On Being Dead


I have died twice and I want to tell you about it. However, on the general principle that once is usually enough, I shall limit myself here to the first of these occasions. I was tired. It had been a long and wearisome journey. I was on  a country road and it had darkened. The rain richochted from my windscreen and the road ahead glistened. I wished myself elsewhere and dearly longed to arrive. I told myself that I was driving too quickly for these conditions. I wanted to slow down but I was now into one of those bends that goes on for ever. If I braked too quickly the car would slide or even overturn. Round the bend I saw a truck coming towards me. I had drifted into the centre of the road. Alter direction too slowly and I would hit the truck. I turned the steering wheel  and over and over spun my car. I had a passenger. I experienced an intense feeling of great pleasure. I said to myself, ‘If  these are my last moments it is a nice  way to go. But I hope that my friend will survive.’ (This is my proof , following Aristotle, that man is a social and political animal). My next moment of consciousness was being propped against a drystone wall, nose bleeding, with cottagers fussing around me, and the howl of an ambulance in the distance.My friend was standing over me quite unharmed.  I had survived. What you may well ask has this to do with anything? Well I thought about these moments the other day when I saw Nick Clegg enter the Chamber of the House of Commons and slump down on the Government benches closely followed by his friend, and fellow passenger, our Dave. He looked grave, deeply worried, and stared ahead without focus. At first I thought the two had  had a ‘lover’s tiff’ in the corridor but I soon realised that this was unworthy of me. Then it hit me. He was one third of the way round the political bend of a road of his own choice and travelling too quickly. He had looked deep into the abyss of  his political future and found it lacking. You may think that I exagerate this moment! What after all is in a look? If you have ever looked deep into the eyes of a beloved friend while your heart turns over, and I am sure that you have, you know that I speak of a moment of truth. To digress a little, it was said of President Breznev that he was dead for several months before the Soviet state was willing to recognise it. He was led out to the public propped up on either side by  burly comrades with a fixed and grisly smile upon his face. Another exageration to make a point? Perhaps yes, but then, on the other hand, perhaps, no. All human life ends in failure and not always in a bed.

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Filed under Cameron, Coalition Government, Conservative Home, Guardian, Labour Blogs, Labour Home, Liberal News, Liberal Vision, Nick Clegg, Parliament, Politics, Uncategorized

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