Barking Blondes: Polling stations, photo opportunities and political poodles
On Thursday morning, we galloped up the steps with our two girls to be greeted by the official on the door with a beaming smile and a clip board.
“How wonderful, two bull breeds!” she enthused. “We already have a couple of chihuahuas inside. I hope they get on.”
We have to say, it was very amusing to be stood in our booths marking our crosses whilst two pairs of beady little eyes peered at us from under the walls. There was a slight ruction at the ballot box when someone stood on Molly’s foot (our bull terrier), but otherwise, voting was hugely entertaining.
They say if you want a friend in politics, get a dog. Dogs could be seen as vote winners. Ken Livingstone, seen out electioneering with his yellow lab Coco, must have caught the attention of most dog lovers. Boris, on the other hand doesn’t have a dog at the moment, although his sister Rachel does. She is also called Coco and has her own column in The Lady magazine. They both appeared on our radio show last year promoting dogs in the work place.
During the eighties we lived in North London’s South End Green. We would often bump into Labour leader Michael Foot walking his dog Dizzy on Hampstead Heath. Dizzy was a chow cross. His full name was Disraeli. The two of them plodded along, deep in thought. As with all dog owners, there was always an acknowledgement to one another when passing. It’s quite democratic, scooping up poop alongside a political leader.
We have put in endless bids for one of the Obamas to join us on our dog radio show to discuss their choice of Portugese water dog, Bo. As yet we have had no luck. But how clever for a newly elected president to make the choice of family dog, one of his first major decisions. The same with the newly elected Australian prime minister, Julia Gillard. We got a bit further with her. Her office agreed that she would join us on an ISDN line to discuss her cross breed Cavoodle…We are still waiting.
The Dogs Trust celebrate Westminster Dog Day every year. It gives all dog loving MP’s a chance to celebrate their mutts on the grass, outside Parliament…It’s also a perfect photo opportunity. We interviewed the Tory MP, Neil Parish, whose dog won last year.
It’s a shame we don’t have a dog in Number 10. Maybe it’s the lack of green space compared to the White House. Even the cat was given short shrift. Churchill lived there on and off with his miniature poodle, Rufus. When that dog died he got another called Rufus. And when that died, another called…Rufus. How clever. Must help when suffering with short- term memory loss. This is a breed that doesn’t shed. So no chance of hairs sticking to a visiting pin stripe suit. Strange that whenever we walk our bulldog, Matilda, people comment “ Ah, Churchill”, yet this British of British politicians favoured a French breed. The last dog in residence at Number 10 was Harold Wilson’s Dog, Paddy. We met him in Huddersfield whilst we were filming an episode of Last Of The Summer Wine. How bizarre was that? He was seated in the bar of The Huddersfield Hotel. This was in the fuggy days when smoking inside was permitted. His pipe in his mouth with his dog by his side Harold and Paddy looked very content.
You can listen to Barking at the Moon on Thursdays 10pm-midnight on BBC London 94.9Tagged in: barking at the moon, barking blondes, BBC London 94.9, dogs
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