With the title of this post and the last, people might be worried this site is going all Sesame Street themed, but no, just a coincidence.
No-one would ever call me conservative with a lower-case c, and if you thought I was you need to read the rest of the stories on this site. Politically though I’ve always been Conservative. It surprises me because people know I come from a poor background and a poor part of the world, but it’s actually always been a family thing too.
I did once vote Labour though, in the first London Mayoral election after I’d moved here. Basically everyone had told me London was a shithole, and I quite liked it, so I voted to keep Ken Livingstone. I since discovered “London is a shithole” is generally the opinion of most people who live outside the capital. But of course in 2008 and 2012 I voted for Boris, because he is basically a slapstick comedian, and throughout history slapstick comedians have generally been very smart people.
In my early years in London I decided to dabble in local politics. My only previous political experience was in Birmingham when I applied to be in the audience for Question Time. At a very inconvenient moment, I’d received a phone call from a girl asking me for some more details about my leanings and what question I’d like to ask. I had no idea when I applied for this that I’d have to have a specific question banked ready for a random phone call. I said “Um, I don’t really have anything specific in mind at the moment but I’m sure I’ll think of something.”
“Any general subject area?” she asked.
“Um…” seriously I was actually in the middle of something else.
“What about Labour, would you ask something about Labour.”
“Yeah, could do.”
I never heard from them again. In hindsight I must have seemed like someone with all the political insight of an actual piece of bunting. Shame that because I always wanted to go on Question Time. If only I’d known they’d call me up I’d have thought of a belter, but it wasn’t to be. Anyway, back to London…
I wanted to get involved in my local branch of the Conservative Party, so I made some calls and was invited along to a local meeting in Tooting. I imagined I would rise through the ranks quickly, become something of a young upstart within the party, like an older version of a young William Hague. My visionary ideas, sharp wit and oratory skills would soon wow thousands.
I arrived at the meeting, it appeared to be in someone’s house. An incredibly old woman’s house. She looked like Margaret Thatcher’s fucking grandmother. There were several other octogenarians in the house; I felt ill-at-ease but introduced myself anyway. Gradually the meeting filled up. By filled up I mean a few other people arrived, including a couple of young men in glasses and sweaters; I say young I mean that comparatively, they were in their sixties.
I was the youngest person there by about 30 or 40 years. The men all looked like retired accountants, and the women all looked like … well, old biddies.
Some tea was had. Well we tried to have tea but the woman serving was so ancient when she tried to pour it it just went all over the place. There were several awkward silences. There is no more awkward silence than the kind where the only noise you can hear is that of china cups rattling on china saucers. I half-expected a T-Rex to show up.
We got down to business. Business seemed to involve going over the business of the last meeting, and then trying to think of some business to discuss this time. It was hardly a weighty political debate. The biggest discussion of the evening was whose turn it was to take the minutes. I think it was all over quite quickly but it seemed like an eternity. I got out of there as quickly as I could and ran home. This had not quite been how I’d have imagined it. Rising up in the ranks of the party seemed easier than I thought, I was the only one who could get out of a chair unassisted…
A week later I received a letter in the post. It was the minutes of the meeting. I got name-checked twice. First as a welcome to the new member. Nice. Second time was in the last line of the minutes:
“And as discussed and agreed, Mr Alan McCann is to be the new treasurer of the branch.”
What the fuck? This was never discussed? Or agreed? I wanted to make progress but not that fucking fast! When was this agreed, after I’d left? Admittedly due to my age I was the fastest one out of the door, did they discuss this without me? “Oh he seems a nice lad, let’s make him treasurer. Put your false teeth in the Yes bowl if you agree and the No bowl if you don’t”. And what treasury was there? What have you got in your big red briefcase Chancellor McCann? Why it’s a box of custard creams and a book of crossword puzzles. There were no expenses here except the tea and biscuits. They didn’t even post the letter to me, it was hand-delivered; which explains why it took a week to arrive, it took Margaret about ten minutes just to answer the door to me!
I never went back, nipping in the bud a promising political career, and prompting a by-election for the post of treasurer…