A historic day then - the day when, in 1605, Guido Fawkes and his gang of prototerrorists were thwarted in their attempt to blow up Parliament. This used to be a big deal in England, with every household making some attempt at a firework display on the night, while boys had the pleasure of lobbing bangers and jumping jacks around at will. Those days are gone now - when did you last see a 'Penny for the Guy'? Except among the pope-and-pikey-burning villages of the Lewes area, Bonfire Night is a sanitised, municipalised affair, a pyrotechnic display conveniently held on the nearest Saturday. The November 5 tradition seems to have been edged out of the popular calendar by Halloween, that interloper from America.
Ah yes, America. That election thing... Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be middle-aged and cynical was very... No no, enough of that - it was the right result, the inevitable result (though the Dem stranglehold on Senate and Congress is worrying). McCain was totally outcampaigned and looked old and confused (if only he'd beaten W to the nomination in 2000...). Indeed the McCain campaign peaked with his fine concession speech - which is not quite how it's supposed to go. Heaven knows what kind of president Obama will make - I just hope he doesn't turn out to be, beneath the glamour and the eloquence, Jimmy Carter mark 2. I hope he gets off to a better start than Bill Clinton did. And I hope above all that the psychos of Al Qaeda don't decide to test his mettle early on with one of their trademark atrocities. For now, let's look on the bright side,and rejoce that America has yet again proved that, in the final analysis, it's a resoundingly Good Thing.