AT every election campaign there is a defining moment. It might be clash between candidates over the public sector borrowing requirement, for example.
In Calderdale it is usually about dog dirt.
We hacks on the campaign trail knew that it was only a matter of time before the dog dirt photo opportunity would arrive, when one of the candidates, displaying grave concern over the issue of dog fouling, would be pictured in conversation with a worried constituent while solemnly wielding a pooper scooper.
Then the other candidates would have to demonstrate that they too were on message and demand to be photographed while deftly inserting some poo into a plastic bag.
It would be going too far to say that the outcome of elections in Calderdale has been decided by the dog dirt issue, but it has played a key role. The problem of dog fouling seems to be part of our political DNA.
It has surfaced again, with Calderdale Council about to debate new Dog Control Orders which will cur-tail (get it?) the activities of dogs and their walkers. This is supposedly in the interests of public health, by reducing the amount of deadly dog dirt deposited on playing fields and footpaths.
But when you consider that probably 99 per cent of the exercise undertaken by human beings in Britain comes from walking the dog, the public health benefits might actually be negative.
But having had such a long exposure to Calderdale’s political preoccupation with dog fouling, I find it difficult not to imagine a more sinister scenario...
In an underground bunker at Northgate House, a shaven-headed man in a collarless jacket is cackling softly.
“At last my plans are taking shape!” he exclaims. “Soon zis pitiful place called Calderdale vill be a dog-free zone. And you are powerless to prevent it, Mr Bond!”
And he strokes the Persian cat that is purring on his lap.
* WHEN it was recently reported that painting the Forth Bridge would soon come to an end, the English language faced an emergency. In future, what metaphor could we possibly use to describe an interminable process that was doomed to repeat itself over and over again?
Well, experts are working on the problem and will eventually unveil an all-new metaphor. But as an aid to their deliberations, perhaps they could pay a visit to Halifax. The town has always been noted for planning issues that seem to get stuck in an endlessly repeated loop.
For example, there is a new set of redevelopment plans for the Piece Hall and I wish them well. But long experience has taught us old timers not to hold our breaths when a new deal for this historic building is promised.
In future, instead of saying, “It’s just like painting the Forth Bridge!”, perhaps “It’s just like trying to redevelop Halifax Piece Hall!” would be a suitable alternative. Or maybe not...
* I ALWAYS have a little smile when I see adverts for “free-range sausages”. It is hard not to image loveable little bangers and chipolatas gambolling in the fields and meadows, enjoying a happy, carefree life. Until the day that they are rounded up by a man with a frying pan...
Anyway, the free-range sausage concept has been dealt a blow. Tesco, no less, has been rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority for a pork sausage ad in which it shows little piggies leading a free and easy life, when in actual fact they were cooped up inside for most of their existence.