The government has rightly been criticised for the lacklustre nature of their campaign to promote the need for their ‘flagship’ policy of Police Crime Commissioners.
Likewise the media has been criticised – including by me – for making apathy and ignorance the story all the way through the campaign, rather than seeing their role as being one of educating the public about the nature of the choices in front of them. Instead of taking on apathy and ignorance they have done their best to fuel them.
Meanwhile whenever a Saturday night reality TV show requires the public to ‘vote’, large parts of the media report this as though it really matters, and large sections of the public treat it like it does.
And so we hear people saying how funny it is that more people vote in Big Brother, X Factor and the like than bother to turn out in the general election.
It is not easy either for politicians or the media to criticise the public, as they are the lifeblood for both. But as someone who is neither politician nor journalist, but is in both politics and the media, I feel no such hesitation.
Change only comes if people make it come, and for all the faults of the political process, a lot of the progress made in the world is down to politics. If people do not like the world they live in, or the politicians who try to run their affairs, it is simply nonsense to say there is nothing they can do about it. Likewise, whenever I hear anyone say either that ‘nothing ever changes’ – an absurd statement in a world utterly defined by the pace of change – or that politicians ‘are all the same’, when you merely have to look at them and listen to them to see what garbage that is – I want to scream.
Yesterday I visited Lomeshawe Junior School in Nelson, Lancashire. I met the Pupil Management Team, children aged 7 to 11 who acted as representatives of their classes in discussions with teachers about the curriculum. I tried to explain to them that what they were doing was the basis of politics, the belief that dispute and argument is best settled by debate not fighting.
But when it comes to political education in schools, there remains the fear that it can be tantamount to propaganda. Yet we think nothing of promoting actively the benefits of sport, learning maths, English, history and science. We should take the same approach to politics, and teach from an early age it’s centrality to people’s lives and its role in the advance of humanity.
Better education about politics might also have the effect of getting a broader gene pool entering the political debate in adulthood. Throw in lowering the voting age to 16, compulsory voting for all national and local elections, a return to media reporting which focuses on policy not personality, and does a better job separating news and comment, and politicians who do a better job promoting their own trade, and we might have a chance challenging apathy in time for the next generation. Without it, we are taking a big step backwards.
I agree with much of what you are saying, but I would focus it slightly differently. I think the real problem is that we do not actively teach critical thinking; children are faced with a variety of views, opinions, faiths and agendas and they would be best served if they were able to engage in critical analysis and reason in order to develop a narrative that uses the available information. This would enable them to encounter politics, economics, religion and a host of other subjects in a way that enhances their ability to differentiate, to find a perspective that is congruent and that empowers them to have their own view rather than parrot a ‘taught’ version. I think that psychologically people look for areas of influence and control in their lives and so too many people see X Factor as the only arena in which they can exercise choice in a way that impacts others. This is the symptom of a disenfranchised, disempowered nation. I’m with you on the issues around the media – far too many people can’t distinguish between fact, opinion, prediction, knowledge and belief; the media (globally) feeds this lack of clarity by blurring the lines between each. In your previous role you have been a master of this – the challenge we really need to offer our children is “How can I unspin this to discover the relevant elements and synthesise something that is real?”
As a side issue – for the PCC elections – I saw no official publicity, received no voting card, saw or heard nothing locally about them. Yes I am culpable for not seeking more information, because I am sufficiently socially aware to know they were happening, but I have never heard of an election in the UK in which the electorate were not given voting cards and in which (despite a reported £multi-million government spend) the whole event seemed shrouded in secrecy. It wasn’t so much apathy as lack of information.
Could not agree with you more. Teaching politics in school would remove a lot of the apathy and ignorance of the political process.
Lots of truth in this and dear to my heart but don’t think you can assume it was all apathy – some of low turnout was attributable to spitting anger at being coralled into voting for an unsought after change. It all seemed very hollow indeed.
The fact that so little information was distributed etc brings into doubt the sincerity and commitment behind the election, that it was all about an imposed process and being seen to do something, or doing because you said you would, rather than concern for the outcome and inclusivity.
The comparisons with TV voting are salutary – but look at the effort that goes into ensuring X factor voters understand, are informed about what they need to know. And the voting process itself is made as accessible and easy as possible, explained and re-explained, and maximises the potential value of technology.
