The power of Oprah
LAST Thursday, our local school closed for the day to serve as a polling station. The prospect of this keenly anticipated extra holiday encouraged the children to a laudable, if slightly wearing, interest in the election campaign as a whole. I have been asked for detailed explanations of the voting system, the manifesto positions of the principal parties—with a notable bias towards animals, the environment and, unexpectedly, Brexit—and have refused to answer the inevitable ‘who are you voting for?’ more times than I care to remember. It’s the third time in as many years that such a midweek holiday has been thrust upon us and, to judge from the result, as I write, there may be another in prospect.
Meanwhile, the school itself has been running a parallel election to identify the person in the world who has recently done most for children. A board of the contenders was just visible outside the school hall when I went in to cast my vote. Having a child in tow, I asked about their various achievements. It all sounded very impressive, although it was surprising to be informed that a fortune made in opera was the felicitous financial mainspring of Oprah Winfrey’s philanthropic endeavours. Would it were true. JG