Monday, 26 May 2008

Making Important Political Choices

I remember my first sensation of political distinction. It took place - as did so many formative episodes - at the bastion of enlightened liberalism that was my school (13-18 year olds).


It was during the run-up to Labour's landslide victory in 1997 (oh, the days) - and our splendidly waistcoated History teacher proposed a school mock-election.


With due solemnity, all were handed their ballot papers. Our choice: Conservative, Labour or Liberal Democrat. Hands trembling, I made my (momentous) decision - fearing all the while a Gestapo-like intervention.


It prides me to this day that my mock-vote for mock-Labour - canary in the coalmine of a deeply right-wing private school - was one of only 20 or so (in a school of six- to seven-hundred).


A little later, I was to distinguish myself similarly by professing enthusiasm for the nascent Euro. What a hero, eh? Early signs, dear reader, early signs ...


What was it, do you suppose, that prompted these bold adolescent gestures? A series of well-reasoned, analytically-based deductions? Months of agonised rumination and soul-searching?


No. Two overwhelming factors: a love of novelty and a desire to eschew the majority belief. Some might say perverse; I prefer pioneering.


These days, post-Crewe-and-Nantwich, the political climate is a mite different. Charlie Brooker, in the Guardian, writes with horror about the prospect of being "forced to question [his] cherished anti-Tory prejudice", on account of a mounting revulsion for Labour.


I know what he means. But, for me, it's less about revulsion and prejudice than (perhaps all the more shamefully) boredom and a desire for something a bit different. I'm not pro-Cameron, incidentally. But I'd definitely say I'm pro-change. The unfamiliar discomfort, though, arises with the fact that - while the prospect of political change is hugely appealing (a new set of faces and personalities, a bit o' drama, the ever-heartwarming spectacle of a lot of people getting into a flap) - the actual notion of a right-wing government is not.


Yet.

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