Low electoral turnouts are not necessarily a sign of political ignorance on behalf of the public and high electoral turnouts are not necessarily a sign of a politically aware public either.
I will explain this. I grew up in Northern Ireland where there were high electoral turnouts compared with the rest of the UK. In Northern Ireland there are “Unionist” parties and “Nationalist” parties, “Unionist” and “Nationalist” are used instead of the more accurate description which would be Protestant parties and Catholic parties.
In Nothern Ireland people know if they are a protestant or a catholic, and they know that they have to vote to keep the other side out.
The high electoral turnouts have nothing to do with people being politically aware.
Historically this is true in England as well. For most of the twentieth century Labour was very closely associated with the working classes and so this class would turnout in huge numbers to vote. These people knew they were working class and so they knew to vote Labour.
Of course the upper classes and the middle classes would vote Conservative as this was the party of their class.
So, the higher electoral turnouts earlier in the twentieth century had nothing to do with a greater political awareness. Rather, it was that people just knew which class they were in and voted accordingly.
Things have changed now. The old industrialised Labour workforce is not as defined any more and the Labour party now looks to a combination of the middle classes and the working classes. The two main parties now compete for votes from largely the same economic groups. Things are not obvious to the public as they used to be.
Given this change I think a lower electoral turnout is inevitable. It is obviously good if people become more educated about politics, but the lower turnouts today are not necessarily an indicator of an increasing public ignorance.
This is a concept which by-and-large was not requested by the electorate. Yes, it may have been in the manifestos but in 2010 it was hardly a headline-grabbing issue when the election took place. Moreover, among those who do understand the concept, there is a reluctance to politicise the police along party lines.
The other problem is the London-centric media. For about 90% of the country the London Mayor election has no meaning, yet it gets rammed down people’s throats on the main news programmes and in the national newspapers. These organisations could not be bothered to get their acts into gear for these elections because they were provincial.
Your last paragraph is spot on — but it requires an investment, i.e. money, something which this government is reluctant to spend.
Well, I’ve read your comment. I’m not sure “the Public” would see it that way. “The Public” consists of a mass of individuals large numbers of whom do not feel able to influence Government policy. Successive governments have simply ignored the Public. When you were in power, the million or so people who marched against Tony Blair’s government’s decision to go to war were simply ignored. The present government is also going ahead and simply doing whatever they want.
When the idea of lower the voting age to 16 came up in conversation this week in my house, my 16 year old daughter declared that 16 year-old simply do not know enough nor are mature enough to vote. That was her opinion. I don’t know where she got it from. Certainly not from her parents.
There has been huge outcry about the behaviour of the Banks in recent years. What response has the government actually made? Why did previous governments simply allow credit to be freely extended to everyone? Why were the old rules on how much you could borrow for a mortgage allowed to be broken, thus increasing the amount people could borrow to buy house leading to huge increases in house-prices? None of us got a better house for it, just a bigger and therefore more expensive mortgage.
One gets the impression more and more that politicians really are remote from the rest of us, concerned on the whole for their own political careers.
How can “The Public” change this? We can only vote for candidates who can afford to stand and make their presence known.
You write, “If people do not like the world they live in, or the politicians who try to run their affairs, it is simply nonsense to say there is nothing they can do about it.”
Well, perhaps you can tell us what we can do about it. I frequently write to my MP. Many of his answers simply regurgitate the government’s line on whatever matter I write to him about. Always, answers give the impression of trying to avoid the question or to confuse the reader.
Perhaps what happens in government is in fact too complex for the rest of us to understand, or perhaps Ministers and MPs have learned deliberately to avoid giving straight answers to questions.
I expect my gut reaction to your article will too be ignored.
Like many others I registered my fundamental opposition to the concept of PCCs by spoiling my ballot paper. Many more did so by not turning up at all. So it wasn’t all down to apathy.
Don’t agree at all. I sent this yesterday to No.10 & the Electoral Commision. I suspect nobody voting may have been a desired outcome as people already ‘chosen’ locally.
