A month ago I responded to my frustration with my own political agency and quality of conversation about the election by dreaming up #agoodquestion and writing this not-quite-a-manifesto. It was a challenge to myself but one I hoped that could be taken up by other people, and even become a thing in advance of the election.
I haven’t myself yet had half the conversations I’d hoped, not just through time but in realising the challenge in finding people different enough from you for an interesting conversation but still with a connection so that they are willing to have it in the first place. Although it’s a bloody good challenge. And my attempts to build an online infrastructure to support this spreading beyond my own networks foundered.
But the good conversations myself and others have managed have been better than good, rich and truly inspiring. There’s a good opening question that’s emerged – tell me about where you come from politically, what in your life experience has shaped your politics. Much of the conversation has been us reflecting on this opening question, trying to find the deeper influences in our lives that result in our politics, not just our voting intention but our beliefs, attitudes and confidence in our own agency inside these systems. Before finally coming up with the best closing questions we can think to ask each other.
I’ve been heartened by friends trying it for themselves. A friend tweeted this morning that she’s had many interesting conversations with family, even if one relative resulted in her shouting she’d never talk to him again if he voted UKIP.
And lovely to have turned the instructions into a recorded message for a salon hosted by Exeunt, and apparently – I was inavoidably 300 miles away at the time – a lot of good conversations then happened in the room.
This was originally conceived around the event of the election but Fin Kennedy of Tamasha suggested – in characteristically brilliant fashion – that the need for good conversation may be greater after the result of this election than it was before.
And there are plans afoot. So this post is just by way of saying: this is starting something.