I think I subconsciously thought that was politics were there to be outgrown. That the passionate debating of sixth form, and fierce convictions of the Uni years were a phase, to be hung up alongside the moth-eaten cardigan and the incense sticks, once adulthood beckoned.
I think I subconsciously agreed with that old quotation (which, when I have googled it for proper attribution, seems to have a more complicated ancestry than an Eastenders’ character) which goes something along the lines of “if you are not a socialist when you are twenty, you have no heart; if you are not a conservative when you are forty, you have no head”.
I’m not forty yet, but I’m fearing for my head.
I would have few problems with “conservative”. I have stirrings within me which (self-interest aside) can only be accounted for by an increasing value placed on such hoary old chestnuts as family, faith, continuity, security.
“Conservative”, at least the 2012 vintage, is something else entirely.
It’s the first time in my adult life that I have had to contemplate an ideology, utterly opposed to what I feel instinctively to be right, not only reducing entire groups of society to destitution, but smearing them and lying while doing so. I could live with austerity (as a German-speaking wannabe Hausfrau with a good line in thrift, it rings all sorts of (well-kept) bells), but not a bare-faced dismantling of support for decent people who have done nothing wrong at all, at the same time as a funnelling of cash into the pockets of those who, on the face of it, seem improperly close to the funnellers.
So I read, and I fume, and I fret, and I’m driven, uncomfortably, to get back into those politics after all. Gauche in all senses of the word.