Doing my bit to become a Green Party ‘paper candidate’, the euphemistic term for someone who’s on the ballot paper to make the numbers up. It appeals to my interest in always providing an alternative, visibility above all. If I have one message to the world, one maxim, it’s ‘other experiences are available’. Likewise my agreeing to stand as a candidate. The vanity factor is a given. Of course I love the idea of adding ‘have stood for government’ on my inner CV. Who wouldn’t?
Anyone who wants to be a local councillor must collect ten signatures for their ‘nomination papers’. The signatories must be on the electoral roll of the ward I’m standing in, ie Highgate Ward. Annoyingly, there’s another Highgate Ward within the Camden Council area, as opposed to Haringey Council, who preside over my street. You’d have thought the people in charge would’ve come up with different names to avoid confusion.
In fact, it’s a subject in the London-centric news today. Someone somewhere wants to rename Archway tube station as ‘South Highgate’. It also turns out that the bit I live in, near the Highgate tube station but away from Highgate Village, is sometimes considered to be ‘North Archway’, or ‘Archgate’, or even ‘Highgate Slopes’. Typically, this is all to do with house prices. Change the area name, and you change the asking price of a house by some ludicrous percentage. The very word ‘Highgate’ is worth so much extra tens of thousands of pounds. While ‘Archway’ has the opposite effect. For all my arch Telegraph-reading and Marks and Spencer-loving affectations, I find it hard to feel anything but a radical Marxist whenever the subject of the house prices game is broached. Greed as an institutionalised virtue. Keeping people very much in their place, literally. There’s a TV programme about house-hunting called ‘Location, Location, Location’. It’s fair to say it’s not produced by representatives of Shelter or The Big Issue. Still, I’m sure if I ever get in the position of actually having and earning money, this would be a different diary entry.
Pop round to Tim Benton’s to get his signature. I’m trying to get people I know rather than knock on doors, mainly because if someone grills me about The Green Party, all I want to say is ‘if I get in, everything will be better… dressed’.
I think I’m too timid to be a real politician, because I ultimately want a quiet life with no arguments. Still, if that last statement was suddenly adopted in troublespots around the world, it could only make things better.
If I’m at a dinner party, and people start talking about Israel and Palestine, I tend to get my coat and leave. It’s just pointless: 99% of arguments over such things are never really resolved. It’s just a kind of showing off. Even marches and protests are essentially saying ‘we’re showing off against your showing off.’ It’s all a version of people – usually men – waving their genitals in others’ faces.
Things You Seldom Hear: “Yes, you’re right. I admit my stance on Israel-Palestine issues is wrong.”
All is ego, all is vanity. Even war. To be an honest narcissist (or even, a shy / sly narcissist) is the only way.
End the evening with a drink with Martin White. Entirely pleasant, entirely optimistic and forward-looking. The only way to be.