system was by a member who said they had failed to remind him of his appointment for a memory test and he forgot to go. This lack of any major complaints may mean a change in our constitution.
Attempting to summarise and end the meeting the Chairman said he was looking forward to the New Year because most members would have been pulling their Crackers over Christmas and we might even hear a new joke. And it seemed to him that all members view of 2016 was that they were glad to survive it and hoped for likewise for 2017.