election results

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inspirational images including the father of modern Israel

Well, you remember, my friends, I wrote a while back, that in the middle of a parliamentary term, the government had been dissolved and a new election was called (see: http://tinyurl.com/luu3kkq). The moment it happened, I knew the hardest part would be listening to the propaganda. But I’m proud to announce that I survived. Still have a full head of hair, and didn’t suffer the expected bouts of suicidal despair. All the same, I have to admit, it was hard listening to all the lies and distortions that people managed to cram into just a very…. few months of electioneering.

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booths were set up on the sidewalks for the party faithfuls to convince passers by

Eventually, the day of judgment arrived. According to law, all political campaigning must stop for the last three days before election day. But our fine news men and women, and the radio announcers and TV personalities assumed that we’d become so used to the bombardment of mistruths, that we were addicted. They wanted to save us the ordeal of having to suffer ‘cold turkey’. So they kept right on sneaking political propaganda at us till the very day we went to the polls. What a pain!

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the room where I voted

As most of you are probably aware, Benjamin Netanyahu, whom we call Bibi, enjoyed three terms of office before this last election, and is well known to the public. His career as an officer in Israel’s top commando unit was somewhat overshadowed by his brother being one of the most famous of Israel’s heroes. But he did represent us in the foreign service, and was a best selling author before becoming prime minister. And while he has a lot of fans, not everyone agrees with his view of the world in general, or his political view of Israel. No sooner had the campaign started, than a ‘non political’ organization called ‘Just Not Bibi’ came to the fore. Financed by large contributors from the US and the EU, this organization began to insult him and defame him in every possible way. Since it was a little difficult to find any dirt on the man, they concentrated on pointing out the faults of his wife.

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an ad for the Likud and Bibi on the back of a city bus

Turns out she’s a real witch. Even worse than your wife or mine. She likes to have her soup warmed in the middle of the night. She yells at the cleaning lady. She rings her husband in the middle of top secret meetings, and the generals have to just sit around scratching their elbows while she whispers sweet nothings in the top executive’s ear. What’s worse, she sometimes sends empty bottles back to the grocery store, and pockets the change instead of giving the money to the state! Then it was reported that she’s a lush. She drinks wine almost every night. And her taste in clothing is atrocious.

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a key to heaven proffered to those who’ll vote for a certain religious party

He’s not much better. Before he was prime minister, he was known to let his billionaire businessman friend pay for his ticket at the movies. Some people can’t stand the way he combs the remaining strands of his hair over his bald spot. And he speaks good English. Now what sort of Israeli speaks a good English? He hardly has any really poor, down and out friends. Worst of all, he’s a primitive. The sort of guy who, when accosted by a terrorist, thinks that the best move is to hit him over the head with a baseball bat or shoot him in the heart… he never even considers the option of an intellectual discussion with the guy about the pros and cons of violence.

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poster at the top shows dead rabbi entreating voters to do the right thing

His opponent, the head of the labor party, son of a former president of Israel… grandson of a former Chief Rabbi, talks in a voice that is vaguely reminiscent of Donald Duck, and is just tall enough to peek into the cleavage of an average sized woman. So no one really expected the race to be something that would keep us up at nights ‘cause of the tension. But if there’s one thing that the media hates, it’s boredom. And if there’s one thing they love, it’s social liberalism. To make matters even more interesting, his campaign advisors decided on a political marriage with Tzippi, a female head of a dying political party which at one time was just a hair’s breadth away from capturing the government. She managed to reduce 28 mandates to six. And then, on the eve of this election, it was thought she wouldn’t pass the electoral threshold, the minimum number of votes to enter parliament.

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Tzippi on the election poster above the young man

Buzshy offered to serve together with her in a rotation leadership, so that the public would actually be getting two for the price of one. Both a male and a female with just one ballot! The left thought it an unbeatable deal. Meanwhile, as the media was feeding us everything bad about Bibi, they didn’t save words to extol the virtues of Buzshy and Tzippi. Slowly but surely, public opinion polls were published in which Buzshy was seen closing the gap between his popularity and that of Bibi. It was like a horse race. He was gaining, gaining, gaining… Finally, the two were standing equal. And then, amazingly, Buzshy started pulling ahead. By the week of the election, Buzshy was definitely the front runner. He was winning! Oh my. We were going to witness an historic changeover. All the papers were full of it. Headlines screamed: A surprise upset in the offing!!!