“I wish to complain of my extreme dissatisfaction at the debacle of the Police Commission elections. A few months ago my husband and I received polling cards. We had no idea what they were for. Since this time we have seen a number of TV adverts saying there would be local elections and a leaflet would come to every household about it. Nothing has come. We had NO information at all upon which to base a decision for voting and still have no idea what it was all about. In this democratic country where we have the privilege of being able to vote we should at least have some information about who and what we are voting for. Instead there is the press coverage implying we are all more interested in voting for tv shows than politics. This just isn’t true. I feel that information was deliberately withheld and that this was an abuse of my electoral rights” I have NEVER not voted before but this time I genuinely didn’t feel I could.
umm! if the football team is playing badly blame the supporters
not sure how that one works but will give it try.
I remember an old industrial saying
‘The management always get the workforce it deserve’
perhaps we should reform our politicians before we reform our voters.
Some of us think there is too much politics in our lives and that the non-politicised space in public life needs to be expanded.
“Politics” and “Political Education” are vile, in my view. Kids should definitely learn things like government, participation, expression, debate and argument. But politics is about vested interests, party-lines. cronyism and favouritism. Politics is what leads to bullying. Government is making the world a better place. In my view.
40% of Britons are not interested in politics.
50% believe that the debt is going down by £600bn during this parliament, when it is, in fact, going up by the same amount.
Labour should communicate this crucial fact better to the public.
Why is there disillusion about politics?
Are all politicians the same?
Incompetence and trust betrayed are the main reasons why people are not interested in politics any more.
62% do not trust politicians. Trust in rulers has never been so low.
Faith in their competence has never been so low.
Democratic state does not function any longer.
In elections we choose which party will serve the interest of bankers, not ordinary people.
City bankers have all the main parties in their pockets.
Top Tories, Lib Dems and Labour politicians cannot wait to get invited to bankers´ secret “strategy groups” where the real decisions are made.
But democratically elected politicians should not go near Bilderberg Group or Trilateral Commission which want to replace PUBLIC POWER with PRIVATE POWER.
Greece and Italy are already in the hands of globalists with the rest of Europe soon to follow.
Goldman Sachs controls Wall Street. Wall Street controls the Federal Reserve, IMF and World Bank.
City of London controls the European Central Bank and the European Commission.
Together Goldman Sachs and Bilderberg Group have taken over the political system of Europe.
British democracy is in crisis.
Respect for MPs and governments is in decline.
Only 20% believe in government – 47% in 1987.
There is massive discontent of politicial parties, politicians and policies.
Government´s economic policy is in tatters.
Majority of Britons believe that Britain´s politicial system is fundamentally flawed.
Media is in the hands of bankers and globalists. Truth is seldom told.
Bilderberg Group is never mentioned.
Legitimacy is at risk.
We need to restore the reputation of politics.
First step is to kick out BANKERS from decision-making process and give the power back to elected politicians.
From the prescription in your final paragraph, surely all that’s needed is compulsory voting. Implement that, and I feel sure the rest would necessarily follow.
Have already said in the previous blog thread, just can’t understand why PCC candidates have to have a political label. You could conclude that whoever gets in is only going to look after policing for their neck of the woods that their label represents. Very silly approach. As if it has all been half-arsed thought through.
And with schools and politics, do they have debating sessions these days, where kiddies are allowed to say what they want to say on a debating subject? Remember once being choosen to debate for the tory party, and you can guess the rest, I was so pompous, staid, narrow-minded, bigotted, that I should have got an award from Gielgud himself, let alone an Oscar.
This is very revealing as aren’t politicians and the media part of the public but more so as a patronising superiority complex.It betrays the same arrogance that lost Labour 5 million votes.
Alastair, heads-up reminder, off topic etc. again, but Stephen Fry’s techie of the streets future short series is starting on C4 coming Monday night, 8.30pm, link,
Should be interesting and quite amusing.
Nice to see you Guido.
Suppose you have noticed I have started to bother your site – but don’t expect me to behave myself. Like stirring the cesspits of life I do. : )
All the best Guido, whoever you all are… Tidy site.
And oh yes, you are right – as my comment on labels somewhere here expands on.
Agree completely that the media has a share of the blame, but also believe that such a ‘flagship’ policy (which clearly merits the scare-quotes you give it) is bound to be at the head of a pretty miserable little flotilla. There is no recognisable policy fleet, still less an armada – at best a wizard wheeze of a lashed-together raft. Enid Blyton politics, not Elizabeth 1st, and it’s so stultified that we have to rely on Gove, of all hopeless little toads, to get us steamed up…
(..and breathe..) Moving on – I’m all for voting at 16, and I’m very much for having it properly and serously introduced at school.
