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To Hell with Hell

I don’t really agree with Jean Paul Sartre’s saying, ‘Hell is other people.’

I take his point, other people can spoil a really good party, but to be without other people can be just as hellish. G K Chesterton wrote ‘I wish I loved the human race, I wish I loved its silly face.’ A lonely old age is not a good thing so it’s a question of being positive about others.

The classical image of hell is burning in flames or boiling in oil. Given some of our cold summers, the flames don’t seem such a bad thing. I feel sure that with modern communication there might be some interesting variations on the theme, such as an everlasting stream of emails or worse, of telephone calls from salesmen just as one is about to sit down to a delicious meal. The call would be offering to sell double-glazing to somebody who lives in a house without windows with a sales pitch that is everlasting. If you have ever bought windows from a double-glazing salesman you will know what I mean. In Hades, Lucifer would certainly offer shares that are ‘too good to miss’, and one would always be on the verge of making a killing. Or you might be forever filling in an everlasting questionnaire with questions that go on eternally with choice a, b, c, or don’t really care. My top choice of hell is driving on the M25 in the dark in a fog and being hemmed in by tall lorries - being the M25 it would of course go on forever and ever. This was a hellish journey I made recently - and the person I was meeting failed to turn up at the airport. The experience lasted an eternity.

But to hell with hell. Very few people take it as a serious problem these days. With the local election coming up on 22 May I thought it might be an idea to think about what the local political parties think of as their idea of heaven – political that is. The local Tories had a recent visit from their ex Local-Councillor-Made-Good Theresa May, who no doubt approved of their recent manifesto in which they propose to reduce the Council Tax, not simply freeze it. Labour is going strong on the strength of the libraries - one of the few Boroughs who not only have not closed libraries but extended opening hours against all odds. UKIP have a firm policy of keeping people out (of both places!) and the Lib Dems in contrast are campaigning to let everybody in (to Raynes Park station) by improving access. So there you are. Don’t let it be said T&L doesn’t give a fair and impartial rundown of the local political situation. One might say it is a choice between Heaven or Hell depending on which way you vote.

Tony Kane is founder of Time & Leisure Media Group