Tuesday, 2 May 2017

A drop in the ocean

Call it extreme if you like, but I propose we hit it hard and hit it fast with a major - and I mean major - leaflet campaign.
 Rimmer, Red Dwarf, S3, Ep3, "Polymorph"

Anyone who's known me for any length of time - say more than about 24 hours - will have discovered that my political leanings are generally left of centre. This hasn't always been an easy position to hold, given my start in life. I don't mean either that I started with a silver spoon in my mouth, or by being sent up a chimney aged five. No, I simply started life in the true-blue heartlands of the south-east, attending a private girls' school. 

It was the kind of school where, once my fellow pupils discovered that I was supporting what was then the SDP-Liberal Alliance, I was labelled a Communist. Seriously. A vaguely wishy-washy, unelectable, moderate, centrist party was tantamount to communism. Which was something of a shock after having stood as Michael Foot in my (state) primary school mock election without anyone batting an eyelid, either at my gender or politics.

It was the kind of school where one of my compatriots actually wore a black arm band when Maggie was ousted by her own party. I still hold that in my own mind as perhaps one of the most extraordinary political acts I have ever witnessed in the flesh.

It was the kind of school where I completely failed to convince anybody, ever, that being born to rich parents shouldn't entitle a child to an automatically better education than being born to poor parents. Honestly, it's a mystery. I kept trying to tell the daughters of well-off parents who were receiving a privileged education that having well-off parents shouldn't be a good enough reason to receive a privileged education, and somehow what I was saying fell on deaf ears.

The one thing that I did do as a child, more or less from when I can remember, is deliver election leaflets around the neighbourhood with my mother. 

And I'm now doing the same thing in my own neighbourhood, this time without my mother. And it has led me to conclude that Fen-village is a considerably nicer place to deliver Liberal leaflets than Home-Counties-town. I've even reached the point where I don't feel obliged to deliver leaflets under the cover of darkness just in case.

In Home-Counties-town I used to be terrified of the overweight, middle-aged stockbrokers and lawyers out washing their cars and mowing their lawns, because they would take one look at a scruffy little girl with a yellow leaflet clutched in her sweaty little hand and sneeringly say, "we won't be voting for them, you can keep it". And I would feel mortified. In Fen-village, I nearly sank into the ground the first time I encountered the resident of a house as I attempted to deliver a leaflet. He said, "here, I'll take it". I quaked. But he took it. I felt myself starting to flush scarlet and wonder whether there was anywhere to hide. But he didn't give it back. Or tell me he hated my party. Or wave a blue rosette at me. I nearly fell over instead.

In Home-Counties-town, every other house appeared to be occupied by either a small, yapping, psycopathic dog that wanted to rip my fingers off at the knuckles, or a beast the approximate dimensions and temperament of the Hound of the Baskervilles. In Fen-village there are lots of cats, and they all want to be my friend.

In Home-Counties-town, people had a strange habit of having letter boxes at the bottom of their doors, armed with sprung flaps strong enough to rip your fingers off - perhaps to provide tasty snacks for the psycopathic yappy dogs. Nobody in Fen-village has put their letter box very far from a conventional height.

So I'm now delivering leaflets in daylight, because I'm not quite as scared of the people in Fen-village. Because I'm no longer surrounded by people who keep pets who'd rather eat your liver than have their ears scratched. Because I'm surrounded by people with cats and sensible letter boxes. My people. 

And I'm going to keep delivering leaflets, for all the difference it's going to make. Because there isn't much else I can do, but I want to do something more than just put my "x" in a box. [And if you want to know why I won't be voting blue, and I will be voting yellow, it's pretty much the same reasons as last time].

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