Monday, October 20, 2008

From Friendliness to Thuggery

Stephen's account of his encounters with the opposition in Glenrothes on Saturday reminded me of a couple of hostile encounters. I have to say that most of the time, especially since we've been back in Scotland, (the Chesterfield Labour Party of the 90s had its own special brand of brutishness), my exchanges with the opposition have been very friendly.

Occasionally emotions run high - I remember a Nationalist friend barely being able to look at me after their disastrous showing in the 2001 election, because she was so upset by our relative success, but we got over that pretty quickly.

The most frightening experience I ever had was in Littleborough and Saddleworth in 1995. While knocking up on polling day I came across a couple of Labour thugs who basically invaded my personal space and told me to f off out of the street - which, I am ashamed to admit, that I did. I don't know what they would have done to me if I had ignored them, but as a woman on my own, I wasn't taking any chances.

A few years later, I was on a polling station during a council by-election in Edinburgh and got completely verbally abused by a Nationalist. I think his main problem was that I existed and that I had a slight English accent from my years down south. Delightful.

In the main, though, there is a certain bond between political activists across the board - we all know what it's like to give up huge amounts of time, money and energy to further our ideals. The rest of the world thinks we're mad - and they're probably right.

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