In Conversation With: Mhairi Black
The Stand’s New Town Theatre, Freemasons’ Hall, George Street v7
12.00 (4 August ONLY)
What a star! I was held spellbound by Mhairi Black’s honesty and heart – her burning passion for justice and equality, her inherent belief that it is right to do everything one can to help the people around one, her strong sense of right and wrong, and who has taken her outspoken honesty into Westminster: if there were more politicians like her, and fewer idle fat cat members of “the club”, the country wouldn’t be in the mess it’s in, and people wouldn’t be being left worse and worse off by an unending stream of regulations designed to make the rich even richer and the poorer lose even the little they have…
Mhairi was In Conversation With sports journalist Graham Spiers, who wasn’t slow to encourage her outspokenness – only kept slightly in check because “my mum’s in the audience” – but who also obviously admired her political stance and willingness to challenge an institution that is manifestly unfit for purpose but is kept on the road by those members of the club who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo and thus their life of wealth, power, and privilege… I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the show: what I found was a riotous mix of humour and straight-talking – admittedly along political lines where, in Quaker terms, ‘this friend speaks my mind”. I had already been a great admirer of this young woman who was elected to Parliament aged 20: now I can only regret that I don’t live in Paisley and Renfrewshire South…
I hadn’t realised that Mhairi is gay: I was appalled by the vile abuse she receives on a regular basis, and amazed at the way she reacts to it: “I can handle it myself but my loved ones shouldn’t have to hear such stuff”. I was most impressed by her Quakerly attitude towards those with whom she has to work in Parliament – she can respect people like Jacob Rees-Mogg, who are honest in their opinions and beliefs and prepared to listen to opposing views, but has no time for people who haver and prevaricate and are, to quote her, “wish-washy”. It was fascinating to hear her opinions of Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, and Westminster itself – “defunct, not fit for purpose, and we can do a lot better” – I wouldn’t have been surprised to hear her advocate blowing the whole thing up and starting again from scratch: we can but dream….
Mhairi stood for Westminster because she was asked “if Parliament is supposed to be representing people, why are there no young people there?” and she sums up her attitude to her work as “I want to be able to go to bed guilt-free” – to know that she has done all she can to make people’s lives better. Her appearance on stage was greeted with warm and lengthy applause; her personal opinions and political stance were received in like manner; some interesting questions came from the audience; and a positive storm of applause sent her on her way at the end of an all-too-brief hour. If only all politicians were as alive, as lively, as engaging, as inspiring, and as honest….