Laura Pidcock, a new and very young Labour MP, has declared that she will never make friends with any Conservative MP. All Tories are the “enemy”. There are two types of Tory, the ones who have always been “privileged” and have no idea of what it is like to be destitute (they, it goes without saying, are dreadfully evil), and the ones who genuinely, but stupidly, think capitalism can produce answers for the working class. Her reasons for refusing to make friends with the latter group are not immediately apparent. She doesn’t seem to accuse its members of being evil, as she does the other group. She just thinks they are deluded, but genuine. Still, she is determined that she will never befriend any of them. She will be pure for her entire career in the House of Commons.
It may be, of course, that the Tory benches are not packed with men and women who are sobbing uncontrollably at the news that Ms Pidcock has resolved never to make friends with them. Indeed, my concern about her strange decision to allow politics to dictate her friendships is not in the least brought about by sympathy for the Tory MPs who are to be denied her companionship in the Commons tea room. No, my concern is for her constituents who have been sentenced to be represented by an MP who is so besotted by politics that she can’t behave like the rest of us and make friends with anyone with whom she disagrees on any subject.
I accept, of course, her “clarification” of her assertion that all Tories are the enemy. She says she is prepared to represent all her constituents, even those who voted Conservative. It is only Conservative MPs whom she will spurn.
I spent a few years working in the House of Commons back in the 1970s. One of the things that struck me, from a very early stage, was the obviously close friendships between MPs, irrespective of party. Michael Foot and Tony Benn were both close friends of Enoch Powell. The “Kremlin” (proper name the Strangers’ Bar) was packed every evening with right wing Tories and left wing Socialists all getting on together like a house on fire. I struck up quite a friendship with Sir Keith Joseph. I remember his telling me how much he admired and liked several Labour MPs with whom he disagreed vehemently.
All those MPs were members of the human race. They made friends with people even if those friends had diametrically opposing political opinions. They were just like the rest of us (I am proud, though a Conservative, to count many Socialists and even a few Liberal Democrats as my friends – goodness me, I even have friends in Ukip).
Why does Laura Pidcock think it impossible to make friends with Conservative MPs? I can only assume that she is terrified that such friendships would result in a dilution of her pure Socialist opinions. She must be afraid that exposure to Tory opinions expressed by nice people could weaken her own commitment to the revolution.
All I would say to Ms Pidcock is that she should reflect on the great Labour politicians of the past. They managed to make friends with Tories while never changing their political views. Perhaps, when she is a little older, she will have more confidence in her opinions and risk making friends with her colleagues.