House Music: The Oona King Diaries
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How does it feel to lose your job in front of ten million people? To ask a Government Whip for time to see your husband? To represent the Secretary of State for Health at a family planning clinic on the day you fail your fifth IVF cycle? To be loved and hated by people who don't even know you? To be the second black woman elected to Parliament? To be a Jewish woman representing a largely Muslim constituency? To be the only MP who likes house music?
A decade is a long time in politics, and in these candid diaries Oona King shows how she has changed since becoming an MP in 1997. From the intense strain on her marriage, to her desperate struggle to have a baby, Oona reveals how she chose to abandon her political ambition in favour of another: to have a life.
Cold hands. Can’t buy gloves. At 2.30 p.m., I meet with the Chief Whip. Miraculously, she’s summoned me to ask what she and the Party can do to help. At three p.m., I meet with the former Prime Minister of Bangladesh and current opposition leader. Bangladesh is sliding from a dysfunctional democracy towards a fundamentalist state, which is harbouring terror networks. I am worried for Sheikh Hasina’s safety. At four p.m., we hear that George Galloway will declare today that he’s running in
enough in the public domain that gives pause for thought about the way George Galloway chooses to operate. Once the press reported that Mr Galloway was suing me in December 2004, more and more people contacted my office with information about past events, many of them still incandescent with rage at Mr Galloway’s behaviour – even years later. I had been unaware that his career trajectory often followed a pattern: initially received with open arms by a group or organisation placing great faith in
stereo, a car, or even a house and family. He wanted a country. Was it so much to ask? Most of us never think twice about this privilege we are born with. But my dad did, because he didn’t have a country either. As a teenager I didn’t appreciate his situation at all. I understood it was sad, but no more. And I understood that I would be sent in his place to attend funerals, and see my American family, which happened about once every three or four years. Waiting for a nuclear holocaust Back in
your speech was brilliant, absolutely superb.’ I was quite pleased with that, coming from the PM, and then Alastair replied, ‘Well it doesn’t matter what he thinks anyway.’ I like Alastair’s sense of humour, when he has it. Got back to Westminster after getting out of the car at No. 10, and went straight into a meeting on funding for my All Party Parliamentary Group on the Prevention of Genocide. We need to raise about �30,000 a year. Then went into the Chamber for Parliamentary Questions, and
the likes of me during debates. By the time it’s my turn, we’re nearly out of time, so I’m always cutting my speeches to smithereens. Today I lost half of a very good speech on the problems of housing in the north of England. I told the Speaker that I was looking forward to the next life, cos in the next life, I really hope I can give speeches in Parliament that I don’t have to shred beforehand. 21 May 2002 My obsession with housing and affordable homes (lack thereof) continues. The average