Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Edge: So More4, the "Adult Entertainment Channel", Launches and We All Have to Accept, Finally, That It Is Not a Porn Channel

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Edge: So More4, the "Adult Entertainment Channel", Launches and We All Have to Accept, Finally, That It Is Not a Porn Channel

Article excerpt

Politicians are gregarious by their natures. It's a guess, but I reckon everyone in the country, by the time they reach a certain age, will have met an MP socially somewhere along the line. You can tell how posh you are by how soon it happens. If you went to a prominent public school, you'll know a member when you're 25--a golden age, still young enough to enjoy sitting in your kitchen, defacing his campaign literature by drawing genitals on his forehead. If you went to a sink comprehensive, you'll probably be 50 by the time one of your peers claws its way through local politics to the giddy heights of Westminster. If you find yourself personally known to an MP before you reach 20, this makes you outlandishly posh, and you should probably have some kind of commemorative party, featuring a chocolate fountain and swan canapes. I find myself 32, an undistinguished and not-particularly-posh age, before someone I've met has made it into parliament.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Actually, Kitty Ussher has been Labour MP for Burnley since the last election, but you don't get as un-posh as I am by paying attention. We're not friends, but we must have toyed with the idea once, otherwise what would I have been doing sitting in her room at university, while a steady stream of young women came in for their free Tampax? She was the women's officer, you see--under her pioneering influence, sanitary products were given out for free, on the basis that they represented a significant part of the student budget, yet only girls had to buy them. She faced stiff opposition to this measure, specifically from some bloke who said, in that case, could all the men be given the extra 500 calories they needed daily, and furthermore, could they have them in the form of free Mars bars?

As a thumbnail sketch, this demonstrates all the qualities I've never associated with politicians: goodwill, persuasiveness, care, a fire hydrant of righteousness snuffing out any passing--though logically sound--smart-arse. Is she very unusual? Or are they all like that when they first start out? …

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