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Time to put my mouth where our money is

I have decided to become more political. The reason for this is that people like me – opinionated, educated and middle class, have really no right not to be very political. The funny thing about me is – I never have been particularly bothered about campaigning lobbying or voting for change. Of course I vote but that is about as militant as I get.

 

I have been having a long hard look inside myself and have decided that this has to stop. Principally because of the economic crisis I think, the world needs people who have half a brain and most of their wits to get off their arse and do something to sort out the mess we are in.

 

So what are my political views? It won’t surprise you to hear that I am left. But how left?  Left middle probably. I did support the Blair government and had a limited support of the Iraq war until it became clear in the last few years that it was illegal. I cant support it any more, even if some good did come out of it. I read History at university so have a modicum of understanding about war and the catastrophe of the human condition which means that so long as man walks the earth – whether we like it or not – he will fight.  Reading history meant that I grasped that politics and politicians doesn’t ever change and that made me rather cynical and weary before Id even got to twenty five.  I then had a rather close encounter with the Kinnock election campaign in 1992 (I was dating Stephen Kinnock at the time) and got a little carried away with the idea of labour really changing things. I did actually and still do believe that Kinnock would have made a great PM, but I don’t think the English would ever have elected a Welsh PM. Anyway, their loss was a dark day for their family and for me. I ran further away from politics as a result.

 

The real reason that I am not politicised is that my parents were in a left wing cult – the Workers Revolutionary Party in the 1970’s and consequently I spent my childhood on my fathers shoulders at miners rallies or protests against Thatcher and shared my sitting room with a stack of left wing newspapers that my mother used to give out to the workers at six am at the pit head in a random Yorkshire village. This wasn’t a terrible thing, but it was all consuming and I resented sharing my parents with the entire working class.

 

My parents were upper middle class but taken with the politics of the age – the student riots of ‘68 in Paris and the idea of changing things. I still admire their idealism and also secretly admire their ability to get serious about things that matter.

Of course all it served to do in me was run another mile away from politics of any kind as soon as I could. My father was never at home and when he was he was starting political arguments over dinner. I have never liked conflict or confrontation  – perhaps because with my parents – everything was to be confronted – all the evil in the world.

 

I have lead my life as a playwright and writer taking a wide berth around and away from politics and political plays,. Instead choosing to make my point in a subtler way , choosing issues that affect us all through the drip drip of popular culture, of existentialist crisis, of a very hedonistic age.

 

I’m not saying that I wish I had been more serious because there is still plenty of time, there is also a time and a place for comedy and another for examining pain.  I have decided that I can not stand not doing anything about anything any more

 

I am going to start lobbying for the present government to be removed and another installed, I am going to start reading the political pages and not turning newsnight over in favour of Celebrity Big Brother.  I am going to put my mouth where my money is.

 

I’m not going to start writing Brechtian plays just yet, that will come in time I am sure but I am going to fight poverty, because that is the cause of most pain and suffering.   I do work with teenagers living in poverty, I teach them to write down their stories and empower them to see that they are able to re join society – a society that has cast them out – an entire generation – or two, are living as a separate underclass.

 

I am going to start tub thumping about mentoring and make people see the supressed crisis of young black males with mental health issues in the London area.  I am going to start now.  There. Done.