Don’t you hate it when you don’t say any of the things you’d like to because someone catches you unprepared?
When Sir David Amess MP knocked on my door last Friday I was caught utterly off-guard and ever since I’ve been forehead-slappingly cross at myself for not saying better things to him. I suppose that is the problem with being a dithery writer and not a politician. I am not good on my feet, talking on the hoof. I like to have a nice sit down and type when I have stuff to say. I haven’t got the ease of spiel that a politician has. I am not commando-trained in on-the-spot rhetoric and bluff.
I was expecting my boyfriend to arrive any minute so the last thing I was expecting was a floppy-haired politician for whom I wouldn’t vote if you paid me a million quid. I was expecting a human I actually liked and wanted to kiss, not an elected stranger who made me do a quickly-controlled double-take of horror. I’d just got out of the shower and was in a state of ‘getting ready’ disarray – nail varnish remover soaked ball of cotton wool in one hand, my excited dog tail-wagging in the other, and was generally not dressed for greeting anyone in any capacity, political or otherwise. I certainly wasn’t primed for Sir Dave. Suddenly I was very conscious of my post-shower vest-clad boobs, and you can seldom be verbally impressive with a Tory prick when you’re willing your tits to behave.
We just stared at each other for a bit first. I’m not sure if he recognised who I was, but there was definitely an instant wall of awkwardness as I opened the door; both his smile & his pre-prepared patter faltered as our eyes locked. We’ve met a few times in less fraught political climates, and I wrote a column about him a while back which according to secret sources apparently provoked Sir Dave to ask at a meeting “Who is this Sadie Hasler?”, but I wasn’t sure if he knew my actual face. And now there’s this column too. (Hi Dave!)
The trouble is – when I meet people in person I seldom take a dislike to them. If I didn’t know who Sir Dave was; what he stood for, represented, what he had voted for and against over the years – against gay rights and marriage, against terminally ill people being given assistance at the end of their lives; voted for hunting, and for war (see exactly how Dave has voted) – what I believe his party is doing to the country, the terrifying systematic dogged and irrevocable social, cultural, political, fiscal & ethical damage I believe the Conservatives will continue to drive through should they win the election, I might even have liked him. This slightly nerdy fop-haired man in a nondescript suit being trad Brit affable on my doorstep. Simple manners kick in, don’t they. It’s easy to like most people. But instead of offering the wafty affability of a brief hostess I wish I had been better at razing his hair to trembling bristles with my left-leaning savagery instead of falling into default doorstep manners. Why couldn’t I have rankled him with exquisite eloquence like another of my friends did – who had him rock up round her gaff a few days earlier when she was wine-strong and feisty. It sounds like he probably left wishing he’d given that street a miss. Why was I just…mute?
I wish I’d been fully dressed and in verbose mood and delivered him an uncomfortable ten minute rant about all the things he’s done and hasn’t done that make me angry. That make many of my friends angry, that portion of the minority vote round here that desperately want to see him defeated. I wish I had been one of those people that are so effective at talking that I may even have made him think or rethink or feel a bit guilty about his long-reigning self-serving bigoted idiocy. It’s a nice fantasy. But in reality none of my words would have swayed him, just as none of his would have swayed me. Polarity of beliefs; natural ideological loggerheads.
So I just said “Oh. Hullo. Yes, you’re right, my dog is a cocker spaniel.” and took his clammy fliers even though I knew they’d get whacked straight into the bin in a passive-aggressive act of revolt. In short, I’m rubbish. Like, really shit. I’m properly vexed at myself. Dave, if you knocked again, I’d be much better and probably chomp your pamphlet in front of you and then spit it back out in soggy defiance.
I might also say “Why the fuck did you park in my boyfriend’s space when you could have just walked?” Seeing a Tory MP stealing a sacred parking space in infamously rubbish-for-parking Leigh makes voting Labour worthwhile in itself. Get him out.