I was recently invited to a political event that was on a weekday mid-morning. Fair enough, says you. Not really, says me. See, this event was to launch a group which wanted to help ordinary citizens get involved in the political process. You know, the sort of people who cannot take time off work to go into town and attend political meetings in the middle of the working day. See the problem? It’s something that has always infuriated me, where paid or wealthy activists seem to miss the point that most working people (myself included) cannot take time out of our working day to attend events. We’re too busy doing our jobs.
Curiously, I don’t blame these organisations. I genuinely think that many of them believe that NGO/Public Sector/Law Library-style flexibility is standard fare with everyone else. I’m constantly being asked by people to “meet them for lunch” and seeing them embarrassed when they realise that a) not everybody works in the city centre, and b) not everybody can disappear from their job for an hour. I remember attending a meeting in the PDs of a policy committee one evening, and a very well-known deputy arriving at the meeting, demanding to know why this meeting could not be held during the day.
“Because we have to go to work” one of the activists said, very coldly (there was little FF style-forelock tugging by PD members towards the PP). The deputy went bright red. The issue was not raised again.