History / Politics

A lesson in canvassing

A few years back, I met an old Serbian woman, who told me this story about her slightly younger days, when she was in her mid-eighties.

It was during the election campaign of 1997, and the former defence minister Alan Clark was seeking a return to Parliament. He’d stepped down as an MP in 1992, but had since seen the error of his ways and – revelling in his new fame as the country’s most popular political diarist – had secured the nomination for the safe Tory seat of Kensington & Chelsea.

So, he was out canvassing when he knocked on the door of the elderly Serb. He was no spring chicken himself by now, of course, but he was still a devilish handsome 68-year-old. She recognized him, shook his hand.

‘I have only one question for you, Mr Clark,’ she said. ‘Have you ever made love to a Serbian woman?’

And, she said, he paused, as he continued to hold her hand and look her in her eyes, before replying.

‘Not yet,’ he murmured, ‘not yet.’

‘You can count on my vote,’ she declared.



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