Confessions of a Political Nerd

April 13, 2012

People are constantly telling me that we are living in the age of the nerd – apparently everyone now loves a geek. Well, let me tell you that if you have ever witnessed the glazed mix of bewilderment and, yes, definitely pity spread across your friends’ faces as your lecture on the changing role of the House of Commons backbench hits its fifth minute, you’ll know that real life isn’t quite like that.

But I embrace my geeky side because it is part of the fabric of who I am – and if that means that I occasionally lecture my friends on the history of parliament or regale them with my best and worst moments spent at political party conferences (broken down by year) well, unfortunately for them, that’s just part of who I am.

The bigger question is, is it part of who you are?

I have put together a few simple questions to help you gauge whether your healthy interest in current affairs may be spilling over into something more sinister! Simply answer yes or no:

  • Do you look forward to Election Day like your seven year old self looked forward to Christmas?
  • Have you ever uttered the words “Exit polls are notoriously unreliable”?
  • Do you believe that politicians are, on the whole, hardworking, dedicated and honest people?
  • When you find out a piece of political gossip, does it make you feel the way Parez Hilton did when he found out that Britney had shaved her head?
  • Do you worry if it rains on polling day?
  • When you are watching a politician being interviewed on the television, do you ever find yourself shouting questions and then crossly storming out of the room?
  • Do you own the biography of an obscure politician?
  • Do you find yourself using political leanings as a way of describing other people (i.e. he’s tall, dark hair, total leftie)?
  • Do you have a favourite politician?
  • Do you update your version of political top trumps every year?

Sadly, I answer yes to all 10 of the above, even the one about top trumps! I reckon if you answered yes to six or more you are in danger of becoming geeky for government. If you find yourself in that middle ground, my advice to you is embrace it, feed it and before you know you too could be ranting on about minutiae of education/health/foreign policy to a group of people who were really only there for a quiet drink.

I am lucky enough to work in public affairs, where nerdiness is valued and helps me give great advice my clients. What would I be doing if not this? I’d probably be a hardworking, dedicated and honest politician, making a fuss from the increasingly powerful backbench.

By the way, if you scored more than eight, welcome to my world.

Emma has been working in the political communications industry for 9 years and has an excellent understanding of Whitehall and Westminster. She was involved in writing for Dods from 2002 and spent time as the editor of some of their flagship publications.