British Spin reports that Hartlepool's citizens are about to embark on no less than eight opportunities to exercise their civil rights in the next two years. That makes four elections a year - just think of all the leaflets! and tea! and shameless lust for power! Just for added value, they'll involve Peter Mandelson and Stuart, the guy who used to be the monkey mascot at Hartlepool FC until he was mayor. As a politics addict, it's tempting to hop on a train right now in time to get my slice of the action. This is a positive orgy of democracy! Or possibly just an exhausting and awkward theatre of envy, self-seeking and forced enthusiasm far less attractive or enjoyable in theory than practice - wait, wouldn't that be an orgy?
They will get the opportunity to vote in local elections, European elections, a referendum on regional government for the North-East, a general election, an election for Mayor, elections to the regional government if they vote yes first time around, the Euroconstitution referendum and another set of locals. Hartlepool, I don't need to remind anyone, was where they hanged a monkey because they thought he was a Frenchman. No prizes for guessing which way they'll go on Europe.