Can't get there from here

An Observer journalist and photographer go in search of Middle England, and find it to be a hopeless quest.

So, one stereotype abandoned, we phone ahead to the Conservative Club in Maidenhead to see if we might talk about Middle England with a few of its regulars, and find another one. Come on over, we are told. When we arrive, however, this open door policy has been revised, somewhat.

A steward puts his nose around the door.

‘There are only three people in here,’ he explains, ‘and one disabled person, and it is against our policy to talk politics.’

But it’s the Conservative Club …

‘It’s one of our rules.’

How about if he just mentions to the people inside that we are here, and asks if they might step outside to chat to us.

That apparently is in contravention of rules, too: no mentioning.

‘Don’t get me wrong,’ he says, ‘but we have had journalists here before.’

What happened?

‘They got quotations from the people, and then used them in the newspaper.’

You wouldn’t want that, we agree.

(REM, Can’t Get There From Here)

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