There's a knock at the door. It's our neighbour's son, Harry. Hardly recognised him. He used to be such a nice polite young man; you know, just your ordinary, run of the mill angsty teenage kid - skinhead haircut, swastika neck tattoos, bovver boots and a dog-eared copy of 'Mein Kampf' and Skrewdriver LP under each arm. Seems he's fallen in with a bad crowd of late though, or something. Probably just a phase, but unless I'm very much mistaken he's been flirting with extremism - and, judging by the Jesus boots, chunky sweater and ginger sideburns - he seems to have embraced a particularly poisonous brand. Poor parents. Must fair break their hearts. Imagine putting in all that hard work and effort, raising a kid as best you can only to see them grow up to become a liberal democrat.
Indeed, the kindle edition of the Guardian he repeatedly waves under my nose during our fractious exchange, jabbing a grimy-nailed finger at it occasionally for emphasis, is a dead give away - as is the decidedly macro-biotic aroma emanating from his pullover. Sure enough, once he's spent a good quarter of an hour castigating the previous administration for bankrupting the Treasury and embarking on a Churchillian soliloquy about serving the national interest, it becomes evident that he's not only gone lib dem but seems to have headed straight over to the most mentalist margins of the hardest of the hardline deficit reductionistas. I just let him rant on, shuffling nervously in a vain attempt to hide from his vision the antiquated 'Don't blame me, I voted Liberal Democrat' sticker I keep forgetting to scrape off the porch window. In the end, I'm left hoping that the elaborations of a luminous marker on the nearby 'Justice for Blair Peach' poster will provide sufficient distraction - indeed, I find I'm particularly drawn to a rather buxom looking, pink (I'm assuming) peach myself. Tragic case that. Wonder if he's out yet?
After a lengthy deliberation on Nick Clegg's current initiatives to put an end to century's of racism and the difficulties of getting the banks to lend to small black businesses "...frankly, they just don't *want* to work, some of them..." he finally gets to the point. Which is, basically, you know, am I interested in joining in on any of the Big Society initiatives that are going to be starting up in the neighbourhood shortly? And can he consider me to be sufficiently won over as to be one of his Champions?
It's hard to know what to do in these situations, isn't it? I mean, part of me just wants to nut him one and ask him to bring his pal Vince over for some of the same. Incidentally, and straying from the point at hand briefly if I may, is ours the only home in the United Kingdom in which 'laying a Vince' is a long-acknowledged euphemism for a particularly extensive bowel movement? I sincerely hope not. Anyway, as I say, the initial response is the desire to deploy blood curdling violence, but then the fruits of all those hours of zen meditation and mindfulness mantras kick in and I am able to take a more enlightened and karmically beneficial position. So, in the end it was all agreed. I start on Tuesday. A full weekly wash, polish and valet service for Vince Cable's government limo. Four hours a week, with time off for good behaviour. Still, could have been worse; Danny Alexander has a pathological fear of body hair, apparently...