Sunday, 23 September 2007

My first political memory

How Major, Attenborough, Blair, Ashdown and Milosevic turned me into a political junkie.

I've been tagged with a blog meme by Caroline Hunt. So I now need to right about my earliest political memory.

I dimly remember news stories and conversations from when I was very young (three or four). I now realise that the things I was witnessing were the 1992 General Election, the coup against Yeltsin and the war in Bosnia but at the time I had no idea what was going on, so these can hardly be considered formative.

The first important influence on my politics was an interest in environmental issues. I devoured nature programs as a child and it was not long before I became aware of the political challenges posed by hunting, the destruction of habitat and, most of all, by global warming.

The first political event that I took a real interest in was the 1997 General Election. Then as now, I was a Liberal Democrat supporter. I had been convinced by an edition of Newsround where children interviewed the three party leaders. Paddy Ashdown was clearly the only one to care about my great passion, the environment. Not that this did him much good as I couldn't vote and at my parents instructions helped to stuff Labour election addresses.

I remember the Dunblane massacre and being very keen on the hand gun ban.

What really turned me into a political anorak was the bombing of Kosovo. The war was an ideal story to draw in an eleven year old; events moved quickly, things blew up and there were clearly identifiable good and bad guys. That we should intervene to save the innocent victims of Serb aggression seemed obvious to me and I became something of an evangelist for the conflict, preaching the benefits of sending in ground troops to my classmates. I listened to tonnes of radio programs about current affairs to find out more about what was going on and what I learnt from them is still the foundation of my knowledge of political issues.

I am fortunate that throughout my life I have had parents, teachers and friends, who were willing to discuss social and political issues with me. Without them my life would have been so much duller.

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