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a visit to the sea of Galilee

The night following election day, the vast majority of the country’s population seated themselves opposite the TV screen to watch the returns. Some ate peanuts, others sunflower seeds, and there were those who just grabbed a sandwich and a bottle of beer. For two hours we watched learned commentators explaining the hows and whys of what was about to happen, without disclosing the results. But there were knowing smiles and veiled hints that suggested they knew something we didn’t. Finally, a huge man-sized graph appeared behind the commentators. And then… the results of the voters’ exit polls. Unbelievable! The two contenders had gotten the exact same amount of votes! The next two hours were spent talking about a rotation premiership, or possible coalition governments that would allow one of the two to reign. We were all involved now, wondering who would come out on top. It was well known that Obama favored the underdog, excuse the expression. So some of the more sophisticated pundits thought we should let Buzshy take the reigns just to make the American Pres happy.

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Both sides were celebrating. We were in a happy state. Yet, we all went to bed wondering how it would end. Then, the very next day… when the actual votes were counted, it turned out that Bibi had received 30 mandates in parliament as opposed to the 24 that Buzshy had garnered. The left was mortified. How was it possible? What had happened? That was Wednesday. And today, Friday, 37% of the population is still scratching their heads. Some think that the vote was unfair. That the populace should have been more considerate of President Obama’s feelings. While others think that Bibi just might not be as good as the common people believe. If he was a real gentleman, after having served three times, he would default to Buzshy, just to give the other guy a chance.

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The first picture seen above was found in the school that served as a polling place. That’s where I voted. The photos towards the bottom of the post are from the Sea of Galilee, where I went to calm down and recover from the excitement of politics. Please, don’t bother to ask whom I voted for. In this free country, we get to vote in privacy. I’m not going to tell a soul.

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67 responses to “election results

  1. A fantastic post, especially as we are going through the same madness here in the UK. Unfortunately, we have until May 7th before it’s all over!!!

    Oh the media/press are so bloody annoying. It makes you wonder if they have an original thought in their combined heads??

    Anyway my friend, so glad that you chose to chill out and calm down at the Sea of Galiliee.

    Enjoy a new day, filled with natural beauty…and of course big hugs to Nechame who is spared from all of it:)xx

    • Actually, I’m not so sure that Nechama was spared the experience. She seems to follow me very closely, and is aware of all the signs that point to joy, unhappiness, anxiety or disappointment, as life may dish out… and usually reacts in a way that lets me know she understands. And yes, it was very good to enjoy the beauties of nature at the Sea of Galilee though it was quite hazy, limiting my appreciation to the close at hand. Wishing you a nausea free election there in the UK, and always sending you my best. xxx

  2. Beautiful post, we will live same during June too 🙂 But you did great to visit sea of Galiliee. Best wishes for you and for your country, dear Shimon, as always we say everything will be better than today 🙂 I hope and wish. Thank you, have a nice day and weekend, love, nia

    • Thanks very much, Nia. You are so sweet. And I too send you my best wishes for you and your dear family, and for your country. Wishing you happiness and freedom. It was very good taking a short vacation. And here it is… already spring, and we will be seeing beautiful flowers everywhere, and hearing the birds chirp outside.

  3. Oh, the news was all about this news here in the US. Politics…ugh! So happy you visited Galilee for a cleansing breath, Shimon.

    • Very interesting to hear that our politics made it to your news media, Loisa. I wonder if they had an explanation for the incorrect forecasts here. But that’s all behind us. It was very good in the Galilee.

