EXCLUSIVE by MAILY DAIL POLITICAL STAFF
There was outrage in the Scottish Borders burgh of Hawick last night after UK Premier Theresa May announced there was to be a General Election during the town's Common Riding week.
For the uninitiated, Hawick Common Riding - dubbed Hogmanay on Horseback by non-followers - is the most important date on the local calendar. The centuries old commemorations, traditions and celebrations preserve the 'Aye Been' attitude of many Teries, the name given to residents of the town.
This latest run-in with a woman will revive bitter memories of the conflict which broke out over twenty years ago when ladies attempted to take part in the mounted ceremonials for the first time.
The would-be female participants were sworn at and spat on by fanatical supporters of the all male ride-outs which mark ancient battles and the odd skirmish with the English. It makes this unwanted interference by an English Tory PM all the more remarkable and unacceptable locally.
So keen was the Hawick Common Riding Committee to prevent the lassies from joining the cavalcades they commissioned an advocate by the name of Crispin Agnew to represent them in an infamous court case which sought to ban the women from rides to far flung places such as Mosspaul.
But the case was lost when a grumpy judge called Paterson threw out the plea, and the row was reported around the world, leaving the town with a somewhat tarnished reputation.
According to Maily Dail sources a group of unnamed hardliners are attempting to secure financial backing for a sheriff court action to have the date of the June 8 election moved "to a more suitable day". They are determined to send Mrs May homeward to Maidstone to think again.
It was difficult to persuade townspeople to be quoted on the record last night when we asked for their views on the PM's announcement. Many simply said they were seething with rage while others revealed they expected to be too drunk to vote, and they would certainly get their priorities right on The Big Day.
One elderly gentleman was prepared to speak to us although we do not know whether he gave us his correct name. He claimed there was no point in candidates or canvassers bothering to enter Hawick while the hallowed events were taking place, especially if they happened to be of the non-male gender.
Ronny Judkin told us: "That wumman May better no show her face in Hawick otherwise she's liable to get a slap. You just dinna mess wi' Teries. I'd advise her to return to the kitchen and get on wi' making Mr May's sandwiches".
It seems certain the political activists will face a struggle to achieve even a reasonable turn-out of voters with the Common Riding revelries in full swing.
One local worthy declared: "Many Hawick electors will be downing glasses of rum and milk - the traditional tipple of participants - even before the polling stations open. And by nightfall a fair proportion will be too p*ss*d to even think about drawing an X in a small box."
A Downing Street spokesman said: "Where is Hawick exactly? Is it somewhere north of Watford. I can't imagine that nice Mrs May causing outrage anywhere".
We were then advised to contact Scottish Tory leader Ruth ("The Truth") Davidson for further comment. Unfortunately Ms Davidson could not be contacted. We were informed she was closeted with her legal team preparing a court action to head off something called INDYREF TWO.
The forthcoming clash between the 2017 General Election and the Hawick Common Riding chase and colour bussing had not yet appeared on her somewhat blinkered radar.