Not being a traditional political animal, I find myself ever more conflicted during the run-up to elections.
It’s not that I don’t have moderate views on some subjects but, on a number of issues, I find myself just right of Attila the Hun and yet, on others, I could sign up with the Communists.
And, it’s not that I don’t think elections are important, I know they are.
But the level of detachment shown by such a large percentage of the electorate makes the politicians ever more desperate.
Which is, I suppose, why I find myself writing this editorial column today.
For those with a good memory, or a fanatical love of the game of rugby, this item takes the format of a British Lions “99” call (I’ll explain at the bottom of the piece).
Just for now, suffice it to say, I am writing to remind you that this newspaper is completely apolitical.
I say this because advertisements will have been published either in this issue or will appear in future editions that might not be aligned with your particular political view.
Every time we publish an ad which promotes a particular political party I always get complaints from those of a different persuasion.
In fact, when I’m getting complaints from Conservatives, Labour supporters, Lib Dems and even a smattering of others, all saying we are biased and showing favour to a party other than theirs, I know we’re doing something right.
It’s not that I want to upset anyone, it’s just that if I know I’m upsetting everyone equally and they’re all moaning we must be taking an even-handed and balanced approach.
So, if you see advertisements in any of our newspapers, including this one, from any political party over the coming weeks please be assured I will have scrutinised it very carefully to see it complies with all our terms and conditions.
I will also be checking that it falls within the very stringent guidelines set out by the Advertising Standards Authority.
We will show no favour to any particular party but are bound to consider all applications for ads, from whichever political group, provided they adhere to our policies.
For those interested, the 99 call came from Lions skipper Willie John McBride in South Africa. It was such a battling tour he devised a retaliation first call where each Lion simply punched the nearest South African.
On an entirely different subject, I’ve been thinking about this column and how selfish I’ve been in not sharing it with others.
Each week I’m asked to produce 800 words, or to be more accurate, two lots of 400 words on two different subjects.
As a result you, our loyal readers, are subjected to my general ramblings, thoughts upon life or just details of something that has happened to me in the past week.
Well, it’s time for me to start sharing.
So, if you would like the chance to have your say, whether it be to put the world to rights, share a funny story or explain what is important to you, this is your chance.
I am offering you the opportunity to have a guest column published in The Argus on our biggest selling day.
So, what do you need to do?
Just email me 380 words and I will judge the best offering each week and publish it right here in this spot on this page.
Usual terms and conditions will apply, no advertisements, no politicking (see above for ways to have these details published), no swearing, abuse of others and, it goes without saying, nothing that will land me with a libel claim.
Other than that, you’re free to be published.
So if you’ve been thinking to yourself “I wonder what that idiot of an editor is spouting on about this week? I could do a darned site better job than him”, well now’s your chance.
I’ll only need 380 words from you as we’ll need a little space to publish your relevant details, name, age, where you’re from etc – so please make sure you include these when emailing me.
Personally I think that, like me, you should also include a head and shoulders photo but I’ll leave that up to you.
Finally, and most importantly as we all operate to deadlines, I need to inform you that you must have your copy with me by 5pm on a Tuesday to be considered.
Over to you.
- Andy Parkes is the Group Managing Editor of Newsquest Sussex