Tomorrow night sees the award ceremony for the annual Queen’s Award for Arsing About. It takes place at the prestigious Our Plaice Fish and Chip shop in Nuneaton. For many years, the Arsing About prize has been awarded to politicians from various parties. However, there have been recent changes to the internationally agreed rules for both Professional and Amateur Arsing About. This now means that politicians are explicitly excluded from entry into the shortlists, semi-finals and the play-off for the prize. This rule change came about because, as most Arsing About fans have long argued, politics itself is little more than a specialised form of Arsing About. However, they claim politics – paradoxically – runs counter to the spirit and philosophy of Arsing About. For connoisseurs of the art of Arsing About one of its greatest pleasures, both for the practitioner and the spectator, is seeing how so much of the actual Arsing About achieves no tangible result. To Arse About and then to achieve something is – many fans say – a direct contradiction of all that Arsing About stands for.
Politicians – of course – have long argued that they are indeed consummate professionals at the sport of Arsing About. They often point to the fact that there is a great deal of activity in the political field that leads to no worthwhile, productive, or – in most cases – any tangible benefit.
There is, of course, a great deal of political Arsing About – more than in many other fields except – arguably – the practice of law. However, critics of Political Arsing About point to the fact the politicians do end up usually making things worse. Which, although, it is a negative result, is still a result. This is, of course, contrary to the ethics, aims and the desires of the true practitioners of Arsing About itself.
So, tomorrow night the Queen will, for the first time in many decades, award the coveted Arsing About trophy, if they manage to find it in time, to someone outside the field of politics.
Consequently, this year there has been a great deal of interest in the shortlist. In addition, there is a great deal of betting money placed on the semi-finalists. ITV who are televising the ceremony live on prime time TV for the first time, say they are anticipating a record-breaking audience with the numbers of viewers expected to be in the many tens.
So, everyone is agog and eagerly waiting for a result which will – no doubt – change the face of Arsing About for many decades to come.