Yes, you read that right.
Amongst the liars, low lifes and nincompoops that seem to form the bulk of the world’s leaders, there is one who seems to be doing some good.
He is French, Jean Lassale, a centrist deputy who is spending his vacation going on long walks to try to persuade people he meets to become more involved in politics. It probably counts for a lot that he is a former shepherd from the Pyrenees, so is used to being out and about and knows how hard it is to earn a living, but he doesn’t have to do it. It is not part of his job description – he could be lazing in the sun like most of his peers, so this is a good thing, and an extraordinary one.
Last Tuesday was the 120th day of his long march, and he is blogging to encourage people to join him on his walk, and to offer him a bed for the night, or just to stop and chat to him. He tweets as he travels.
He is 58 years old, and 6 foot 2; as a child he was so tall he was taunted by his peers, so he was mute until the age of 12.
He still suffers stomach problems as a result of a hunger strike he did in the French parliament to protest against the closure of a factory in his constituency, so he really does believe passionately in supporting his constituents. In April he began a consultative initiative because he believes ‘the policy of this country is dead and buried’.
A teacher who caught up with him on his walk said, “He’s a symbol. He shows that politicians shouldn’t be cut off from the people they represent.”
I wish him a blister and injury free walk, and I wish there were more politicians like him.
Here’s a song by Billy Brag, ‘Handyman’s Blues’ from the man who specialises in songs about ordinary people. I love the video – a who’s who of Britain’s male comedians. Brilliant.