Generation Games – and what to do when you find out your mother voted for UKIP

A photo of my two youngest kids looking boreda screen with a black and white image of Muffin the Mule on it

This weekend I took the kids to see Muffin the Mule. As you can see they were transfixed. Not.

They were more impressed by Thunderbirds, and they quite liked the Magic Roundabout too. Basically the idea was to go to the fabulous Media Museum in Bradford with my mum and show them the kind of programmes she watched as a child. Anyone spot the fatal flaw in my plan? My mum did.

When my mum was a child there was no television.

Yup. The first thing she ever saw on the telly was the Coronation, and by then she was a teenager. No problem in the Museum as we just watched all the programmes she and I watched when I was a child and a good time was had by all, but it did really make me think how things have shifted in a couple of generations. My mum had no telly and my granddaughter can use an iPad at 2 and a half… Such is progress?

My mum grew up with no telly – no wonder she sighs with despair every time the kids just turn on the box rather than have a conversation with her. No wonder she is so fond of Scrabble!

Preparing for Mum’s visit set the tone for an early #DoDiffDaily: on Monday I came home from a weekend away and before opening the computer or the post I tidied the living room for an hour and a half so when I did sit down it was to clean not clutter. Some how tackling the rest of the house cleaning was easier once one room was almost sorted.

I love it when the house is clean and tidy. It makes it easier to think, to rest, to be. A cluttered house, they say, is the sign of a cluttered mind, and I seem pathologically unable to keep things tidy for long so lord knows what that says about my mind.

I had to keep my mind in check a number of times over the week – and my tongue too. One day I posted “Today I have tried to bite my tongue – not always successfully! (Well, my mum is here…)” as my #DoDiffDaily. I couldn’t express in a simple Facebook post how hard it was for me not to kick off big time on finding out my mum had voted for UKIP.

I believe in free speech, I believe everyone has a right to think and do as they wish as long as it doesn’t directly harm others. I believe in a free vote and in all that stuff, yet I was embarrassed and ashamed of what my mum had done. I felt responsible – if only I saw her more, talked to her more, perhaps I could have explained just how negative and invasive UKIP are as a party, how their growth shames us all as a nation.

I didn’t kick off, but I did struggle to keep calm. It was the usual thing, my emotions were all about me and not so much about her. It was my anger, my guilt and my conscience that were stirred. Mum was doing what she felt best for her. I’m not saying she was right – far from it – but she is entitled to vote how she wishes and if the Left has failed to make a credible case for her, sadly she has the right to go as far right as she wants. That’s democracy for you. And everyone who votes for them has kids, partners, family too – very few people are an island, alone.

Maybe the swing further right should have been expected. My family voted Tory as far back as I can remember although my Dad used to vote Labour as a young man (he always used to say if you vote conservative and you are under 30 you have no heart and if you vote labour after 30 then you have no sense). Mum lives near Margate and is 78 – finds immigration and the failing NHS hard to deal with and reads the Daily Mail ‘for the crossword’.

We had some good conversations about politics this week stemming from this – and from the fact the EDL were protesting in Bradford the day we went in (ironically making our time at the Media Museum even more brilliant as there were so few people around and no queues). We did ask Mum if she wanted to join them rather than come with us to the Museum…

So, what am I going to do as a result of this revelation? The only thing I can do is control my own actions. I’m going to keep posting my mum everything I can find on why the Daily Mail, UKIP and others are negative influences, I’m going to talk more to her about politics and the impact of policies on real people and I’m going to up my own political action so I feel less guilty next time there is an election and I find out how my mum has voted.

a bowl of seafood

With my mum staying, some of my other #DoDiffDaily’s were a little ‘lightweight’ as time was stretched – did manage to eat heritage purple carrots (they turned Maddy‘s mouth purple) and razor clams (which I’ve wanted to try after seeing them twice on cookery shows in the same night – absolutely delicious).

I also went and got my eyes tested – yes, I’ve done that before but I’ve never seen the inside my eyeball. Sadly, the upshot of the session was I need both reading and distance glasses so slightly less happy about that.

Finally this week I attended a meeting and managed to challenge the chair within 5 minutes of the meeting starting. I didn’t do it on purpose, it was just a natural response to what they were saying. I think I really have lost my sense of fear of people who are ‘bigger’ than me. Well, all apart from my mum…

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