I’m rather less convinced about making it compulsory, however. I currently live in an EU country where it is so, and it does nothing to engage non-chattering classes in real political debate; Rather, it just adds a thick gloopy custard of entrenched tribalism to the tepid spotted-dick of resentful distrust.
Oh, f**k… seems we are back to Gove and all that was so great about 1950s education, after all. So sticking with this inescapable meme: Liver and onions was also compulsory, but I don’t run into many people who claim it fostered a lifelong interest in cooking.
Guido Guido, just posted these two vids on your number one of Saturday’s Recommended Week Past, on Nye, but may I post Gwyn first on Nye’s Tredegar and Ebbw Vale,
And Nye at his best, in Trafalgar Square back in the day, saying what needed to be said to Eden, after the Suez shower disaster, which then brought in Super Mac, and then things changed, with sixties strikes and onwards, class war,
It seems the only way we can ‘get something done’ about our enforced membership of the EU is to vote UKIP. Something increasing numbers of people (whether they used to support the Conservatives or Labour) are starting to realise.
To get change, you first have to change your own behaviour. Voting UKIP is the start to changing the UK back to a Sovereign, self-governing and independent nation.
‘First step is to kick out BANKERS……………’ Exactly right Olli. In the US right now there is such a movement getting started. It follows Ron Paul’s ‘farewell speech to congress’ a few days ago, which is on YT and a must watch imo. Lawyers and others are going to challenge, through the courts, the unelected global elite which have taken over in the US and are gradually, step by step, ripping-up the 1776 constitution. This group or movement will fight in a non-violent way to rid the US of these parasites who have taken over in the US to plunder the country. They, Ron Paul and others hope to restore their rebublic in line with the 1776 constitution and regain their freedom and liberty, which their founding fathers, fought so hard to win. They know they have a mountain to climb and that the unelected global elite will use every dirty trick in their book, in an attempt to discredit their movement. Playing dirty is what the global elite do best. The fact that they own and control over 90% of the MSM as well as the banks, certainly gives them a very unfair advantage. The last time someone said some of the things that Ron Paul said, was JFK and we all know what happened to him. Ron Paul and the others will have to watch their backs even more carefully than ever. I applaud the fact that at last some people are going to try and do something about the dire situation in the US and I wish them well. They have one heck of an uphill task before them.
I was pleased to be able to sign that petition!
I have started the Nonarchial Political Party. It is similar to anarchist movememt but without the bad press, and no-one has to vote, ever. You just get on with life and let others do the same.
Alistair is one of my all time heroes but even heroes make mistakes (think Cantona and the Kung Fu kick).
Cameron picked November for these elections, Cameron is to blame for the debacle.
Hopefully AC will return to form in due course, everybody is allowed an off day.
I think you have a point about the public taking some responsibility here and I would certainly criticize the 35-40% who habitually ignore their democratic duties. I do think however, the prime responsibility for ensuring the public knows about an important vote rests with the Government. To introduce a new policy requiring an electoral response without ensuring there is at least a desire for change, is dogmatic.
To then press on without adequate funding for a media awareness campaign or even to fund leaflets to enable candidates to reach their voters shows contempt for democracy. Holding this new process as a one-off in November was brainless and is hard to understand, if the Government’s claims of wanting this policy to be successful is to be believed.
On the other hand, if their purpose was to ensure a low turnout knowing that would affect progressive parties far more than those on the right, the Government might see it as a success.
It’s a shame that the case is not being made more strongly for our membership of the EU by people in business and by Ed Miliband’s Labour Party. Supporters of UKIP imagine that the relative prosperity of the country will continue unimpeded if the UK goes it alone. I’m afraid you will be sorely disappointed. Our empire days are over and, like it or not, the country needs regional alliances.
I was going to look at myself for apathy, but I couldn’t be bothered.
The fact is it is perfectly rational to both believe in democracy, and indeed take up arms to defend it, without ever voting yourself. The fact is when 20 million people vote, it matters not a jot whether one person votes or not.
The cry I get is “What if everyone thought like that?” Well then I would vote because my vote would really make a difference. I would most likely vote for myself to be prime minister. I wouldn’t know what I was doing but I could settle a few scores or something. In my first month I would introduce time limits at cash machines.
Got to say, I know there would be a lot of stick, but I think the government should make Alastair its “Getting kids into politics” Tsar!
