I’d never been to Oldham before so when I found out that Dad’s battle bus was going to park up and he’d be spending a few hours exhorting people to vote for the Bus party, I thought this was a good a chance as any to try and make the break through that had eluded me for so many years.
I’d never been before and it’s unlikely I’ll be going again if yesterday was anything to go by. The sweeping swathes of grey motorway, the unrelenting rain and the sheer tedium of the M62 (or was it the M60?) meant that you couldn’t be too sure of whether you were bypassing Oldham, Bury, Rochdale, Salford or Eccles.
After about 3 hours on that infernal road and its detours, road works and so called ‘smart’ sections (recognised by the high concentration of road side pile ups and traffic carnage) I realised I’d just been going around and around in motorway hell circles, no nearer to Oldham than when I’d set off. No nearer to Dad Boris either, given the unlikelihood of him staying any longer than was absolutely necessary.
Later I saw him proclaiming the reason for having a bus in the first place. Well, I thought, it’s nothing to do with an election, but much more about your well known predilection for Routemasters and Double Deckers. Buses do at least know where they’re going and how to get there, unlike me on the M62 / 60.
I found myself envying his bus driver who would have had the benefit of at least 11 on board CCTV cameras.
I wondered whether Dad Boris spend time squatting in front of the CCTV console, flitting from one bus cam to another, gleefully checking out every nook and cranny of his Battle Bus? Observing the actions of those others on board, wondering whether there was any plotting going on, any shenanigans in the making, just in case this election didn’t go the way he wanted? Or was everybody looking eyes forward, full body attention to the man who is currently King of his Own Imagination?
The bus CCTV system would at least give his entourage the benefit of knowing where they were going, how they were going to get there, how long it would take and what the conditions were going to be like ahead of them.
They would also know that in the cities, the traffic lights would be rigged in their favour. They may not know however why they’re going where they’re going – over and beyond the usual exhortations of unleashing their potential – but that kind of existential question is also beyond me too right now, stuck as I am in a motorway service station as a result of a flash flood on Saddleworth Moor.
Dad Boris and Son Spartacus: we’re both in the same boat in that regard.