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A day in the life of a parliamentary candidate

by Alan Townend

There was absolutely no doubt that Henry Orpington liked politics. He talked about politics all the time. All the members of his family were pleased, therefore, when Henry was adopted as the prospective parliamentary candidate for the constituency in which they were living. One year later the date of the general election was announced by the Prime Minister. Throughout the election campaign Henry's wife and his two teenage daughters worked night and day for him and he finally won a seat in the House of Commons by a very large majority. Every day of the campaign was a challenge, but there was one day in particular that Henry would never forget. That was the day he thought he was going to be blown up by a bomb.

On a Friday morning at the beginning of the campaign, the phone rang in the Orpingtons' house at six-thirty in the morning. Henry got out of bed and ran down the stairs. He wondered who could possibly be ringing at that early hour in the morning.

Henry         Hello.
Man's voice   Is that Mr. Henry Orpington, the
              parliamentary candidate?
Henry         Yes, speaking.
Man's voice   Oh, good morning. I want to warn you about
              a bomb....
Henry         A bomb? Where? Hello! We've been cut off.
              Operator! Operator! Operator!

It was no good. The line had gone dead. As calmly as he could Henry went upstairs to tell his wife the alarming news. They decided to get dressed at once and take the two girls to their aunt's house. Henry informed the police but asked them to keep the news from the press. At half past eight Henry was in conference with his election agent, Andrew Higgins, at party headquarters.

Andrew  If you want my opinion, I suggest you cancel all your
        engagements for today and wait until the police
        get to the bottom of the matter.
Henry   Certainly not! I'm not going to let myself be scared by
        some stupid crank.
Andrew  What did the man sound like? Did you recognize his voice?
Henry   No, I was half asleep. His voice wasn't familiar but he
        sounded quite pleasant. He didn't seem to be threatening
Andrew  That makes the whole business even  more sinister.
        Look here, Henry, one day won't make all that much
        difference. I'll tell people that you've lost your voice
        or something.
Henry   No, I'm going to carry on as usual. Think of the
        advantage it would give my opponents if I were out of the
        campaign even for one day.
Andrew  If you say so. But I'd like to make it clear that I'm
        dead against it.

The Parliamentary Candidate
The Parliamentary Candidate (2)
The Parliamentary Candidate (3)
The Parliamentary Candidate (4)

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A day in the life of a parliamentary candidate (2)

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Henry Orpington's first engagement that day was an open-air meeting on a large housing estate at ten o'clock. As most of the men were out at work, his audience consisted mainly of women and young chil
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The crowd remained good-natured for the first part of his speech and Henry was feeling pleased with himself. And then, suddenly, half a dozen tractors roared onto the field.

"Do you like to
parliamentary candidate         man or woman standing for
                                election to parliament as an M.P.
                                (Member of Parliament)
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