Tuesday, April 14, 2015

GUEST POST "You're all the same"

Katie Barron tries to canvass a particularly self-righteous suburban mum on behalf of the Liberal Democrats. Here is one side of the conversation….

This is completely unacceptable calling round at this time. Saturday afternoon is family time.

No she hasn't won anything, George. She wants to win something, that’s why she’s coming round disturbing people.

It’s not a daffodil, Maisy, it’s a rosette. It doesn't grow in the ground, darling, it’s made of cloth. She wears it to show which party she’s from. No you can’t go to the party, it’s not that sort of party. It’s a political party. No they don’t have presents. Well they’re not supposed to, although sometimes they help themselves to presents.

It’s a group of people and they want to be the government and then there are other parties and they want to be the government too and they fight it out between them. No, she hasn’t got a gun. She’s just got leaflets. George, behave! Don’t fight the leaflets. Oh I’m sorry. They’re not too dirty are they? I’m afraid they’ve got extra energy because of the rain. They’ve been cooped up too long. It’s not the best time, as I said.

Not till senior school. They do Civics in senior school. He’ll learn all about all this then. It’s the Romans at the moment.

Dictators – I s’pose they were – Frank? Frank! I thought we agreed you’d watch the highlights! Now he’s off watching his sport, might as well let the children play with their play stations. Thank-you very much. Yes alright children, go on then.

Well it does disturb us actually but thank-you for apologising.

Who was happy to see you? The lady at number five? Well she’s probably lonely.

Do we visit her? We don’t have much time, that’s why our family time is so precious. We do plenty for our neighbours anyway. Keep each other’s keys. There are a few young families in the street, we go to the park together... What do you do for your neighbours?

Don’t think standing to be a councillor really counts does it?

For the community? You politicians don’t care a drop for the community. What about school places? Why can’t they just count how many children there are and have the right number of places for them? But you’re all too busy fighting. It’s worse than little boys in the playground. Sometimes I hear them in Parliament – Frank switches it on, I wouldn’t. It makes me sick. All that braying. It’s all egos. Men, isn’t it. And now women are copying them.

 No I’m not suggesting – of course I’m not suggesting a one party state!

 No I don’t think we should copy Russia. Or Syria.

No I’m not saying we should have emperors, I’m making a serious point. Why can’t you all work together? We mums worked together on the school fete last week. It was a storming success. Made nine hundred pounds for the school. And we do it for free, whereas you get paid, don’t you. And as far as I’ve heard there are quite a few sweeteners for local councillors on top....

I’m not accusing anyone, I'm just saying that you’re none of you are saints.

I don’t think it’s relevant who I heard it from, but I have heard that some of your Liberal Democrat councillors took bribes for the development at Gnomes Wood. But it’s families like ours who’re going to have to live with the chavs.

Why d’you keep asking me who I heard it from?

Maybe it was from a Conservative. That doesn’t make it untrue.

 Yes it was on the phone.

I don’t know if I am a Conservative voter.

I don’t know why they picked me to ring. There you go with your party politics again.

 Look I’m not taking you to court –

You could take me to court? I’m not repeating slanders, I -

I think this conversation is finished, don't you? You asked me if there were local issues bothering me, I’ve told you I’m really worried about what’s going on in Gnomes Wood –

You would say that you fought it though, wouldn't you? Fact is, it’s happening, and what can you do about it?

Section what? Now you’re quoting jargon at me. It sounds impressive, but what does it mean for us?

I am interested. Are there things you could do? What is it Maisy? Well ask George for it back. You don’t need a rosette. Please don’t give it to her, it’s got a safety pin on it. You don’t have children, do you.

Fairly obvious if you don’t mind my saying so.

I didn't say you needed to be ashamed. What’s ashamed got to do with it? But maybe there are some things you don’t understand much about. You want social housing for everyone, but do you think about the effect on us, living with those people on the door step? Will I feel safe for Maisy playing in the street?

George! Where did you get that water pistol from? That’s for the summer. Put it down. George put it down now.

George – George! She’s soaked! That’s very naughty! Say you’re sorry. 

Pull your trousers up now!

Who are you calling?

The police?

An ASBO! How dare you!!

This - 'The Hertfordshire Mum' - is an extract from 'Adventures in Tory Land: Democracy in Middle England, Tales of the Canvassing Trail' by Katie Barron, with caricatures by Asbjorn Gundersen. Buy it now on Amazon.

 See more of Asbjorn Gundersen’s work,

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