Late Life Crisis - November 2019

I have given up my car. Not just sold it; given up having a car. The phrase connotes an elderly person having the keys ripped from them while pleading that they have no idea where the bumps and scratches came from, and that the car must have been moved as it was not in the place where they last parked it.

My rationale for the decision is utilitarian. In June, I took my four-year old Golf in for a service, to find that it had done less than 1,000 miles since the service the previous year. These days I rarely drive outside London, and if I need a car I can hire one. There will be inconvenient moments, notably when a Royal Mail "signed for" delivery comes where I am not at home and I have to schlep over from Crouch End to Tufnell Park to reclaim it. 

Of course I should have said that I am giving up the car as part of my contribution to saving the planet. There is a collateral benefit in that direction, and further in my part of North London it may occasionally be useful to seem "woke" in that regard, but the truth is as above. When my normal insurance renewal time comes, there will be none of the nonsense of increased risk because I have a 6 at the beginning of my age (despite my no claims bonus stretching way back into the last century), and other expenses of servicing etc will go.

There was a few days of mourning on the road outside my flat, where other local cars did not park in "my space", but that quickly ended. 

So I don't miss it, and I can manage fine with public transport plus cabs as needed - I shall not specify what type of cab, as in certain circles that would be tantamount to saying that you are voting for the Brexit Party.


Annunziata Rees-Mogg has defected from said party back to the Conservatives. It reminds me of who is and is not put up for media out of the main parties during the Election campaign, Jacob having been consigned to keep the home fires burning in North-East Somerset. For Labour Diane Abbott has not been seen, I suggest due to her car crash interviews in the past. Barry Gardiner has "pedant" stamped across his forehead, and Richard Burgin seems limited to Corbynista sound bites.

Scoring well are Rebecca Long-Bailey (John McDonnell's protege), and Andy McDonald, who despite having held the shadow brief for transport has been wheeled out to talk pugnaciously on any issue under the sun - I could make the point that each of those last two is a solicitor, but that might suggest bias.

For balance rather than bias, and just confining to the main parties, we shoud review the Conservatives. They appear to turn out people who can talk smoothly without being the slightest bit convincing - in a recent ITV debate the rising star Rishi Sunak came across as plain supercilous. And one wonders whether Michael Gove has bust his credibility, the voice now suggesting something that has slithered out from under a rock.

And as for the leaders, we have two contrasting unappealing styles. When Jeremy Corbyn opens his mouth you feel as though he has been force fed gravitas tablets with his morning organic porridge; Boris Johnson on the other hand is an unmitigated scruffbag, lurching from one hyperbolic blustering phrase to another.

Shakespeare got it right: "A plague o' both your houses" (Mercutio, Romeo and Juliet). 


And at this moment in the year, the people I feel sorry for are the delivery drivers. In many ways they are a curse to someone like me who works at home from time to time, especially in that 4pm to 6pm slot when a lot of the stuff tends to arrive. But when I open the door to a face pleading for me to take in a parcel for next door and see the look of deep gratitude when I agree, it is hard to be chiding, especially when you appreciate that their income depends on what they can deliver.

Happy festive season all!