Confessions of a Labour virgin
Wednesday 07 May 1997
Swept up by electoral excitement, I had returned to the parental home. It's like Christmas: I didn't want to be on my own in the flat on this glorious family occasion. Dad was at the polling station at ten to seven in the morning, anxious to put a cross in the box while the pencil was still sharp. Two years ago he even put Hughie the Hat - a visitor from Independent Scotland, who was sleeping in his office doorway - on the electoral roll. Hughie had had his first few tinnies when I dragged him to the poll. He can't remember who he voted for. With each shaky step he veered from "PADDY'S MA BOY" to "TONY'S THE ONE".
Every time the Tories lost a seat, Dad did an Indian war dance around the living room and shrieked, "Wipe Out!" as if he were auditioning for a Dances with Wolves sequel featuring The Beach Boys. At seven the next day, Mum ordered him to bed. "It's not fair," he sulked. "The Dimblebys haven't been to sleep yet."
Our favourite moment was when youthful beauty Stephen Twigg, an open homosexual, unseated known heterosexual Michael Portillo. When Twigg won, he had a look on his face suggesting he had won a toffee apple at the school tombola. He rolled his eyes. My sister, Dad, and I are eager to move to Enfield to be closer to him. Mum has yet to succumb. In the meantime we are planning a Stephen Twigg Web page.
To be honest, I feel torn, for I love Michael Denzil Xavier. I love him like I loved the very meanest teacher at school, who spat when he shouted and made you cry and blush at the same time. I can't be doing with that nice boy, Blair. Or so I thought, until passing Buckingham Palace 15 minutes before he was due to be sworn in, I decided to wait for him to arrive. Shunting aside babies and old ladies, I came home cooing, "He waved at me!" Such was my excitement, I persuaded my best friend, Barbara, that we are to stop lusting after actors and pop stars and become political groupies instead.
"Pop stars are always surrounded by beautiful 14-year-olds. Whenever politicians have affairs it's always with some weird 40-year-old prostitute. They'd be thrilled to go out with us."
"Great," she grinned. "I bagsy Gordon Brown."
"You can't bagsy Gordon Brown."
"Well what if he doesn't want to be bagsied?"
"I bagsy Gordon Brown or I'm not playing."
I put it to Barbara that she was the child at school who bagsied Joe Strummer, Paul Weller and Hans Solo."
"That's it! Gordon Brown is Hans Solo to Blair's Luke Skywalker. Blair's the perennial blond virgin and Brown's the moody loner. I definitely bagsy him."
"You used to love John Prescott."
"Gone off him. He looks like he's been stuffed."
Dad overhears us and tells us to stop judging politicians on their looks. So we quickly say "Twigg" and his eyes glaze over and he has to sit down and gasp "Oh little Twiggie, he's so cute."
The next day, skimming through a report about Martin Bell, he suddenly announces: "If I ever see Neil Hamilton, I shall throw a pot of yoghurt at him."
Intrigued by his choice of weapon, I look up from my breakfast of fudge cake and Cola. "Why yoghurt?"
He doesn't answer. Instead, for the millionth time that weekend, he points to the photo in the paper, where my Michael Denzil looks ready to melt in defeat like Dorothy's witch. Dorothy's friend, Stephen, beams, out of focus. Dad pats the blur and burbles: "Look at sweet little Twiggie. He's so cute," until I snatch it out of his hand and turn to the TV listingsn
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