For quite some time, my daughters (12 and 8-years old) have harboured political ambitions, and for this, I have to thank Theresa May and her less-than-great handling of Brexit.
Tuesday night my husband and I abandoned the dinner table to watch the live broadcast of the ‘meaningful vote’ in parliament, and the kids soon followed suit. They don’t get to eat in front of the TV very often, so they didn’t mind much that it was the BBC news channel and not Netflix.
Following the mayhem that erupted on the TV screen once it became clear a crushing majority had rejected the government’s Brexit deal, my 8-year old opined,
“I could do a much better job as prime minister than Theresa May,” and turning to her older sister, she added, “you could be my deputy.”
“But I already have a plan for when I become prime minister,” the 12-year old snapped angrily. If anyone was going to be a deputy, it surely wasn’t her.
Soon the heated arguments playing out on the TV screen were matched by a similar tiff in our living room, where each daughter was trying to outdo the other’s grand designs for Britain’s future. Judging by their plans to ban all sorts of things and set down a long list of requirements and possibly even jailing one or two politicians, I’d obviously failed to teach my daughters the core principles of democracy and human rights.
By the end of the evening, hubris had reached a high point in our house as the 8-year old declared she wasn’t content with taking over Britain but would assume imperial-like powers over much of the world.
“We’ve created monsters,” I said to my husband who’s only response before fleeing into his office, was, “they’re your daughters.”
Their dictatorial leanings aside, I’m glad my daughters take an interest in what goes on in Britain and the world, and I enjoy listening to their sometimes wild and crazy ideas about politics and society. In truth, given the abysmal level of political debate in Britain since the Brexit referendum, my children’s thoughts and opinions often make a lot more sense than those presented by our elected politicians.
Though, I’m not entirely convinced of my daughters’ joint plan to ban the world’s entire population from eating meat or travelling by car/bus/plane one day a week. The draconian measures they propose leave me slightly uncomfortable.
Speaking of meat, I’ve recently become hooked on vegan propaganda films on Netflix. I know, I’ve always sworn that as long as four-legged animals are walking this earth, I will continue to eat beef and lamb. But that was before I watched Cowspiracy, a documentary exploring the extent to which large-scale meat and dairy farming contribute to climate change. Never mind recycling and going plastic free, if you’re eating beef and drinking cows’ milk on a regular basis, your carbon footprint is likely to be huge.
“We need to go vegan,” I shouted excitedly at my husband as the end credits appeared on the screen. He looked at me with deep scepticism, not because he’s against veganism – on the contrary, he’s the one who’s been banging on about the need to stop eating meat – but because hearing me advocating the vegan cause was about as unlikely as Theresa May’s chances of getting her Brexit deal through parliament.
I hate to admit I ate cheese later that day although, in an effort to offset the damage, I induced my 8-year old to put down ‘beef and dairy production’ as the primary source of pollution on a questionnaire sent home by her class teacher. Using your children as a vehicle for your subversive activities, now there’s a parenting tip I can get behind.