Friday, January 19, 2007

Deeply Interested In Filing

My supposed task these last few days has been filing. As an activity, filing is of the sticky residue type : the kind of thing you turn to when even stamp collecting fails to fill out your day. My problem with filing is that I tend to read whatever piece of paper I am dealing with rather than just consigning it to the appropriate Manila folder. So when yesterday I came across a folder marked, somewhat grandly, "Archives To Keep" I couldn't help taking a dip into the murky swimming pool which is my life.

The document which caught my eye was an election leaflet from the local elections held in the London Borough of Merton in May 1974. As you can see, the candidate - to be more exact one of the four candidates on the Labour Party slate, as the election returned four councillors - was none other than me. Two things must stand out to anyone who views this historical document. First, how much I looked like a convicted criminal. The look in the photograph has that element of bemused nonchalance mixed with primal fear so common in police mugshots. And second, how on earth could I describe myself as being particularly interested in local government finance? Clearly there could be no hope for such a young man. Clearly there wasn't.


  1. And I seem to remember that you spent Polling Day flying a kite on Wimbledon Common, instead of going round in a van with a loudspeaker.

  2. I must point out, that was "kite flying" in a political sense. It was the 1970s equivalent of Hillery Clinton's announcement today of "opening up a dialogue with the American people" I felt that it was essential that anyone seeking election should engage in an on-going process of idea formulation and innovative policy development.

  3. By 1974, the "marcoms" pariahs had clearly failed to infiltrate the Labour Party to a depth that would ensure such leaflets would never see the light of day and strike primal fear into the hearts and minds of a bemused electorate.

    However, a systematic analysis of the most suitable pose for such candidates over say the last century, might make an interesting addition to the coffee table book library. A project for the enthusiatic, but somewhat naive political aspiranty who turned to photograpy and writing for his salvation? Many others apart from your good self spring to mind.

  4. I have stood for public office on one other occasion to the Wimbledon election mention in the post. This was in 1970 (I think) when I stood for the Council elections in Halifax as an Independent Labour Party (ILP) candidate. As far as I know, no copy of the election phot survives, but I seem to remember a clenched fist salute on the hills overlooking the town.


History, Economics And The Price Of A New Suit

This Halifax advert from 1922 proclaims “the pound buys more at Pinders this Spring!" Such words are unfamiliar to us living at a time ...