Over the weekend, I had the good fortune to be staying with some very generous and hospitable people. They were religious Jews living on a West Bank settlement. Other than that, they were not much different from many other people, except for one thing. They belong to an extraordinary society called the Society for Creative Anachronism. They devote all the available spare time they have to re-enacting mediaeval events, but it seems the real object of their pursuit is not some perfectionist re-enactment of this tournament or that battle. It's really all about taking on fantasy identities and dressing up in what they call "garb".
Looking at the outcome of the Today Programme's Who Runs Britain poll, I get the sense that the people who voted in the poll are maybe also into some sort of version of fantasy funland. Can we call it the Land of Creative Anachronism? Because according to this poll, it seems that more people think the head of Tesco's really runs Britain than think that Tony Blair does.
And more people think that the search engine Google really runs Britain than think that Gordon Brown does so. And even though my answer to both of those candidates is really "none of the above", as I pointed out in an earlier post, nobody seems to have offered any evidence that Google runs anything.
Quite a lot of votes, it seems, for democratic-sounding choices like "the British people" and "Parliament". I wasn't able to get a sound link from where I was, so I haven't yet heard the discussion. But there's no shortage of evidence that policies supported by "the people", such as hanging for murders, are rejected by both Parliament and successive governments. And the role of Parliament is an interesting one, for it seems that Parliamentary pressure leads to government legislation being truncated or watered down. But running the country?
Not surprisingly, the poll probably reflects the Today programme's audience.
Like I suggested, the Land of Creative Anachronism.