If I have been feeling more calm and cheerful since the new year, it may be due to any number of factors. One that should not be underestimated is having retuned every radio in the flat from Radio 4 to Radio 3. So sorry, Frank, no witty apercus on the forthcoming* election.
I used to be interested in politics. I followed general elections with fascination from the year I was nine (there were two that year). I was probably the only fourteen year old in my school who could name all the members of Thatcher’s first cabinet – and do bad impressions of her to boot (that actually must have been earlier, as they consisted entirely of saying ‘as Leader of the Opposition…’ in a nasal voice. Still, there wasn’t much entertainment on school camp and it made a welcome interlude in between renditions of Green Grow the Rushes-O).
I got passionate about politics, joined a party, became a councillor. The passion quickly faded, to be replaced by disillusionment, but the interest remained. I studied politics; I researched it, and I taught it. And now, with the possible exception of a remaining trace of psephological Asperger’s, I am heartily sick of politics. Above all I am sick of talking about it with people who have nothing new to say. I know being a doctor or an actuary or similar is meant to be a classic conversation stopper, but announcing yourself as a politics lecturer can’t be far behind. ‘Politics!’ people say. ‘Don’t get me started on politics!’. And then, unfortunately, they invariably do.
On Radio 3 there is just enough news to keep up with what is happening in the world; to be cognisant of the fact that Leon Brittan has died, it’s going to snow in New York, and David Cameron wants to reintroduce the Poor Law Amendment Act only without the comfort and security of the workhouse. And people will vote for it.
On Radio 3 you get the news, but without the dissection, posturing and sanctimonious pontificating that makes me shout at the wireless. Well, unless someone starts applauding too soon after the end of Verdi’s Requiem. There is a downside of course, viz. Schubert Lieder, but on balance it’s easier to ignore.
So don’t get me started on politics.
*Because ‘upcoming’ is not a word.