I know the “tsar” thing gets dogs abuse, and we will hear about campbell spinning propaganda at our kids, but just look at the bit on Jamies dream school, the best bit on it, when Alastair went in to this class of unruly kids. He asked them what they thought of politics and got the badly behaved surly teenage slouch and “I ain’t bovvered” answer. Then he showed films of the suffragette getting trampled by the horse, and then of Martin Luther King, told them how females and blacks didn’t have rights before then – do you still not care? You don’t like politics so you would just have let them get on with it? “No way bruv, I’d be right out there fighting with them!” “So you do care about politics then?”
Then he got a big political fight started in the classroom, it was great!
Kung fu kicks? Alastair, which I think he admits it himself, was a bit feisty when he was young, some bar room antics, even in Oxbridge. But he is as like Cantona is now, seen the light, or he is not as quick as he was and is simply seeing sense.
By the way Alastair, am up early to watch the final day of the test match, should be interesting, or over by lunchtime, India time. Stumps in 4am.
It has been a complete shambles from start to finish. When I heard that one fella was not allowed to stand because he got caught nicking sweeties from his corner shop at fourteen or something, I thought then something is not right here.
There was only two candidates for Dyfed-Powys force, and the Labour one I was not impressed with, so did not bother to vote. Anyway, by not bothering to vote is me saying it has all been a complete shower, and I for one am not impressed.
Oh bugger – as soon as Prior got out during his nervous nineties, I knew it was curtains for “us” Alastair. Scorecard,
Good wotsite of Nye Bevan here. What he would have made of the n-n-n-nineteen sixties, with his same as King George six same affliction (put a small pebble in his mouth it is told he did to calm it down), I could only guess at. A great man of recent time.
Song for him, the welsh singing starts about a minute in, so hang on in there, ok, so misty eyed, but still,
reaguns, do you know what I would do if I, by some fantasy chance, would do if I was elected Prime Minister, I would unify the education system for all in Britland AND the rekiously diversive NI. Why did they get rid of the grammar system when we were battling the privately schooled system? Cart before the horse I think it was. Old british empire paid private schools need to be dumped, with their Wimbledon and Twickers and Henley rowing and etc. privatley available tickets, if you went to the “right” school. School in fantasyland more like, in a timewarp.
What do you say Linsay Andersen, and thanks to Film4 of C4 for showing it again the othernight, to stir my buttocks…
reaguns, If I was prime minister, elected in my dream sleep, I would unify the education system in this country – it is desperately needed – get rid of grammar schools? Should have started somewhere else, ey Lindsay Anderson?
Why does schools, as in NI, have to be religiously biased? Bit mad I think, as times do conclude.
Song for my daughter Siân. more or less half welsh, quarter Eltham saff-east Lahndahn, and quarter Derry City from her mam’s mom, Gloria, where she get’s her left footedness from the Pope there from, and I no didn’t mind, at totally all,
for the clickable pic, my Siân bach,
JEESUUS! Bridie looks exactly like Siân’s grandma from originally Derry – even spooking myself out here! AND sounds exactly like her!
Since I have used Gielgud’s name for my personal vein of vanity, might as well for all that bother here the man himself, even though the second vid for his Oscar suggests in the early ninteen eighties is like helping sell the georgian silver, as mention by Super Mac, about then,
Whatever you want to do, Arthur, you name it, I’ll humm it,
I’ll be your Jeevesto your Wooster, my man, whatever PG Woodhouse says. More tea sir?
Could be blunt like Tucker, as I could be his personal advisor – “this has been a complete shower of omnishambles from my own dried out turd clinquers that I missed when I do wipe my arse, coming down on your head”, but I won’t.
Looking forward to wotsisname actor in part two of The Hour on Tuesday night Alastair, he was stunning mind manipulative in part one last week. See if Super Mac fucks him up his ‘arris this week.
Alastair, Howard Marks the taffie, from inside old boy Balliol, Oxford,
Have met him a couple of times, he made me laugh, as I did him. Have you read his Mr Nice autobiog yet Alastair, that he released, ahem!, well over ten years ago? Good Oxbridge late sixties stuff he has got in it.
