So once again it is a while since I posted. In the intervening period since my last missive, though, I have spent a lot of time answering questions from my children. They are completely fascinated by the general election! The only ones in the country who are not completely sick of the whole thing. The idea that no one knows what will happen tomorrow or who will be in charge has totally caught their imagination. I have answered questions on the 'first past the post' voting system, the unfairness of said system, the difference for proportional representation. At the weekend it was questions about coalitions and who decides. This morning we spent breakfast talking about who would be prime minister and why one should vote at all (a whole new subject!). And what is the Queen's role (!)? And 'does David Cameron even want to be prime minister again' [direct quote!]?
As mentioned in previous posts, I started my career in politics. With a politics degree and a research post with a Labour MP. I was, throughout my teens, a proper Millie Tant. On some issues, I have definitely mellowed; on others, I have never faltered.
However, since my own children started with the questions, I have become very curious about the origins of political sensibilities. My own parents were diametrically opposed. My mother has never wavered in her relatively left wing principles. My father becomes more of a walking Daily Mail the older he gets.
This morning, we had to explain to the children that we too - my husband and I - are on opposite sides of the fence. [In fact, as we live in a Tory constituency, I was cursing the children for starting this off again. I was hoping that my husband would forget to vote tomorrow - or my vote just won't count!]
Did my mother, as my father always claim, indoctrinate me for the Left? Or was it simply that my father did not offer suitable arguments? Was I genetically predisposed to sympathise with the Left? My mother's family history of Left wing activity is very strong. But then my memories of the Anglo Indian grandparents are all of Daily Telegraph reading, standing up for the national anthem, silence for the Queen's Speech at Christmas, disdain for socialist ideals. They did not waver either.
Yet to me, some thing felt wrong about their views. For one thing, I could not reconcile their innate racism with their skin colour. The kind of ideas which I was brought up with for my mother's side just seemed so much fairer and more reasonable when I was a child.
I wonder how it was in the famous Miliband household? Or the Kinnocks - their son is running for elections in Wales tomorrow? If both parents believe the same thing, you must get an extra push!
Today, all we could do was to smile when the children asked how we will vote and why. I had a rant prepared but my husband cut me off by saying that reasons are quite private! I wait with interest to see which side my children will eventually fall on but I have a sneaky hope that my Left genes have done their work.