Plain Jane 190914Thank you to all those who have suggested that, further to my last column, I stand in the next election myself.

My initial thought – that I would rather gnaw on my own leg – has been tempered by the realisation that “The STB” (Stop the Bo*****s Party) has a certain ring to it and being a candidate would guarantee me entry to the count. (I am most afraid that us humble local hacks – usually to be found in the Winter Gardens at 4am hunched over a curling sandwich and our 15th coffee, as votes are totted up – will be left out in the cold as the national media descends en masse to cast a beady eye over antics a la Nige.)

Clearly my campaign will take a little organisation prior to May 7, and volunteers for Team JWJ should apply soon. I will need a megaphone and a soapbox and some cheap-suited lackeys to scuttle in my wake. Leaflets listing my credentials (on cheek-kissing terms with last three incumbents of South Thanet, taken tour round House of Commons, got a gob the size of Margate Caves – how difficult can this MP lark be?) and sporting a photo in which I look slightly manic. Someone with a degree in media studies who has what it takes to justify the revelation that I actually hate 90 per cent of the electorate but just crave power, when I forget to take my microphone off; and a baby, a feisty pensioner and a rescue dog I can pose with to cover all bases.

Previous experience not necessary. Drinkers welcome – think Man in the Pub as our target vote. The jaded and hard-bitten, come on down.

Oh and a self-made bloke with a heart of gold and a credit card to match, who wants to save the NHS, the sub post-office and spread a little joy, to pay the deposit. Let’s rock.

HALLELUJAH – Broadstairs and St Peter’s Town Council is discussing the possibility of restoring Retort House in the bottom car park in Broadstairs for use as a community centre. Those of us who campaigned back in 2005 against the felling of trees and spending of vast fortunes to put a whacking great centre up in Pierremont Park that nobody wanted, suggested this right back then. I am very pleased to hear that nine and a half years on, common sense and logic have prevailed (it’s what the STB is all about), but really – what kept you?

LAST FRIDAY, I had the hilarious pleasure of interviewing Kathy Lette at the Horsebridge Arts Centre in Whitstable. Kathy, described by the Evening Standard as “the wittiest woman in London”, has lots of killer lines in her new novel Courting Trouble, not all of them suitable for consumption in a family newspaper. One that particularly resonated with me came when a male character described certain women as “All hard stares, high heels and droopy handshakes”. I know exactly what he means. I deplore the modern habit of dangling one’s limp fingers into another’s palm and thinking that passes as a greeting. Women should either content themselves with a haughty raising of a perfectly manicured eyebrow or do a spot of air-kissing if they can’t grasp hands properly.
A warm, firm handshake – a small skill on which I pride myself (with an occasional crunching of the knuckles if I don’t like him much) – should be taught in schools, along with opening doors (both sexes), giving up seats on the bus and offering to carry anything heavy when the bearer of said object is clearly more feeble than oneself. (Being able to open a bottle of champagne with a flourish shows a sensible upbringing too.)

Please take a note, my yet-to-be-appointed campaign manager. It’s going on my manifesto.

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Read more: http://www.thanetgazette.co.uk/megaphone-soapbox-cheap-suited-lackeys-needed/story-22950715-detail/story.html. Jane is appearing in the Maltese Falcon from Wednesday to Saturday, September 24 to 27, at 7.30pm at The Red Hall, 11 Grosvenor Rd, Broadstairs. Tickets cost £6 and are available at the door, but seats are limited. To reserve one, ring 01843 604633 or 07989 070843.

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