First of all. Hello Dad, this post is about you.**
My dad is very political. He can be political about anything. Give him a sandwich, he'll make it political. As a result his kids are political. But it wasn't always this way. Us kids suffered Political Dad Trauma, an affliction which only the children of political parents can understand.
Here are the facts:
Us kids were taught to drive on the whole by our Dad. The trouble was that we rarely got over 15 mph. Why? Because our driving lessons involved stopping at every house to deliver SNP leaflets or allow my dad to canvass voters. We were great at mirror, signal manoevre, going into first, then second, then indicating in again and parking. And repeat. And again. Occasionally for variety he would let us do a three point turn in a cul de sac. But that all stopped when Thatcher alluded to the manoevre in her "The lady's not for turning" speech. To this day my parking is excellent but never come with me on a long journey. I make too many stops and can't turn round.
Made his kids deliver leaflets to peasant villages on their way to school
Election Day on a School Day? Part 1
Aside from being a political guy, my Dad is the hardest working person I know.He NEVER takes a day off unless it's for family holidays. I've never known him to be off sick. And no amount of snow will prevent him from getting into work. He should be the guy who drives the snowplough, because he always gets into work. One of our nicknames for him is Bob Sleigh. My dad could be decapitated and he'd still clock in. Unless it's an election day. Dad would take a day off on a General Election Day because there was people still to be turned, and he was the man to do it.
In the 1970s like most families we only had one family car, so with Dad off this should have meant a lift to school. Except we didn't want one. "Please don't let Dad give us a lift, Mum! We'll be good!" If we were lucky the car would just be plastered with candidates posters and stickers, possibly with one of those cardboard pyramid type billboards lashed to the roof of the Morris Marina. If we were unlucky some guy called Bill would be in the passenger seat with a loud hailer shouting slogans in between Corries tunes being broadcast to the Clydebank/Dalmuir area. "Thanks dad, but we'll walk. Good seeing you, Bill, but we like the fresh air, helps us concentrate on our schoolwork".
Knitted her kids communist jumpers and made them
wear them to the school disco
Election Day on a School Day? Part 1
Drove a Hillman Imp plastered with ANC stickersMy sister is in secondary school. She's on the top floor chemistry lab. She's probably burning part of her pencil case on a bunsen burner or testing the resilience of her DMs against various aggressive chemicals. She is jolted out of whatever it is she is doing by the sound OF HER OWN FATHER on a car roof mounted speaker system driving past her school urging the good folks of Aberdeenshire to "Vote SNP" and "Throw off the chains of Thatcherist oppression "(I'm paraphrasing). She can't remember if any of her pals recognised the voice that interrupted their lesson as her dad's as she might have momentarily blacked out.
Augusto César Sandino
Drove past his kids football match with a loud hailer chanting revolutionary songs with a salsa band
Most dads aren't known for their sartorial elegance. Unless your Dad is Prince, or David Beckham or John Taylor from Duran Duran, you might sometimes look at your father and shake your head in despair on a day out. But we can trump whatever pleated front denim or tucked in Frank Bough golf jumper your 80s dad might have sported. Our dad had, AND STILL HAS, a bright red sweatshirt with the embroidered word "INDEPENDENCE" emblazoned across the chest. Cue your red face disappearing wholesale into your parka as you walked past a boy from school you fancied whilst in the newsagents with your dad looking for a Glasgow Herald.
Had a Bolshevik logo sewn onto his swimming trunks
Mum's Gone Shopping
Sometimes my Mum went into town without us kids on a Saturday. She probably spent most of her day spinning round beaming like Maria Von Trapp ontop of a mountain. So we were left with Dad. We then grew up thinking it was normal that a Saturday treat involved a march on the streets of Glasgow against or for things or manning a stall at an SNP jumble sale. I thought Margo McDonald was a film star anyway so it didn't matter if we missed whatever our mates were seeing at the pictures that week. "So what if you saw the new James Bond, we spotted Jimmy Reid at the tombola and sold a tea-strainer to the bearded one of the Corries!"
So when we win Independence in 2014, think not of the political wind, the economic forces that provoked change, the zeitgest or the will of the people. Think of the sacrifices of THE CHILDREN WHO HAD POLITICAL DADS.
(And if we do win Independence, think of all the political Mums and Dads who gave their free time over the last forty years to change our world. We wouldn't have this opportunity without you. Nearly there, folks!)
**Dad, you are what the kids call a "ledge". Please don't write me out of the will.
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