Totally offtopic Alastair, but have on my shopping list value cheap 1kg of dried porridge oats for the birds, the wild birds, in my back garden, from the local Co-Op. The otherday had a couple of Blackcaps visiting me, followed by nut hatches, a Jay, and the usual brown female Blackbird that struts as my back garden thrush boss, with her male black harem, apart from the Mistle Thrush, which she looks at bemused, since it is bigger than her.
Then of course The Robin, attacking anything her/his size, hedge sparrows/dummocks, apart from the Sparrrow Hawk that she/he sweats to get away from. And tits everywhere, the wag-tails amuse me. And of course the lesser spotted woodpecker, picking grubs from the trees from the back garden, tapping like a nutter.
Anyway – FEED YOUR BIRDS! Song for them, this winter,
Yes, may I say, poacher turned gamekeeper perfect position this could be, but the tories, in their infinite wisdom, decided to put the social bar to high. Watch and shoot, friends.
Tory ladies, jump uptop of my horse,
We rule the world, ok, the home counties then…
Remember winding up Glorie, as her hubby Jim called her, that Liverpool was a good side, mid-matched watched vee Man U – she almost took my block off, as her being a BIG Man U supporter. And she would have nothing bad said about Georgie, the prot from Belfast, which was extra confusing for a taffy like me.
Elvis as well, though I agreed with her there, as here,
see if this is instant satisfaction, clickable instant click hopefully, for Glorie, Elvis,
Remember meeting Rhys in ’96, Cross Hands Hotel he was staying at in local, Eisterddfod Llandeilo that year – got more sense out of his mate though, Gruff – Rhys was all over the place. Song they sung then, Rhys Ifans trying
S’pose I better no mention her nephew, h-blocked he was, or have I? Was asked to go there on hols, asked my RAF CO, said asked “do you have to, several corporals MP RAFs it would take up”. So I thought better not, stay on Thatchers mainland, denied from experiencing, that lovely Derry land.
Nice post Ehtch. According to the news today many species of birds are in serious decline. I wonder if their decline has anything to do with all this chemtrailing?
AC, the title of this blog post of yours, irks me a little. As in ‘but public need to take a look at themselves too’. It comes across as ‘us and them’. You’re a member of the public yourself AC. Are you not?
Reason why I was frightened to death to have another child, since family had others in time. My first was well top of the drawer, and I am thankful to God for that, but thought with chance better not push it, it will gnaw planning. Whatever spouts, I know it is said, but with my family, it’s touch and go, in the hand of God. Call me pathetic if you want, or frightened to death due to family experiences.
David Carradine, full film, yes, Grasshopper if you want,
Just change of weather – it follows on from the lack of butterflies for instance, Gilliebc. Beeb Countryfile with that silly cow airmiles Bradbury will never talk about that, since they are stuck in the sand, and would never ever talk about reality and what is actually going on. Countryfile is Blue Peter for big kiddies.
How’s this Gilliebc, was given this by a neighbour at five, on my tenth of January capricorn birthday, 1967, an unwanted xmas gift I hear you say? Well if so, was and still not complaining, reading that book is still an education – still got it, and yes, think the robin is taxidermied…
What is interesting about the PCC elections is that they gives the lie to the idea that the public is galvanised by single issue politics. If any “single issue” could be expected to galvanise the public it would surely be soemthing connected with crime – and this didn’t.
In Australia we have compulsory voting but there is still quite a low level of voting in elections – more so in local elections that in state and federal. The fact that it is compulsory for people to get their names crossed off at the polling booth (what they do after that is their business!) means that elections are lacklustre, and that is being kind! And all the effort goes into the marginal seats. Having to persuade people to go to the polling booth in the first place seems to make politicians hungry for the vote. There must be a reason that most democracies make voting optional. Having said that, I believe it is our duty to vote. More political education of kids will go a long way.
Gilliebc, for you, and others that bother here, a Xmas card for you – well, it is my humour after all, when all is said and done. Notice the robin being shot, could be this year.
Now I am not saying to do it literally, but I don’t think many people outside of the coalition clique will be going to Hamley’s this year to get dinky toys for their kiddies, I methinks not. Enjoy Gilliebc and else,
Patrick, might as well post a song on the fine land of Ireland, the whole isle, that has been recently non- geologically been bothered by man with his fun and pants games,
wharrrtt! All man and woman all get out of Oireland? Now you knows you silly buggers that was not what I was actually saying, ey? But would like to walk the causeway on my own one day though. : )