  4. Hahahaha….what a BRILLIANT post!!! I laughed my head off…..struth, the wife from hell and the duck guy….it’s priceless! And yes, you have the right to keep your vote to yourself but I suspect Bibi got it…I rather like him and was pleased when I heard he got in again.
    I’m glad to hear you kept you hair and the excitement of it all didn’t result in a burst blood vessel…..
    Oh wow….Galilee is stunning, what beautiful pics, how I wish I could go there to chill and escape our mania! xxx

    • What greater pleasure could I have, my dear Dina, than knowing you got a good laugh out of it all. Actually, I voted for a little sectorial party. But I knew they would give their support to Bibi. We had something like twenty five parties in the running, and the government is always a coalition government. My comment on the privacy of the vote was meant to reveal while the opinion polls were so off base. After insulting the intelligence of anyone who supported Bibi, it was impossible to get a real true reflection of public opinion, because people were ashamed to admit that they were so dumb they liked the guy. But the election itself revealed the secret. And the majority stood by him. Thanks so much. xxx

  5. I say we vote the media out of office, ridding ourselves of their antics once and for all. Thank you for your most amusing perspective. The trip to the Sea of Galilee was a brilliant idea. Thanks for bringing us along. 🙂

    • Very glad you enjoyed the shots of the Sea of Galilee, Judy. I got another comment mentioning that I haven’t shown pictures of that wonderful place, and I hope to do so soon. So good to have you along.

  6. Plenty of smiles here, Shimon, as you just described politics in general, regardless of the country.

    Most importantly, we’re glad you survived without losing your head.

    • It is always a great pleasure to share my smiles and laughter with my friends… those are the most precious moments, Bill. Thanks for the comment.

  7. Politics, eh. It will be nice when we grow out of them 🙂

    • I regret to say, Tish, that I think they’re an inherent part of the human character, and crop up everywhere… even at the work place, or in small groups. But sometimes, they do get out of hand. Thanks.

  8. Lucky you it’s over, pre-election propagandising I mean; we’re still suffering it. The media are frenzied and politicians are becoming too adept at using the media. The complications it can present is not for commenting on here. Stirring up fear is a major weapon, then as you say, denigration. It all gets very nasty and unpalatable. It is no wonder that there is a huge disaffection with politics in the U.K and elsewhere. I cannot wait for the peaceful twenty-four hours before polling takes place, when no further political canvassing is allowed. We will need the relative peace. What is for sure, whichever colours of politics succeed, the day of rest albeit one that is too brief, will give us a little respite before the next political scenario appears. Ah yes… that will be the media making a visual meal over the count. It would be a good time to depart for quieter pastures.

    Did you really expect to lose your head and your hair? I hope your retreat to Galilee recharges you and encourages Nechama to come out of hiding.
    x

    • I wonder sometimes, whether the politicians use the media, or it’s the media using the politicians. In either case, they seem to work well together. I hope that you won’t be too affected by the hysteria that usually accompanies such a contest. As for my fears of losing my head, or losing my hair… it was all in jest. I take politics less seriously with each passing year. Thanks for your comment, menhir.

  9. What a frenzy, Shimon. And I do enjoy your sense of humor. I’m glad you survived!

    • Very glad you enjoy the humor, Cathy. When we’re young, we try to change the world. And when we grow old, we try to understand it. Usually, neither way is successful. Thanks.

  10. Happy you survived all the excitement and made it to the sea for some restorative peace, Shimon!

  11. Funny funny post, Shimon. P.S. Not so hard to guess what you’re not going to tell a soul. 🙂

  12. Oh dear, my heart sinks at the thought that we still have all this nonsense ahead of us! I do enjoy your scepticism. And I am very thankful for those beautiful photos of the Sea of Galilee. Balm to the spirit after all the frenetic asininity of election-time. I think I will line up a lake of my own, where I can disappear after May.

    • Yes Gill, I think the best thing at election time, is to find refuge in nature… and probably better before than after. We could just run into town to cast our ballot and then leave again till it’s all forgotten. I imagine Walden Pond would be just as good, but how lucky I am that I have the Sea of Galilee. Thanks for your comment.

  13. You’ve well deserved your break. May things go back to some kind of normal now.

  14. The election process and media attempts at manipulation seem to be standard fare in all countries fortunate enough to still have ‘free’ elections. We, the voters, do have to ‘pay’ a bit for that freedom, and that price consists of listening to/seeing/reading the proliferation of lies, semi-lies, and pure fantasy, at times. Well, most times, actually. Wonderfully humorous,and satiric post, Shimon. Many laughs and smiles here! Thank you for a delightful read. Being able to visit the Sea of Galilee is a lovely option for clearing one’s mind and soul of all the pressure of the finals of an election. Blessings. (And, yes, Judy, voting out the media is a stellar idea!) 🙂

    • Very glad you enjoyed my effort at political reporting, Myra. But what you say is so important. No matter how crazy it gets in a democracy, it’s so much better than what some others have to deal with… when the dictator makes the rules, and there are guns and tanks to support him. We live in an area where the winning political party usually gets 90% of the vote, whenever there are elections… and they don’t always bother. Thanks very much for your comment.

