by JOHN O'FARRELL
"Nothing gets my hackles up more," writes John O'Farrell, "than people who should know better copping out of the political system because they think they are above it." No-one could question O'Farrell's commitment to the political process after reading this hysterical, trenchant and admirably self-aware account of 'eighteen miserable years in the life of a labour supporter'.
Born in Maidenhead to a family so irredeemably middle-class that as a student he found himself carefully punctuating his graffiti ("Jobs, comma, not bombs. Full stop."), O'Farrell maps the unglamorous underbelly of politics--the cold community centres, the estates you can never canvas because the security doors won't let you in, the pleasure to be had in aggressively doorstepping Jehovah's Witnesses. Most impressively, O'Farrell records the psychological cost of it all. "There is," he admits, "something perverse in the fact that the task of making the world a happier place required us to stop having fun." His account of his joyless, sexless, right-on youth will surely have bells jangling in many a balding graduate pate.
Growing up in a world where the Tories had trade-marked common sense, it was inevitable that O'Farrell's primary political release should be writing for Spitting Image. Now that Labour have, at terrible ideological cost, retaken the common ground, O'Farrell has turned that humour on himself. People of all political persuasions will enjoy this book.