Earliest political memory of the day #67

epm-67
I think a belief in social justice (in my non-religious home) was always the moral backdrop of my upbringing. So my first political memories are of disruption to that taken-for-grantedness. In my mind they go together but actually they must be nearly a year apart. They relate to my teacher at the time. Before the 1979 election she asked our class who we would vote for, but first raised her hand to say she would vote for Thatcher. As someone who tried hard to please the teacher I remember feeling slightly sick as lots of others in the class raised their hands. But I thought of the Labour poster on our window at home and couldn’t do it. She asked who would vote Labour, and I raised my hand along with a handful of others. I had that same feeling again – must have been nearly a year later – when Zimbabwe gained independence and the same teacher spoke about that. She wrote Mugabe’s name on the board and then wrote it backwards, ‘Eee Bah Gum’ – ridiculing his name and the idea of Zimbabwe as an independent state. I remember feeling ashamed, that somehow we were complicit, and I didn’t mention it at home for several years.

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