North Norfolk is becoming both more cosmopolitan, and more gentrified. In Cromer alone, there is a restaurant for dogs, and also three gays and a black lady – it’s the Brighton of Norfolk, if you overlook the black lady, of course. The dog restaurant can be found near the town centre just past the food bank, and my little team up the Council handled the paperwork for it – we handle the paperwork for everything hereabouts, making us a great source of gossip. We even got involved in moving pieces of paper from one file to another for a recent outbreak of anti-Semitic graffiti on a bridge in Weybourne – probably disaffected Labour voters moving into the area, and therefore further evidence of gentrification. To find the presumably vegan culprit should be easy enough, although the message itself – ‘Jews Get Out’ – is baffling because there aren’t any Jews in Norfolk – they were expelled by King Edward I in 1290, and Norwich Primark is built upon the site of the old synagogue. The only Jews here now are my current girlfriend and her old dear, leading me so assume that the message was intended to be ‘Jews – Get Out More’, as her old dear can’t really go further than her garden and the recent spell of appalling weekends has seen us cooped up in our house with a toddler, which can sometimes be trying.
One of my colleagues knows Nid from Sunday School, where I taught him to sing ‘the number of the Beast is 666’ to the tune of The Wheels On The Bus for no reason other than to annoy my old dear, who takes him there after she goes to church, and prior to them having a bun and some Ribena in the refectory. By all accounts, it was regarded as a merry jape, although I am reliably informed that The Wheels On The Bus has been quietly dropped from setlist in favour of Five Little Monkeys. In case you are unfamiliar, this shout-a-long features an indeterminate amount of primates jumping on a bed until one falls off and bumps his head, whereupon Daddy calls the Doctor who says ‘No more monkeys jumping on the bed‘. I argued that anyone, of any profession, including admin staff up the Council, would offer the same advice, and that calling a Doctor under such circumstances was a waste of NHS resources. Anyway. Conversations of this calibre made me all the more astonished to find, just before Christmas, that my colleagues had nominated me as their Union Rep.
I am the most right-wing Union Rep ever. Actually, no – that was Hitler, who did this sort of thing on behalf of German soldiers in World War One. Nonetheless, having people nominate you to speak on their behalf is an honour, and in accepting the post I overlooked my traditional disdain for Unions on the understanding that none of my fees went to the Labour Party – there is a little box you can tick on the form to make sure this is the case. This is not to dismiss the Left, of course. I am above all a Democratic Parliamentarian, and although the Labour Party considers people like myself who are working class, male and heterosexual as a weird and embarrassing disease, I understand that if the Left can find a means to express itself which isn’t electorially suicidal, we will all be better off – including non-Labour supporters, whose parties would also have to work that much harder to get votes. I would also argue that anyone joining a political party should forfeit their right to vote, as they have voluntarily removed themselves from the democratic process, being that democracy is built upon the floating voter. Labour simply does not understand this. The clearest evidence for this can be found during the recent election when, with the much vaunted ‘secret weapon’ of tactical voting, it hoped to gain twenty thousand votes that it already had, instead of listening to the electorate and picking up an additional forty eight million. Make an effort, middle class chumps.
I seem to have gone off on a tangent – or, as a someone said during a meeting I recently attended – ‘a tandem’. The thing is, although I have become a minor elected representative by chance – well that, a lifelong fascination with politics, and studying for a Master’s Degree in Politics and Economics on my lunch breaks – I take my tiny little role very seriously, and shall act promptly and diligently when called upon to do so. Jesus. I hope I’m not good at it. It would be just my luck to have to reinvent the Left, and I’m busy enough as it is.
Main: Donkeys that I legally own.
Top inset: part of my workplace, the other main bits being the post room and the laundry.
Middle inset: Nid getting to grips with my Union stuff.
Lower inset: Joe and Nid mucking about in our living room. Dog also in attendance.