"Sucks up to the British more than the bloody DUP"
- he/him, she/her
The rain had stopped by that point, but the narrow hallway to the “Pepton and Treeden Constituency Labour Party Headquarters“ still smelt like fungal rot. Zoe trudged past the empty cardboard boxes scattered around the floor. No one knew where they came from, but new ones appeared every week anyway. The door to the ”meeting area”, the only room they could afford, had a A4 printout with the Labour rose logo on it. Zoe could hear a muffled discussion from behind the door. She sighed, and opened it."
Zoe came to the door of a small, unassuming household, positioned at the top of a small street. Silton, despite it's clearly quite Tory nature, was at least a place where you could tell who you might be able to swing. The unfortunate thing was, of course, no one voted for council elections anyway. A brief knock, followed by a wait. It took about a minute for someone to come to the door, someone who was clearly a teenage boy. First thing Zoe noticed was the hair. She was no stranger to dyed hair, but his was a spectacular shade of blue, and long, spreading to his shoulders. Second thing she noticed was his seeming unawareness of his surroundings. The hallway leading to the door was clean as a whistle, but the boy at the door seemed to be in the middle of something, his t-shirt on backwards, and with his shorts, quite clearly covered in paint stains.
"Hello, is your mother or father there?" Zoe smiled in what at least she thought was a comforting way.
The boy glanced around. "I'm afraid not. My mother's in London and my father's at work."
Zoe maintained her smile. Why was this kid giving so much information? "Well, in that case, could you give this leaflet to your father when he gets home?"
"He's a Tory, you know. He won't listen. But I do have an opportunity for..." The boy waved his hand wildy at Zoe. "You people. There's a climate strike planned for the local Comp, and we're looking for local political support."
Zoe's smile wavered. "Thank you, but-"
"I think you'll find that this is no small affair. We have support in the school's many consittuent cliques. Even the racist lads who kick around a football after school, you know the type, are on our side. We have potential to bring the matter of climate action to the people of Silton as a whole, no matter their..." He laughed slightly. "Political position. My name's Peter, by the way. Never liked it, always seemed a bit passé. You are?"
Zoe's smile had completely fallen by now. Kid thought himself a politician.
"Listen, Peter. What age are you?"
"I don't see the relevance of that fact. I will have you know that despite my age I am a cunning operator. For example, I know the entire political composition of the local CLP, which-"
"I have other doors to knock, Peter. I'll see what we can do about the strike." Zoe exhaled.
"Very good. And by the way, I'm sixteen. Just."
Zoe smiled again. "You remind me of when I was sixteen."
Peter looked back, blankly. "You types always say that."
The door closed. Zoe began to walk away, before turning back, stuffing a leaflet through the letterbox.
Zoe trounced onto the next house. No one was in. She kicked herself for not thinking through running leaflets on a Wednesday at 14:00. Onwards, nonetheless.
“-and I think it’s fair to say, Louis, the only people who actually care about the damn climate around here are the kids anyway!”
Mary, one of three Labour councillors in the entire county of Wiltshire, turned towards the door. “Hi, Zoe.”
Mary London was a tall, thin woman, her long hair tied up in a neat ponytail. Her clothing, neat and plain, matched what Zoe considered her personality to be, Relentlessly pragmatic to a fault. Having been the massive scalp in the only victory the CLP ever produced, Mary considered herself to be quite the operator.
“You heard about this climate thing?” Zoe said, eyeing Louis, who was massaging their forehead in stress. ”There was a kid at one of the doors who told me about it.“
Louis looked up. “Yes, I heard about it too. I think it’s important we do something about it. Not only is it party policy, it’s also just the right thing to do.”
Mary looked infuriated by this. “I’ll tell you what’s going to happen. Three kids will sit outside of school for a couple days to piss off their parents, then they’ll go back inside when it starts raining. Simple thing to do, we ignore it, and avoid pissing off every fifty-something parent in Pepton by associating their teens who won’t eat their vegetables with the Labour Party even more than they do already, and the hundred-odd people who vote in these damn things will come out for the nice clean lady who talks about how lovely the local scenery is, and how maybe it would be nice to recycle plastic bottles in the park rather than chuck it in the nearest landfill. That’s how we get things done here, alright?”
Zoe threw herself down on a chair. They usually went like this for around an hour. She wondered how much she missed.
“Jesus, are you that deluded?“ Louis stood up dramatically, to which Mary equally dramatically rolled her eyes. “This town isn’t just a mass of random old men shouting about how much they wish the muslims would go home, there’s a ton of people who genuinely believe in helping the world as a whole rather than leaving it to rot! People are out there and they’re concerned for their children’s futures, no matter whether or not they dye their hair or something. It’s very easy to dismiss everyone in this town as just more tories, but there are a significant sector of people who think that the future matters!”
Zoe, at this point, was lying back in her chair, looking at the ceiling.
”Guys. Shut up. For just a second.” She sighed. ”I am chair, technically. So if we could just keep it cool, I would like to say that Mary, you can fuck off. Louis, also, equally, fuck off. I show up to the strike, see the turnout, and if it’s significant, we endorse it wholeheartedly. We don’t want Stevens getting in before us.“ The mention of the local smug Libdem weevil who seemed to be dedicated to destroying Labour, and especially Mary, at any opportunity registered significantly on her face.
”If it’s too small, we do what Mary said, and we do nothing. We don’t denounce it, that would be insanity, but we don’t help, we don’t acknowledge, we simply don’t do anything. The kids will be fine, they’ll do things at their own pace. Understood?”
Louis seemed like they were about to say something, but they faltered, and sat back down. “Understood.”
Mary thought about it for a moment, “Fine.”
Zoe sat back up. ”Oh, Mary, by the way, can you settle something for us? Who’d be more likely to win the election in 1994, Tony Blair or Bryan Gould?“
Mary, without hesitation, immediately perked up. “Gould’s a kiwi, not a chance. Blair.”
Zoe smiled.”I fucking called it.”
Louis exhaled in amusement. “What’s her authority?”
Mary laughed. “Well, I’m the only person in this room to get elected, aren’t I?”
”I got elected as equalities chair.”
”Only twenty people voted.“
”Yeah, but I got seventeen votes. I miss John.”
The room went silent briefly at the mention of John, who had moved up the country to Leeds for his girlfriend.
”Have you talked to John recently?” Zoe said. “I should probably keep in contact more.”
Louis piped up. “He’s fine. Still a bit shaken after his dad passed, but he’s gotten a lot better. He shaved!”
Mary looked at Louis quizically. “John? Christ, I can’t imagine him without the beard. That thing got so long...”
The room went silent again.
Mary sighed. “Anyway, I have to go again, got some paperwork to do.”
”I’ll see you soon, Mary.” Zoe said. “Good to see you.”
Mary traipsed out of the room. As she left, she accidentally kicked one of the cardboard boxes on the floor, mumbling what was presumably an expletive, Zoe figured.
Louis looked at Zoe, smiling smugly.
”I got in your head. You weren’t acting as courteous towards Mary as you usually are.”
”Fuck off, Louis.”