  15. It’s interesting to read that campaigning and media coverage of it is the same there as it is here. We are already having to suffer through campaigning and it hasn’t officially begun yet. Our elections are still 19 months away. I’ll be tuning it out as much as I possibly can.

    • It seems to me, that for those living in a democracy, many of us have an opinion long before the campaign starts. But it is good to hear all sides of the story. The problem starts, though, when there are too many professionals involved… and that can include professional politicians as well as professional campaigners. We have to keep hoping for a better choice. And that the truth will slip out here and there. Thanks very much for your comment, Corina.

  16. A wonderfully satirical post Shimon. Interesting to read comments from around the world suggesting we all suffer the same. Reading Myra’s comment about this all being the price we pay for free elections made me stop and think. Do we really have free elections in the west, what used to be called the free world. I think not. We don’t live in a democracy here in the UK that’s for sure. Whatever their colour we vote for politicians, people who live in their own little priviledged bubbles so far removed from the people they are supposed to represent they can’t possibly do the job. Even if they start off with good intentions, they are soon wrapped up and cosseted in the Westminster bubble that they lose perspective. Besides, who really runs the country? I think the faceless madarins who roam the corridors of power and ensure that nothing changes too much regardless of whichever party might be in power at the time. The political process that you have described here Shimon and is mirrored in liberal ‘democracies’ around the world is all just surface gloss. A game people play.. The older I get, the less I am inclined to join in or even spectate.. I will leave the country in May when our elections take place and retreat to the wilds of Iceland once more.. I can’t wait.. 🙂

    • Very glad you enjoyed the satire, Chillbrook. That is the way I saw this post. And I’m glad you raised a few important questions as well. Because, though I was joking around, there are many very serious aspects of democratic government that are sometimes lost in the noise. I do believe that freedom is relative. Complete freedom would be anarchy, and that is often more threatening and dangerous than the limited freedom we enjoy. Though the framework of so-called democracy often allows the government to go on with its plans insulated from public opinion, there is the mechanism there to put a stop to things when the government really loses a healthy perspective. They can only go so far. On the other hand, we have to be aware that though a large part of government is supplying needed support to the population, the support usually involves taxation. Not many years back, half of Europe was lead by so-called socialist (communist) governments, and the people who were supposed to benefit from greater involvement in the needs of the common people, were in fact suffering, and anxious to adopt a western system. It is always a delicate balance between the public interest and private business. Thanks so much for your comment.

  17. Absolutely wonderfully written! Do your people REally think of Obamas concerns? I pay little attention to voting hubbub but you stated as I felt. I feel that Obamas craziniess over Iran, has to happen before he’s out of office, and therefore, will happen soon. A bit scary, and VERY crazy. I’m curious what the poll places look like compared to ours….the actual device. And then, sea…to me indicates salt water. Is it really salt water, and if so what is the plant with blooms growing in the water? Keep your ear open Shimon…I expect things to happen.

    • As you can imagine, there are great differences in political opinions and attitudes here in Israel, Bob. But there are in fact some people, who are very disturbed by the idea that the American president might not approve of something we do. Our polling places are usually in classrooms. There are little tickets in little boxes on a table in a small cubicle which guarantees voter privacy. The voter then takes one of the tickets, representing the party he wants to vote for, and puts it in an envelop, and then takes it to a cardboard box in front of the voting committee, and drops the envelop in a slot. If more than one ticket is found in an envelop, it is disqualified.
      The sea of Galilee is really a sweet water lake. But it has traditionally been called a sea through the ages, so we continue to call it that.
      I keep hoping that what is going to happen is good. Sending you my best wishes, my friend.

