New Statesman | Jeremy Corbyn is a risk the middle-class can afford to take


I know I’m middle class, because the day I needed to claim benefits and burst into tears because the queue was too long and I knew I would be going home without the money to pay the overdue electricity bill, the security guard took me aside and told me that if I came back early the next day, someone would be able to see me. I know the family in front of me were not middle class because the buggy they were pushing was a lesser brand than the one I was pushing, and because they were smoking, and because they had strong Sheffield accents, which I heard when they started to remonstrate with the security guard about the special treatment they (rightly) suspected I was getting. I hurried away, their threats to give me a good slapping echoing behind me.

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The unpacking

From the age of ten to 20, I wrote a diary most days. When each volume was full of scratchings, I’d put it away – first on a shelf, then as I got older and more privacy-conscious in a drawer, and eventually in an old leather suitcase that I could keep clipped shut on top of my wardrobe and out of my eyeline. When my childhood bedroom got dismantled and my effects put into boxes and stowed in the spare room, the suitcase went too. Continue reading

Snooze button

All the best things happen when everyone else is asleep. That’s what I used to think, anyway – that by straining myself to stay awake past midnight and sometimes through to dawn, I was accessing a special realm of secret genius. It wasn’t yesterday and it wasn’t tomorrow, it was just mine.

In my four-channel youth, the best films were on TV at antisocial hours. (Well, the most antisocial ones, anyway, and that’s about the same thing.) The best radio shows carried you past 12, and then there were all the other furtive teenage things to do – that, obviously, and reading difficult and dirty novels, and filling endless sheets of A4 with my hormonal inspirations.

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