Magazine article The Spectator

Real Life: Melissa Kite

Magazine article The Spectator

Real Life: Melissa Kite

Article excerpt

The 'I'm Voting For Chuka' posters in my rich neighbours' front windows pushed me over the edge. There is nothing so likely to galvanise one's inner Tory than the sight of the biggest, poshest houses in the neighbourhood displaying left-wing conceitedness.

'Of course they're voting Labour, they're the only ones who can afford to,' said the builder (boy)friend, who had popped round to my house for supper. I know, I know. It's confusing. But we are always going to be on-off, so everyone is going to just have to deal with it. And he is a beacon of common sense at election time, I can tell you. Just the sort of instinctive working-class right-winger you want around when the privileged lefties are marauding in the streets waving banners protesting about democracy when it delivers a result they don't like.

Before the vote, he was wonderfully reassuring. I had been conflicted about this election, you may remember, because of HS2. By backing Cameron when he's putting a high speed rail link past my parents' back garden, wiping the value off their home and, so far, denying them a penny in compensation, I am effectively making myself the proverbial turkey voting for Christmas.

If and when my family used their stubby pencils to put an x in that particular box it was going to cost us the better part of half a million quid. I'm not sure what my parents did in the end. I haven't dared ask. They were extremely upset about the whole sorry dilemma.

But it was the Chuka posters that clinched it for me. There they were, bright yellow and red Vote Labour signs displayed in the windows of some of the swankiest houses in south London.

I used to walk past and stare into the windows, hoping to get some clue as to the sorts of people who were living in such a strange state of psychotic denial. Most of the houses looked to me like they were pushing towards the £2 million mark, thus qualifying them for Miliband's mansion tax. As I stared into the hallway of one particular 'mansion', clocking a rack of posh coats and a long, elegant umbrella, I turned to the spaniel and said, 'What are these people on? Is there something in the water round here?'

It occurred to me that I may only still be sane because I never drink from the tap, being addicted to Highland Spring. …

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