At Christmas I am reminded of the difference between the families we are given and the families we choose. I'm from a big rowdy family, we would be as comfortable on University Challenge as we would on Jeremy Kyle. I love spending time with them, but post Doctor Who Christmas special I will take refuge at the house of the family I choose.
My girlfriends their husbands and their kids are perfection. These women and I would die in a ditch for each other and we have the added bonus of liking each other. We can spend a morning in Costco or Ikea together without a cross word. Nothing like a bloodtie bloodbath.
We drink, we dance, we eat, we sing. No dull moment in Parliament is not picked up by Whatsapp conversation entirely in emoticons or a wildly inappropriate image popping up on my phone. They largely don't give a toss about politics only squealing about my success when James Corden mentioned me on Twitter. They are my normals. I choose them.
The Labour Party is like a real family. Like a Trainor/Phillips family Christmas, there is sanctimony, jealousy, love, laughter and the almost inevitable dust up at the end of the night. I grew up in the Labour Party, went to Women's Liberation Playgroup, every Christmas was a Labour Party party, every fireworks display or summer BBQ I attended was fundraising for the next big leaflet. We are strange bunch of people who don't always get on and we always think someone else amongst us is getting a bigger slice of cake.
We in the Labour Party, both PLP and the members didn't choose each other we were thrown together. It's inevitable then that sometimes we will fight like a family does. Granted of late it's been a bit more like Shameless than the Brady Bunch. I suppose that happens when every member of the family thinks beyond question that they are right. Perhaps we all need to work on that. Although all my life my actual family have never managed that.
The Conservatives seem quite different. They seem like a family completely polluted by their secrets and sinister behaviour, but pretending badly that they love each other. Like Twin Peaks but in crackly black and white with posher accents. Oh yes the Tory Christmas family have "full confidence" in each other for now.....
I think the true difference between the Labour Party and the Conservatives is that we actually seem like a family. Warts and all. Like with my real family, no matter what they do, no matter what strop someone pulls, no matter how many times you hear the same old story, their blood, the parties blood is in my veins. I didn't choose them, but I know that I'd rather have my lot than yours, anyday.
Merry Christmas Y'all