The GardenDespatches from The Satyrs’ Forest

Posts tagged as “politics”

Some election maps

I’ve been terribly bored recently, and have been occupying myself by trying out a way i came up with of mapping out elections — a compromise of sorts between geographic maps (which don’t always show the whole picture) and cartograms (which tend to be butt-ugly).

I chose to map out 2019’s results in the North East to get a feel of things:

A map showing the most recent general election as it was in North East England, with Labour winning a majority of seats

New Zealand is relatively small, so i figured it would be the best choice for the first full country:

And, finally, the most recent council election in good old Northumberland1:

A map showing the results of an election in Northumberland, with the Conservatives winning

Leaked: 10 Downing Street’s playlist

One of the more surprising results of the recent investigation into Big Boris’s lockdown conduct was the unearthing of a playlist used to motivate employees during their completely ordinary work events. Highlights include:

  • Miley Cyrus - Regular Work Event in the U.S.A.,
  • Vengaboys - We Like to Engage in Normal Work Proceedings,
  • Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Want to Become Civil Servants,
  • Arctic Monkeys - I Bet You Look Productive in the Office,
  • Avicii - Waiting For The Results Of The Independent Investigation And Report Conducted By Sue Gray,
  • Walk the Moon - Dance then Shut Up, and, of course,
  • Shaggy - It Wasn’t Me

This list of songs, no doubt, absolves the government of any kind of wrongdoing.

Bog trotters, heart attacks, and a paranoid Auntie

Via Hansard, the official record of British parliamentary business, then–Labour MP Joe Ashton informs us of the sort of nonsense that went on when the government had a majority of minus seventeen:

We used to have a bog trotter. When the Division bell rang, we had a top and bottom bog trotter whose job it was to run around all the toilets to see if anyone was locked in. We had to look under the door for feet and, if seen, we looked over the top. If that person was one of theirs we left him, if it was one of ours, we got him out — if necessary with a screwdriver to unlock the door from the outside. That was the sort of nonsense that occurred when the House divided.

I remember the famous case of Leslie Spriggs, the then Member for St. Helens. We had a tied vote and he was brought to the House in an ambulance having suffered a severe heart attack. The two Whips went out to look in the ambulance and there was Leslie Spriggs laid there as though he was dead. I believe that John Stradling Thomas said to Joe Harper, “How do we know that he is alive?” So he leaned forward, turned the knob on the heart machine, the green light went around, and he said, “There, you've lost — it's 311.” That is an absolutely true story. It is the sort of nonsense that used to happen. No one believes it, but it is true.


When Parliament was first broadcast, for the first three days the BBC broadcast everything that came through the loudspeakers. It was libellous, it was unbelievably crude, but it was hilarious. The BBC panicked and said, “Somebody will sue us for libel. If it is in Hansard it is okay, but if it is not in Hansard we will be done for libel.” So the BBC stopped broadcasting everything; now, it jams the broadcast so all people hear is, “Hear, hear, hear.” It is terrified of being sued for libel.

This stems from a 1997 debate on the modernisation of parliamentary procedure. More anecdotes from the same speech can be found on the other side of the link.