As our civic election nears you may be considering who to vote for, or even if you’ll vote at all. Traditionally municipal elections have the lowest of all voter turnout.
If you’re still undecided then you may wish to consider this tale from the Napoleonic wars when a French ship floundered and sank off the coast of north east England. All the sailors perished however a monkey onboard the ship survived and managed to swim ashore.
The locals, in what is now modern day Hartlepool, did not venture out much in those days with few, if any, ever leaving the valley where they were born. Yet, somehow they knew this was a French ship. They also knew Frenchmen were different and didn’t speak English.The monkey was certainly different; it didn’t speak any English at all, and apparently the crew had it dressed in a small uniform for their amusement. So, assuming it was a French spy, the monkey was put on trial for treason.
Not saying much in its defence, the poor animal was soon found guilty, sentenced to death and hanged.
Now you may be wondering what all this has to do with civic elections.
Jump forward two hundred years to present day Hartlepool where they have a football team that consistently performs like the Blue Bombers, which is to say not very well.
However the team has a mascot, a monkey, or more specifically a man dressed in a cute fuzzy monkey suit and he’s called, wait for it, H’Angus.
Local politics was in such a sorry state in Hartlepool twelve years ago that H’Angus the monkey decided to toss his hat into the political arena and run for mayor, with a pledge of free bananas for all citizens if elected.
H’Angus, or Stuart Drummond the man who played him, was elected fairly and squarely and duly took up his place in the mayor’s office. However, council banned him from wearing his monkey suit when on official business.
No word on if he made good on his banana pledge.
Here in Winnipeg we’ve had several fringe candidates run for mayor in the past, however this year’s slate, although quite large, seems to be a down to Earth sensible bunch.
So if you’re considering staying home to watch TV next Wednesday instead of voting you may want to reconsider that. Get out and vote, if only to ensure we never elect a monkey to the mayor’s office.