  18. Politics – dark comedy at best. I would prefer to spend my days by the Galilee.

  19. As my mother aged, she became increasingly forgetful, cantankerous, and critical. There were times when I’d smile and listen, all the while thinking, “I’m the adult in this room.” While I question your Prime Minister’s actions from time to time, there’s no question he’s the adult in the room. Our President too often appears to be a petulant child, unhappy that he didn’t get his way, and willing to throw a tantrum or hold his breath and turn blue until he does. I’m very nervous about the next two years. In fact, I suspect we will see unimaginable things. “Stable” and “trustworthy” are not words I’d apply to him.

    As an American taxpayer, I’m not at all pleased that (it appears) our government was funding interference in your electoral process. Please accept my apologies. 🙂

    As for your wonderful descriptions of the candidates and your comments about the media: yes. It is the same here, and we all long for a break from it.

    Which brings me to Galilee. When I was a child, one of my favorite hymns was “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind. One of the verses is written:

    “O Sabbath rest by Galilee!
    O calm of hills above,
    Where Jesus knelt to share with Thee
    The silence of eternity
    Interpreted by love!”

    Seeing Galilee brought that back, along with the thought that a little rest and calm, a bit of silence and a lot of love wouldn’t hurt anyone. Even politicians.

    • Thanks so much for your concern and sympathy, Linda. You know, we don’t have many friends in the world. In the UN, for instance, there is an almost automatic vote against us, anytime the Arab countries get together a resolution to condemn us. And the US has been a good friend to us. And there are a lot of things that Israelis really love about the US. Sometimes it seems that we are copying your country’s ways more than is good for us. So even when the American president sticks his nose into our private business, no one really gets all that upset. I suppose most of us see it as a family problem. I did enjoy reading the hymn you shared with us. I had never heard it before, but found it on Wikipedia, and liked it. And the stanza you have shared here has enriched the post. Thank you very much.

  20. Thanks, Shimon. A common narrative here was that Nethanyahu was going to lose. (News cycles and air waves must be filled.) As always, the photo selections fit your story very well. I think this is the first time we’ve seen the Galilee Sea on your blog.

    • Yes, it was quite funny, Bruce. At the beginning of the campaign I had tried to estimate what was going to happen, and came out with the right results, but after being exposed to the media for a couple of months, I too thought it would go the other way. And a special thanks for mentioning that I haven’t given any attention to the Sea of Galilee previously. It is one of my favorite places, so I plan on adding a more on the subject in the future.

  21. How interesting to hear your side of the story. Especially interesting to know that the US and Obama backed the party that had not been in office. They probably had plans to assist in running the country.

    • Yes, Bev, I think poor President Obama got a little confused when he won the Nobel prize before having done anything except getting elected president… and since then, he’s been working very hard to bring about world peace. And there’s a lot of frustration in a job like that. Of course, we do wish him success.

  22. It is a rare thing to have such excellent commentary on the state of affairs, especially as it applies to elections. I nearly fell off my chair laughing a few times, and as my eyes grew wide with anticipation, and my heart clutched with trepidation, surely you can imagine my relief when the results were finally revealed. Well, okay, I had already read about it on the internet, but hearing your version was perhaps the best bit of reading I’ve enjoyed in quite a while. You mentioned in some other posts about your attempts at humor, and wondering whether the humor comes across to your readers. From my perspective, humor doesn’t get any more real than this flavor of this post. The entire process is so tiresome and annoying, but seen through your eyes, it actually became rather entertaining. Well done.

    Especially loved the photos of the Galilee Sea. Gorgeous. Hope those calm waters helped wash away all the stench of the campaigns. 🙂

    • Oh, you’ve made my day, Nancy. I do laugh myself at times, but nothing is as good as laughing with friends. And the thought of you laughing as you read my blog is just what I wanted. I think the reason they call it a sea and not a lake, is because it is not always so calm. Sometimes, when the winds are blowing, it can be a rather dangerous place to be, and sailing vessels have been known to go down to the bottom, and many a life has been lost. But I love it, and love visiting… and I think I’ll add a few posts in the future about this very special part of our country. Thank you so much for your comment.

