I, alongside some of my lovely colleagues, attended a Women of the World talk by the excellent and extremely talented Caitlin Moran on International Women’s Day. Humorous, relatable and accessible, the talk about her book Moranifesto left me feeling empowered.
Empowered as a person, as a woman and, for the first time, as a political commentator. Caitlin made a point about the discussion of politics which I had long considered as impossible. That my opinion, that your opinion, was as valid as anyone else’s when talking about politics.
I have worked in PR for five years and have read, watched and consumed news from the left, right and center almost every day of that time. I am informed and am always looking to be more so and I pour over material to become an expert in different fields. I provide my advice to clients, comment with my colleagues but I, like many others, feel compelled to shy away from the topic in the pub.
The Budget is a time at Stand HQ where we combine all of our workstations into one mass of laptops in the meeting room, eyes fixed on the TV. This time it was no different. I was tuned in, keyboard poised and a running list of issues that I was expecting to see discussed. Usually we all discuss policy and announcements as they are covered – scathing reviews on certain omissions from the Budget and animated conversations about other sections (“a sugar levy, wow! *puts down RedBull*).
This time I heeded Caitlin’s advice. I no longer limited my political conversations to the meeting room and I took them home. I was going to talk politics with my friends.
So I started to, tentatively, discuss the impact of the budget and the reaction I got was brilliant. Debating, new viewpoints, agreement and tangents that were followed until the earlier hours from a starting point on the Brexit debate and ending in whether or not the top floor flat I rent would be a safe haven from zombie apocalypse.
Politics opens up discussions and you will learn a great deal from whoever you speak to about it – more so if the person has a contrasting opinion to you. The budget affects each and every one of us. More so than what happened on Gogglebox or which member of One Direction is dating a supermodel. There is the impact on our policy today, what this means for our future, our parents, grandparents and children. How long will I work for? How should I save my money? Should I put solar panels on my roof and be done with it?
Really, what I am trying to say is that somewhere between Caitlin Moran and the Budget, I learnt a valuable lesson. Talk about politics. Learn, and don’t be afraid to explore new themes. A topic that has forever felt so exclusive to me, now seems so inclusive.