The LDV Friday (ish) meme: political firsts

by Stephen Tall on May 16, 2009

Welcome to the second in our series of LDV Friday memes coming to you today, erm, Saturday. Ahem. Anyway, here goes…


First political memory

I can recall waving an old-fashioned white dishmop from the window of my grandparents’ house, and calling out, “Look, it’s Michael Foot!” I’d have been about four. After that, the next memory is the miners’ strike, and my parents impressing on me the importance of turning out the lights “so that Arthur Scargill doesn’t win”.

First time you voted
Local elections, May 1995 – Church Ward, Sefton Borough Council, Liverpool. (I voted Labour.)

First party election broadcast you remember watching

This one:

First political poster/advert you remember
Again from the ’87 election, but this time a Tory one… “Labour’s policy on arms” – cue picture of a camouflaged soldier with their hands up. No idea why it stuck in my mind, but 22 years on I guess that’s the mark of an effective poster.

First party conference attended
I was a late developer, so September 2006 (Brighton) was my first Lib Dem (or indeed any party) conference – the first after Charles Kennedy’s resignation, that was the year we ditched the party’s commitment to a 50p top-rate tax. And, ahem, the first Blogger of the Year prize was awarded; but it wasn’t all plain sailing.

First politician you met
David Alton – he was the local MP where I went to school in Liverpool, and he took us on a tour of the House of Commons (much smaller than I was expecting). Actually I can also recall the poster used by the-now-Lord Alton in one of his election campaigns, “Everyone knows someone who’s been helped by David Alton”.

First canvassing experience
Temple Cowley by-election on Oxfordshire County Council, autumn 1999. I imagine I was spectacularly hopeless, having barely a clue what the county council did, and not at that stage quite understanding canvassing is about voter identification rather than conversion. But I enjoyed it enough to try it again the next year – for my own local election campaign.

As ever, all Lib Dem bloggers are welcome to carry on the meme. But I’m going to tag specifically this week’s Golden Dozen bloggers: Colin Ross, Charlotte Gore, Paul Walter, Darrell Goodliffe, David Boyle, Alex Wilcock, Joe Otten, Stephen Glenn, Northants’ Liberal Youth and Amy Kitcher.

And, please, any ideas for next week’s meme…?

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Dear friends I would like to bring to your attention the hypocrisy of BNP leader Nick Griffin. While calling out Labour MPs for being gay on a homophobic page on the BNP website. We find Nick Griffin has his own hidden homosexual past according to the ex leader of the BNP John Tyndall. On the web pages of the now dead former BNP leader. http://spearhead.com/0310-jt2.html

Maybe Nick Griffin should come clean about his relationship with a former high ranking National Front official, Martin Webster. Before he starts looking into the beds of Gay MPs?

What follows is John Tyndalls own questioning report on the Nick Griffin gay story!

Well, it is interesting to learn that Nick Griffin these days considers defamation of himself a cause for action against the defamer, for this did not seem to be his attitude back in 1999, when a former high ranking National Front official, Martin Webster, put out a circular alleging a homosexual relationship between himself and Griffin back in the late 1970s. Webster, in doing this, challenged Griffin to take him to court for libel if the allegation was untrue. Griffin declined to do so, arguing that as Webster was a ‘man of straw’ he would not get any damages off him. This completely side-tracked the main issue, which was not one of money but of the personal honour and reputation of the leader of the BNP, and thus of the BNP itself.

But it was not only Webster whom Griffin could have sued. The story was covered in both The Sunday Times and Searchlight magazine, in the latter case being written in tones which gave credence to Webster’s claims. Neither of these publications are exactly without assets, and Griffin could have got tidy sums off them had he taken them to court and won.

But he chose not to – which makes it strange that he is now so sensitive to imagined ‘defamation’ by me and has had me hounded out of the BNP for my troubles. As to whether Webster’s story of a homosexual affair with Griffin was true or not, I simply don’t know.

Maybe we should help bring him out the closet

by Sarah Bradford on May 16, 2009 at 7:52 pm. Reply #

And this relates how exactly to the original posting?

Post your own story, I’d suggest, rather than tacking this on to something unrelated…

by felix holt on May 17, 2009 at 12:58 am. Reply #

I hope you don’t mind if I answer the meme here, as I don’t have a blog of my own (yet!).

First political memory
Mock general election at middle school in 1997. I thought the Labour candidate was lazy because she had only put up one poster and voted Lib Dem instead, along with fifteen (!) other pupils. (Labour won by a landslide anyway.)

First time you voted
In a real election, 2006 local elections in Oxford (I was a month too young to vote in the 2005 general election). My first general election was the September 2006 election in Sweden (I’m a dual citizen and was on my gap year in Sweden).

First party political broadcast you remember watching
No one broadcast in particular, I’m afraid. I remember we watched several PPBs from 1997 in English class at school a few years later – the Lib Dem one revolved around a Punch and Judy show (Labour and Conservative dolls bashing each other). “Conversations with Nick Clegg” is an improvement! (John Cleese’s above is great too.)

First political poster/advert you remember
Michael Howard’s “Are you thinking what we’re thinking?” posters for the 2005 general election. Enough said.

First party conference attended
The Liberal Youth of Sweden conference in 2007. I haven’t yet attended a Lib Dem conference – an omission I plan to rectify this autumn.

First politician you met
Andrew Smith, Labour MP for Oxford East, visited my middle school in 1996 or 1997. He’s always struck me as a decent and honourable man – an impression he reinforced by voting with the Lib Dems on Gurkha rights this April. The first politician I actually had a conversation with was Catrine Norrgård, a Liberal parliamentary candidate for Gothenburg in the 2006 Swedish elections.

First canvassing experience
Last Tuesday in Castle ward, Cambridge, canvassing for Belinda Brooks-Gordon, our candidate for the county council. My patch had a resounding victory for the “out” party – that is, out of the house and not answering the door!

by Niklas Smith on May 18, 2009 at 11:10 am. Reply #

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