  23. You made me laugh several times. You make a great political commentator.

  24. How very funny , Shimon ….Thankyou as always for your enlightening adventures …smiling with all the others ! Xxxmeg

    • Thanks very much, Meg. Isn’t it wonderful, what we can see at times, just by taking a couple of steps back? Your smile is the best prize I could get. xxx

  25. Really interesting view of the elections and great pictures of the Sea of Galilee.

    • Thanks, Rabirius. I’ve been reminded here that I haven’t shown much of the Sea of Galilee. I’ll have to post more pictures of that beautiful spot.

  26. I love your satirical take on the character of the propaganda campaign(s).
    As for the election broadcasts – I simply didn’t bother to listen to them. There’s a limit to the amount of rubbish a reasonable person can take.
    And, like you, I’m not revealing who I voted for. The secret ballot is one of the hallmarks of democracy. I also refused to answer any of the pre-election surveys. I suspect not a few other citizens did likewise. Maybe that explains the discrepancy between the surveys and the final result 😉

    • I listened to those election broadcasts just once, and found that more than enough. But it seemed as if every time I turned on the news or any other program, I was getting a heavy dose of electioneering. I suppose that was the reason I had to ‘let loose’ here when it was all over. And I agree with you Shimona, I suppose there were many who didn’t want to answer all the surveys, and that’s why they got it so wrong. Thanks so much for your comment.

  27. I am pleased you survived. The men I know, get very stressed at such times.
    Love the Galilee photo, Shimon. 🙂

  28. Interesting the similarities and differences in our two systems. I imagine money from the US came in for all sides in this election. Personally, I don’t think much of that. Nonetheless, all the ads and propaganda of an election is frustrating, and given my Ohio location, I’m already dreading the 2016 election as I anticipate regular ads before the end of the year.

    • Having just gone through it, Frank, I would say that the best thing is to learn a bit about the candidates, make our decision, and not pay too much attention to what the media has to offer. There’s a lot of superfluous drama in the way the campaigns are covered these days. Thanks for the comment.

  29. Such a pleasure to read your wonderful armchair musings on this fractured topic Shimon which, as played out in the press here had all the portents of doom taking full stage. I can’t believe that here in the US there is the awful retro possibility of voting in a Bush v Clinton in the next election.

    • I can’t say I’ve much understanding of American politics or government, but I imagine it would be quite amusing to see a Bush v Clinton election again. Wonder who would be playing the saxophone this time… But I do believe that the key to maintaining a good mood during such an event, is to remember that the news media is selling advertising space and pushing an agenda. And it’s not in our interest to believe everything we hear reported. Thanks so much for your comment, Patti.

  30. Shimon, I ‘hear’ you. As human souls we have fought for democracy and here we are in the UK with an election due in May. Parliament has been disbanded and we are now entering about 9 weeks of electioneering…heaven help us. If only our politicians actually represented the needs of the people who elected them into office… Hugs for you. x

    • By nature, I’m an optimist. And having traveled in a good part of the world, I do believe that democracy is far better than other systems available today. Of course, our elected reflect the values and the personality of the society they come from. If we live in a superficial commercial society, we have to expect that they too will be influenced by that. But the fact that they know we can get rid of them, if they really disappoint us, gives me hope that things could get better. Wishing you a peaceful election period, Jane.

      • Wise words Shimon and yes, they are but a reflection of the society they represent. I too have lived in various parts of the world and democracy is far better than other options I have encountered. My daughter is studying politics and international relations at University and we have interesting discussions together. I have been blessed to attend some of her lectures with her and to be asked for advice on essays she is writing. I have learned a lot from her. I always hold hope. Hugs for you. x

  31. Dear Shimon,
    I like your style! Wishing the best for your nation and its people.

  32. Great post Shimon – love the humour ……
    At least you seem to have avoided the need to keep voting until you get the ‘right !’ result, unlike what seems to be a developing trend in the UK & EU.
    I avoided looking at the result for some time as I could see it would end in a lot of rather shameful insults being thrown around (a bad development that we all seem to have inherited from the USA) see UK this month, if you dare 🙂
    David.

    • Thanks for your comment, David. The least that I can say about the system, is: better that at least half the population is happy, than that the whole is suffering and bitter. But wouldn’t it be a dream if we could all find compromises we could live with, and work together…

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