The world according to Clement

I’m a curly coat retriever and I’m rather handsome. My name is Clement and this is me in my boat.

I’m four years old, which means I’m just coming into my prime. I have a curly coat but there’s no kind of “poo” in me. Mum’s a curly coat retriever and Dad’s a rather fine labrador. I choose to identify as a curly coat retriever.

I live with my pet humans, William and Liesl. He’s my favourite and he goes with me to most places. William is a writer. Liesl’s had a few owners. They’re normally quite young and don’t stick around for long. 

DJ is one she was with for a while. But he preferred their daughter, Robyn, and her husband Grant, so he moved in with them. DJ comes to see me often. He brings Robyn to play and she brings a baby human with her. I’ve looked at the boy, Elijah is his name, and I can’t see what all the fuss is about. He’ll be more interesting when he’s grown a bit but at the moment I’m reserving judgement.

Now is a good time to tell you about another character in the house. 

There is a young upstart who has recently moved in with us, he’s spending quite a lot of time with Liesl. His name is Nico. The wee loon thinks he’s cute and lets them make a fuss of him, that’s his way of training them to do what he wants. He talks a lot, and he has a whiny voice. He’s training them to open the door when he whinges. But if they don’t come running he punishes them by peeing on the floor, and then they have to clean it up. He think’s he’s special because he’s learning to be a guide for pets who have no sight. I suppose it’s very generous of him to give up his time to do this. I was going to do it too when I was his age, but I changed my mind and now have a new career with William. 

Today, Nico and I got William up at seven o’clock, he’d been very good and slept right through the night. We took him into the garden and let him pick up our poo as a treat for sleeping well. Most days we let him do this before breakfast. It was sunny in the morning so we went for a walk. William can be very needy and he gets easily distracted. Because of this I clip on a lead and make him hold the other end when we’re out. To make sure he’s doesn’t get board we let him choose the route, it gives him something to concentrate on.

Tomorrow I’ll be taking William to a place in Basildon where he goes most days. He has stuff to do with other pets. I have a bed there and I like to sleep for most of the day. Sometimes I take him out to get some fresh air, if he is good I’ll let him pick up more poo. A friend of mine goes there on most days too, his name is Morris and he’s got a pet called Chelsey. She and William are always very busy.

How would you explain it to a four year old

I’ve been thinking about how I’d explain the shenanigans in parliament to Clement. He is my sounding board, my go-to listener, my beta reader for everything. He’s only four years old but I don’t see that as an issue. He knows my opinion about those who represent us and it’s an advantage that he never repeats what I tell him. He won’t argue with me and never tells me I’m wrong.

Clement has his drawbacks, he’s a bit needy at times, he likes to have my full and undivided attention and really, really, want’s to be loved. He often twists around on the floor of the office, licking his balls and ensuring we all get an eye full. Well, he’s a Labrador, what do you expect?  You can meet Clement here.

I’m going to explain our current position like this – once I’ve got his attention with a biscuit.

You live in a house and it has a thatched roof. One of your children has convinced the other kids that it’s okay to set off a firework in the attic. Now the whole roof is on fire.

Your house was built over a fault line between two tectonic plates and the plates have started to move. That’s caused an earthquake and the cottage is unsafe. You need to get out and your family needs to get out. Everyone can see the building is falling down and leaving is the right thing to do.

However you are all crowded into the front hallway and have started to argue about whether you should wear a jumper or a zip-up cardigan. Still your house is falling down around your ears – and you don’t see it. You have focused on the details of one aspect and you’re blind to the bigger picture.

That’s how I see our government at the moment. They only talk about one thing – Brexit, while the rest of the county, our union of kingdoms, is collapsing. Scotland want to remain part of Europe. The population of Northern Ireland feel betrayed and abandoned. They’ve worked to overcome their troubled history and now people, money, and trade can move seamless between the six counties in the north and the republic in the south. All of a sudden they’ve become a bargaining chip in a game being played out hundreds of miles away.

Our infrastructure is creaking and the hospitals are at breaking point. We’re entering another winter with too few nurses, not enough beds and patients on trollies in every corridor. Police officers are leaving the service at an unprecedented rate due to disillusion and poor conditions. At school teachers strugle to teach unruly children and everyday they worry about getting knifed.

But all the politicians want to talk about, in soundbites for the ten o clock news, is a strategy for leaving the union of countries that have been our most valued trading partners for more than forty years. 

In the one thousand, one hundred and sixty eight days since the referendum we have become a lughing stock and the mother of all parliaments is now the butt of all jokes. We could have been trading, manufacturing and innovating. Instead we’re tearing ourselves apart, fathers against sons and neighbour against neighbour. There can be no “winners” because each day it goes on we all loose. This is an issue that will take a decade to sort out and a generation to accept. I hope it doesn’t become violent but I’m afraid that it will. Hot heads, fired up by windbags, will move the agenda forward – but at what cost?

It’s all too depressing to think about so I’m going back to a bit of reading and I’ll continue my own writing. You can see what I’ve been reading by clicking on this link. It’s not a comprehensive list of everything I’ve read recently but you might find few hours of escapism here.