One of the joys of travelling – I’ve been told – is meeting new people and having your perspective on the world shifted or added to. Perhaps even change you as a person (hopefully for the better). I was chatting to a carpenter in Auckland who was doing some work on my van for me. As is generally the way of conversations these days the topic turned to the current state of the world economy. He pointed out that the financial rescue packages being put together for the banks were probably being masterminded by Gordon Brown. The ex-treasurer and current prime minister. I nodded in agreement, not really knowing for sure but keeping things easy. I’ve always ignored politics because it’s always seemed too complicated to understand without devoting a large part of your free time to following what’s going on.
However Alex (the carpenter) blew this pre-conception out of my mind with a simple question: ‘so how do people feel about that?’. The simplicity and inclusion of such a statement left me reeling – I mumbled something about not really hearing much about it from the UK. In truth I’d never really considered that politics was something that could be idly chatted about over a beer (we were drinking beer) without actually knowing everything that was going on in the political arena. I am now left hoping that when I get back to the UK I can take part in this kind of gentle political discussion with my friends – who know it may actually be enjoyable!