Political Diaries: The Liberal Sub-Conservatives

Southwark Bridge - 674 x 280

The Outlandish World of Greg Goode – Pt 2

He spoke of the future and who they oppose
Of battling all evil, defeating vile foes
He pledged up their ‘Freedom’ to raucous applause
And Partisans gave themselves to his epic cause
Then as he paid tribute to those who he led
I slipped away quietly, scratching my head

His knuckles turned white as he gripped the edges of the lectern and coaxed it into life, swaying it from side to side like a giant metronome preparing to set the beat for what was coming next. As the rhythm of his lurch quickened pace, the air in the hall became hot and a low hum raised itself around the room. Without warning the speaker burst forth, spraying the waiting pew-dwellers with a million words a minute and causing the entire room to move in time with the small wooden podium. As the fervour grew, men, women and children jumped to their feet, whooping approval in a chorus that built to a deafening crescendo inside the small church.

My dear Partisans… it was an eventful evening. The little project I spoke to you about recently is underway, unfortunately, it got off to a most inauspicious start. This is entirely my own fault, I had a plan and I should have stuck to it. My intent was to educate and shed light, instead I have run into a brick wall at the first hurdle.

Yesterday I was taking an evening constitutional near to my home on the South Bank of the Thames, when my eye was drawn to a disgracefully large sandwich board outside one of the local churches. It read:

7.30pm Tonight! South Bank Meeting of the Liberal Sub-Conservatives! All Welcome!

Now, obviously I was immediately suspicious of something with so many exclamation marks… but this was exactly what I had been looking for. A small group with a potentially new and exciting message, engaging people locally. Disregarding the questionable punctuation – I immediately joined the steady trickle heading inside the church.

The building was very brightly light and modern, but there were pews, a raised stage with a small lectern, and a large sloping stained glass window casting its rays over the middle aisle. At the back of the room a well dressed woman in her early 40s was distributing tea from a large industrial urn to the expectant crowds. But before I could break in and attempt to engage with any of the other attendees, a man began to rhythmically tap the microphone and we were summoned to our seats. The spectacle was about to begin…

His stage presence was incredible, but listening to the first hour of rhetoric I would have dearly loved to have quietly slipped away. Alas dear partisans I was wedged in between a pillar and a line of five very excitable fans. This bunch were up and down like yo-yos, bunny-hopping in time to speech and singing their approval every 30-seconds or so. Any exit I tried to make would have involved a rather undignified weaving dance on my part… and so I stayed seated, waiting. After the second hour I was losing all will to live.

It’s not that the gentleman delivering this political sermon was bad, it was that he was so bad he was pointless. I had been sitting there two hours and still wasn’t able to discern a single thing he stood for. Liberal Sub-Conservatives was a slightly ambiguous name I have to admit… but by the end of the evening all I knew was that these people thought that both Liberals and Conservatives were doing a bad job and that the opposition couldn’t do any better. I was treated to a litany of faults, problems, analysis’ of past mistakes and a hearty dose of hindsight thinking. The man had nothing more to say. Yet judging by the constant yells of “hear, hear”, “bravo” and frantic clapping, I appeared to the only person who noticed.

This is not normal and is not how things operate in a working society. It’s certainly not ‘the way of the hive’. In the hive, there is an ethos of ‘problem, solution’ thinking. I don’t mean to keep harking on about the bees all the time… but they really do manage to do everything so much better than we do. Bees would never stand for this type of shilly-shallying in their meetings.

Inside the hive a chorus of buzzes all clawing for answers would have risen up and silenced such a fence sitting din. Flapping wings and honeyed antennas would have risen in unions and demanded to be given options, solutions and some good old fashioned positive thinking.

Partisans, this is the first foray into my mission. I fear for the worst, but I hope for the best.

I rolled up my sleeves and stepped into the fray
There were millions of words but nothing to say
Just clichés and nonsense and air-punching fists
Now with disgust this group’s ticked off my list
I’ll return with a vengeance, just wait and see
As I seek out a group with the heart of a bee

First published on Searchlight…


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