I’m hoping my son, aged five, has the makings of a political commentator | Séamas O’Reilly

Sometimes I think it would be handy to have a child who says politically astute things that I could share around election time. That’d be a nice little earner.

I could just lie, of course, in the manner of those people who post things like ‘Polly (3) just said proportional representation would have solved all our problems had it not been so closely tied to the Liberal Democrats during a period of particular unpopularity, rendering the issue moribund ever since!’ or ‘Just overheard Hugo telling another child in nursery that Sunak’s pledges to add 20,000 more apprenticeships are all well and good, but they don’t provide enough incentives for small-to-medium businesses to comply. #FromTheMouthsOfBabes’.

Subtlety would be better, I guess. Something like ‘My son saw Nigel Farage on the telly and said, “Daddy is he the very bad man?” and I said “Yes, poppet, he is.”’

Unfortunately, people know us in real life and know an interaction like this would never take place. This is mainly because we love Nigel Farage and our entire house is decked out in Reform party bunting, but also because my son has zero awareness of Britain’s political systems and I don’t see much point in changing that any time soon.

We have occasionally informed him of certain things, most commonly the delineation of power between the royal family and the government. He is convinced that being a monarch bestows all the power it does in story books, and on those rare occasions he engages in any discussion about what we’re watching on the news, he will always ask what the Queen thinks about it all. It is then our solemn duty to inform him that the Queen died, and there’s now a King.

This makes him sadder than you’d imagine, given that he was quite aware of her death at the time – granted, while mistaking her repeatedly for Huw Edwards, who was presenting the news when it was announced, leading him to kiss the screen in grief any time he appeared. No such grief has accompanied the three prime ministers he’s seen deposed in his six years of life.

He’s been with us to vote and takes a certain degree of interest in that process. However, that ‘certain degree’ is limited since, from his point of view, it amounts to little more than watching his parents walk into a nearby youth centre and place a piece of paper in a box. The ‘political values’ we give him at home amount to the simple stuff everyone tells their kids; that all people deserve respect and dignity, the most vulnerable should be looked after and the rich should pay more for this to be achieved. Values so ubiquitous, in fact, you might wonder why so few British political parties agree.

Before I can get too jaded, he turns to me – my son (5) – with glistening eyes. ‘Daddy,’ he says, his voice forthright and calm, ‘if you make a joke about liking Nigel Farage, it might be worth ending with a final line from me that emphasises it was a gag, thus ruining the joke but at least sparing you the indignity of being misunderstood.’ Ah, I think, from the mouths of babes.

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