I was sitting in Wirral Town Hall with a copy of Plato’s ‘Phaedrus’. On the walls in the space were the framed photographs of those from the area who had been awarded the Victoria Cross. Each had been furnished with a birth date and death date, each decorated with the legend of their respective life after valour.
I had before that point, assumed that the VC was more often than not, a posthumous award. I was then, somewhat fascinated by this opportunity for a shift in my appreciation, brought about by the fact that I had arrived early for the local council election count.
I was invited to attend by Jan Williamson, social media companion, labour candidate for Liscard council, and out and out Toffee.
I expected her to be nervous given the interesting media exposure she had been the subject of. Underhand, negative and unkind; not then in any way representative of the ironic and dry witted authenticity of the candidate now standing in front of me, ready with red rosette and blind faith; the person I know to be Jan Williamson.
The main hall needs painting. There’s a checkpoint of tables. On one side; the counters waiting for the votes to be tipped out; postcards from another place. The counters idle themselves looking across at the candidates and their agents. The camera crew and arrive as the posturing photographer sized the venue for the best angles, and the most appropriate backdrop for post election comment.
Some candidates talk behind their hands. Some nod at one another, loose change becomes the percussion for the hubbub of the mid-term political indications dance.
Clipboards are handed out to sheep tally the votes counted by the counters. Clusters of candidates trade rumours of upsets like folk sharing ghost stories by the campfire. The air is tinged with a whispering expectation.
Jan of course, wins. Everyone sings except the losers who clap and attempt some obligatory eye contact and then the counters filter home after smoking on the front step of the Town Hall.
I hope that Jan’s victory, in the midst of interpretations intended to damage her reputation, is representative of a simple truth returning; that authenticity of person is more essential to people than the deceit of the airbrush - as for my mind, those framed legends of valour, with their quiet eyes and lifetimes, are indeed already testament.