anyone remember John Major?

August 31, 2006

While peeking at the infamous test of Britishness, I read that one question (‘who is the current Prime Minister’) is the same as is used to alert health visitors or whatever you call them to oncoming Altzheimers. This reminded me of an incident recounted to me by my guardian when she was in her 90’s a few years ago. One of those nosy people called at her bungalow one morning (she lived on her own) and said she just wanted to check on her. Her first question to my aunt was ‘Did you listen to the radio this morning?’ ‘Of course I did’ was the reply. ‘That’s nice, and what did you listen to, dearie?’ asked the patronising woman, probably expecting the reply Terry Wogan. ‘The News, of course’, snapped my aunt. ‘And can you remember anything you heard on the news’ she continued, whereupon my aunt gave her a fifteen minute analysis of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia complete with all the latest Serbian troop movements. The poor health woman’s eyes glazed over after about 30 seconds. Eventually she was able to proceed to her next question ‘and can you tell me the name of the current Prime Minister?’ (John Major at the time). My aunt looked embarrassed as she told me the rest: ‘you know, I felt so stupid, I could not remember that damn fool’s name, I told her I could give her the names and dates of all the Prime Ministers from Lloyd George to Winston Churchill but she wasn’t the slightest bit interested.’ Still, I suppose the unfortunate woman wasn’t to know that my aunt had been in her youth a militant supporter of the Fabian society and resolute anti-Conservative. Listening to her sending Jehova’s witnessess packing was a treat, too.

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