I had lunch with the Mayor of Bigtown and his Financial Officer John Cairns – very interesting.
“The Bigtown Council is not just for Bigtown, but we also responsible for all the local villages. Each has a rural council, including Brasslans; but Brasslans has always been somewhat special.”
“You've met our electoral officer, you must have; she's responsible for all the mayoral elections in each large village. Brasslans has odd elections, a very low turn-out and the same mayor for the last 25 years.”
John wanted to speak about Brasslans too. “The finances of Brasslans are odd, high property tax, high staff count; though it is one of the smaller villages. They've got a financial officer too. I keep meaning to go through their financial records and check things. Why do they need such high taxes and a financial officer? But I haven't got the time – still if you win you know my phone number.”
My meeting with Jeremy Westchester, the Mayor of Brasslans, in the pub was quite different. He was friendly, too friendly, he wanted to father me. I played along, I let him talk and told him nothing about myself.
He congratulated me for having the courage to stand for election. “But you won't win, which is fortunate because it's a very heavy full-time job. However I suppose you have to try, but you don't really want to be Mayor, do you?”
“You can't be Mayor anyway, you can't have another job, even a part-time one, it's against the rules. Being Mayor is very hard work.” I pretended that I did not know about the rule.
The next day I got a call from the Electoral Officer in Bigtown. “Have you got a job, even a part-time one?” she asked.
“Can you prove that?”
“No, but no one can prove a negative. I worked several years on an oil rig and have my own resources. I have no job now and I will have no second job when I become Mayor. Happy with that?”