For someone who was doing his very best to not write about the forthcoming election, I’m not doing too well. With my actual job, my freelance work, running The Beestonian and spending as much time I can with my beautiful son, I don’t really have time to write.
Yet I’m finding time today after one of the most revealing, nasty thing happened courtesy of Anna Soubry, who, as readers of this blog know, is no fan of mine. I revealed recently that she actually living in Leicestershire, despite promising many many times to move to Broxtowe. This has, I hear, really got under her skin.
I was taking my son for a walk in Beeston today, picking up the new copy of The Beestonian and generally enjoying the summer weather. I saw Soubry on the High Street. This is like Bill Oddie spying a dodo in his back yard. She’d actually deigned to descend on the town she clearly dislikes.
I thought it might make an amusing photo op, so i popped into Poundland and picked up a white board, wrote ‘LIVES IN CHARNWOOD’ on it and asked my friend Christopher to take a photo of my holding it behind her. He agreed, I stood a few feet to her rear and the photo was taken. At this point she span round, recognised me then said something quite extraordinary.
“You’re a horrible man. You’re horrible to everyone. You’re very horrible to you mother”
I best give some context, without washing too much dirty laundry in public. A few years ago, I decided to cut off contact with my parents. This was a very tough thing to do, but a necessary decision. Years of emotional abuse and a childhood of physical abuse had done a lot of damage, and continued to eat at me. Having a clean break was startlingly effective. I have only just really started exploring it in my head. Having my own child has given immense clarity: I was terrified of having a boy in case I was to him what my parents were to me. Man passes misery on to man / it deepens like an ocean shelf, as the Humberside miserabilist had it. But when he came along, my past fell away, and my future began. I loved him with every fibre of my existence, and that has only grown. My life would course differently. No ocean shelves of misery, no punches and kicks. I could only see love, pure love. I was cleansed of my past.
But to Anna it is fair game. Back in 2015, she mentioned my mother on social media on knowing it was a raw point. I wrote to her asking her to decline, as it was a low blow. She told me to man up.
So I was on the street, trembling with rage. What sort of person sinks that low? I decided I had to get her to clarify it, so I started filming on my phone and approached her again.
…and shot five seconds of my feet before mistaking the pause button for the record. I will instead give an account in words.
I approach the shonky politician “Anna” I ask her “Could you explain why you bought my family up just then? Why did you do that?”
Anna sees me, and turns from the camera. First for everything, I suppose.
I ask again. Her activist goons start crowding round me, trying to block the camera and telling me to move on. But I need an answer. I need to know why she feels she can do this to people.
I do a rather deft feint, and sidestep the blue-rosetted huddle trying to get round me. Suddenly I’m face to face with her. Her face contorts into a sneer. That often sounds a bit over-dramatic when people say that, and often refers only to a half-smile. But this is a sneer, a full, nasty, incisor-glistening sneer “Why don’t you get a job, you horrible layabout?”
Well, I have a job. I have several jobs, and have to now turn down work. I tell her this and she says ‘A real job, you lazy boy”.
I aspire to laziness, I really do. As it is, I’m up at dawn with the baby, work all day then do my share of the cooking and cleaning when i get back. I also run the magazine, contribute to a podcast, run local charity events, oversee several online community forums, volunteer for the local Civic Society, and lots of other stuff I could be doing now instead of typing this.
I ask her to retract what she said about my family. She calls me a ‘loony’.
“Your mother has every right to think you are a despicable boy” Boy! I’m 43. The condescension is strong on this one. I am agog.
“I’m going to call the police” she tells me “They’ll have fun with you” (?)
I tell her she can call them, but first will she retract.
“You’re not worth it, rubbish like you” she shouts back.
Her activists are now crowding round me. One tries to be ultra-reasonable and ays ‘You’re obviously upset” and tries to shepherd me away. Another digs me in the kidneys from behind, making me jump.
I decide that i am not going to get an answer from her, and I am upset and shocked and utterly not going to get any form of apology for a remorseless, nasty Soubry.
The activist goons help speed me away. I can’t help but swear at this point “You’re a shower of shit” is my rather crap parting shot.
I go off and see my wife upset, as she can see what happens. We find coffee and a sit down. I go to check the footage. My mouth dry with fading adrenalin. I discover i can’t work my new phone and the footage is of my, appropriately enough, foot. A wave of depression blacks over my mind. It lifts when I later feed my baby, and I realise that I am blessed.
Soubry? I pity her. She is so lost in her nastiness, her sneering, senseless nastiness she shows how perfect she is in a party that uses hate, smears and fear to rouse their voters.