Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Party party

I went to a marvellous party given by a friend who likes Labour. She likes Labour so much the highlight was her children playing "Bash the Tory pinata" as a papier mache concoction of Boris and Dave exploded in a haribo shower. For her politics is fun.

Also at the party was a young Labour activist. He was good looking, even if all his clothes felt a bit tweedy/flanelly/corduroy, and he had that vibrant passion about politics that 19 year-olds have. For him politics was decidedly not fun. We'll call him Blairette.

My feelings about politics have always been summed up by Bridget Jones:
"Labour stands for the principle of sharing, kindness, gays, single mothers and Nelson Mandela as opposed to braying bossy men having affairs with everyone shag-shag-shag left, right and centre and going to the Ritz in Paris then telling all the presenters off on the Today programme."

I'm not really a details person. It's curious the way people are polite at parties - in that we tolerate people being very rude to us but go out of our way to avoid giving offence back.  Blairette was thundering away about how Boris was an evil, crypto-fascist Murdockian running dog (gawd, student politicians sound the same now as they did in the 90s). I casually said I thought he was actually rather endearing, and pointed out that, if Ken had got stuck on a tripwire, we'd have seen a massive sense of humour failure, rather than a grown man valiantly waving a flag and doing Thomas The Tank Engine impressions.

I did not, at any point, say I thought Boris was the best thing since sliced oxygen. Just that he was fun and handled bad situations well.

BLAIRETTE: (a hiss of denouncement) "Did you vote for him?"

ME: "No. I voted for the nice lady who is dressed by her cats. But I put Boris second."

BLAIRETTE: "That makes you a fellow traveller! The Greens don't count! You're voting for the Bullingdonian Enclave!"

ME: "Actually, I was just making sure I wasn't voting for Ken. He's the kind of boyfriend you'd have help arrange you a mortgage, whereas Boris is the one you'd got out for dinner with."

BLAIRETTE: "I'll have you know that Ken wrote a restaurant review column. It was very entertaining, actually."

ME: "Well, I'm not sure I'd eat at a restaurant he liked-"

At this point Blairette dismissed me and starting urging my friend to back his tabled point of order at conference, which, if passed would allow people to not only table points of order but also clarify a  mandated speaking point when tabling points of order. "It'll blow the place apart!" He really figured this nonsense really was the way to enhance the unions, grow power, and make people vote Labour again.

I found it all baffling, tiresome and sad. It's tedious being lectured on politics by a 19 year-old expert. It also made him quiet hard to fancy (I bet even his undercrackers were corduroy). My last encounter with Labour Activism was at a car boot sale where a book stall was manned by two very bright gay young things who urged me to attend meetings with the promise of free tea, biscuits, and a throupon in the disabled loos. The thing they remembered was that politics is supposed to be - just a little bit - fun.

That's why those of us who blithely voted Labour in 1997 voted for them - because it felt like we were putting the fun people in charge. And it's why I now find it so hard to vote for them. They started hanging out with weird friends, then doing hateful things, and finally, they became dull. Even the sexy ones.

The other thing was realising I was being lectured on why it was my social duty to vote Labour by someone who was 5 in 1997.

1 comment:

JahTeh said...

I am stunned, a 19 year old who knows there is such a thing as politics. I'm sure we have them in Oz but most would only find out if Parliament voted to shut the pubs.