Thursday, September 27, 2007

First Political Memory

First off apologies for my silence recently as several other matters are currently occupying my time. Normal service should be resumed in October.

In response to a tagging by Iain Lindley on his First Political Memory, I've been wracking my brains for my own.

The first I had direct experience of was the 1982 Kenyan coup attempt which happened when my family was visiting. I wasn't even two years old but have very vague memories of hearing shooting in the street. But I can't remember anything else about it.

Of the later events it's harder. The problem is that whilst I can remember a lot of the very biggest names of the mid 1980s - Thatcher, Reagan, Gorbachev - on television a lot, I can't remember particular incidents (and those three, together with Kohl and Mitterand were all in power from early 1985 to early 1989 so memories of a summit conference can't be narrowed down by who was in and out of power at the time). I'm too young to remember the miners' strike (and grew up in a part of the world far away from mines).

So I guess my earliest substantial memory is of the 1987 general election. I remember the various leaders on television (apart from the Little David who was utterly forgettable) and being most impressed by David Owen, whilst finding Margaret Thatcher unpleasant and scary. But that was the point wasn't it? Thatcher was like essential medicine - it didn't feel nice at the time, it wasn't attractive to take but it did all the good that was needed.

I remember going with my father when he voted and then onto a bash for party workers afterwards. There was no sign of the MP, but then Archibald Hamilton was one of those arrogant MPs found in all main parties who took the constituency for granted and rarely showed his face, despite it being on a direct thirty minute train journey from Westminster!

After that I can remember more and more events - the fall of the Berlin Wall, Nelson Mandela coming out of jail, the downfall of Thatcher (in which my family were staunchly pro Heseltine - on the morning of the second ballot I was the only person in my class supporting him) and more.

I'm not one for tagging others so I'll throw it open to my readers - what are your first political memories?

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