The Auntie Doris Years: 1983

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Michael Foot could have become the Prime Minister in 1983. He was the last chance we ever had to elect a proper socialist. He was the last chance that we ever had to elect a proper character. A real old fashioned thoughtful, intelligent man. We don’t want thoughtful intelligent people any more. We want people who look like bank managers out of the adverts. We want people who talk like bank managers out of the adverts an’all. All hairstyle and no substance. That oily Cameron, that grinning Blair. People who have no character of their own. People who’s character has been designed by focus groups. People who the newspapers find it hard to criticise over their appearance. Because these days, no one takes anyone seriously if they don’t ruddy well conform to what the advertisers and the newspapers expect.
Poor old Michael Foot conformed to what advertisers and newspapers would expect of an unhinged old bloke, who may or may not be involved in kiddie fiddling. For a start he was even older than me… and I was 69 in 1983. His white hair was all over the place, his glasses always seemed skew whiff, and one Remembrance Sunday he turned up at the cenotaph in London in some sort of Donkey jacket, so the ruddy Daily Mail had a field day about him being disrespectful, which was nonsense. It was a cold day and he was an old bloke.
The other problem was that a load of Labour MPs who weren’t proper Socialists had joined the ruddy SDP, which was a forerunner of the Liberal Democrats or whatever they call themselves today. So half of the people who didn’t want Thatcher back in voted for them. And Thatcher was all flag waving and basking in the glory of the Falklands war. Three and a half million unemployed! And somehow we voted her back in! With such a massive majority that she could destroy a few million more lives.
Still, me and Raymond were alright. He was 71 in ’83. He didn’t have too bad a pension from the bus company, and at least the house was ours. It was getting a bit harder to keep it clean and tidy, and he was no ruddy use at all. But you sort of get used to your own smells when you spend a lot of time indoors. Our Michael told me that my house smelled like boiled cabbage. Cheeky so and so. But it probably did. We liked boiled cabbage. It keeps you loose, and I would much rather be a bit loose than all blocked up.
Our Michael was at university by ’83. The soft beggar was studying philosophy and religion. And a fat lot of good it did him an’all. He still came out an atheist who doesn’t have the faintest idea about how to string an argument together. Although I suppose I was quite impressed about what a brainbox he was at the time, I’m a bit older and wiser now, and I know him a lot better too. As well as having first hand experience of the other side.
Auntie Doris’s Top Smash Hit of 1983: “Moonlight Shadow” by Mike Oldfield and Maggie Reilly. That was a lovely song, and I still listen to it now, far away on the other side.

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