Well, it’s been quite a week! Since I started as a guest columnist for The National my global reputation has ballooned, the Admiral Duncan has been packed of a Monday night, and I’ve been inundated with media enquiries. I met a journalist last week who asked if anyone had done an exclusive on me yet. I told him only the Daily Record, the New York Times, Attitude magazine, and Buzz Feed news. He looked crushed. I love all this new found adulation; I’m waiting for the celebrity endorsement offers to roll in, and hoping it results in free samples of make-up and extra-large pantyhose. And a new bra. I’ve been told that Nancy needs to invest in some more glamorous lingerie. So far it’s just Astroglide lubricant.
That said, I know that fame is a fickle mistress, and next week they’ll be criticising me for wearing the same dress twice, castigating my handbags, and raking through my bins for evidence of debauchery. Since this gout came on, they won’t even find oyster shells and empty wine bottles anymore – just cherry stones, and cranberry juice cartons. I intend to enjoy the moment, and use my new-found influence for good. With great power comes great responsibility.
I was thoroughly enjoying basking in the limelight until that First Minister tried to upstage me by announcing that she was going to ask the Scottish Parliament for the go-ahead to seek a Section 30 agreement from the UK Government to hold a referendum that would give the people of Scotland the chance to choose their own future under these changed circumstances. Just cause she can walk in heels.
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It fairly caught the metropolitan elite on the hop though. My nose may be out of joint, but it was worth it to see the cat’s arse expressions on the faces of the Government benches at PMQs this week. Drag Queens understand better than most people the value of respect. The Scottish Government have put forward serious compromise proposals to protect our jobs, trade and economic interests by protecting our place within the single market as the UK leaves the EU, and the Prime Minister needs to listen and respond properly. If she comes to the Admiral Duncan, I’ll treat her to a rendition of my best Aretha cover: R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
I’m quite excited at the prospect of another big campaign though. I last road-tested my campaigning skills in 2015 when Nancy Clench sought election for Plumpsbury North under the slogan Hungry for Change. I got great photos done of me wearing pearls, a stylish dress and jacket combo, and a handmade blue rosette. I thought I’d look quite the thing on the green benches, but alas, it was not to be. Afterwards I realised I’d focused too much on social media and glossy election materials, when I should have been out on the doors talking to voters. I learned the hard way that campaigning is not all foam hands and fancy slogans.
So this time round, I intend to be Scotland’s most in-your-face campaigner, so I’ll be buying myself new trainers especially for canvassing, and doing all I can to get to get my friends and family involved. I’ve already had to explain to my gran that door to door canvassing is not the same thing as cottaging. That’s a conversation that won’t be happening twice.
As soon as you get a pub table of political activists started on the subject of canvassing, it all spills out – quite literally: people start showing you the parts of their anatomy scarred by mad dogs, rusty gates, and tripping over garden gnomes. Some sights stay with you forever. You also hear a long litany of stories about people answering the door in their boxers, skimpy nighties, or wrapped only in a hand-towel. Far be it from me to castigate anyone else for blatant exhibitionism, but there are very few days of the year anywhere in Scotland where it is warm enough to be wet and almost naked on your own doorstep, so you’ve got to question their motives. Who the f*ck were they expecting? Postman Pat?
Close encounters with voters in extreme states of undress need to be handled with care and sensitivity. Attempts to curtail the conversation in these circumstances can easily lead to misunderstandings. I’ve discovered that asking, “So, is it a yes or a no?” is open to misinterpretation and can lead the unsuspecting into entirely new territory — but that’s another story altogether.
Canvassing also poses a number of ethical dilemmas for modern day metrosexuals like me. If you knock on the door of someone who happens to be really hot, is it OK to ask them for a date? Or does that breach some footnote in electoral law? Discuss. Or if you don’t ask them out at the time, is it too creepy to friend them on Facebook afterwards? Obviously I’m not advocating any sort of cyber- stalking because apart from being really uncool, you might accidentally press “like” on a tweet they did six years ago. Surely it’s not beyond the wit of the technological wizards developing smart-phone apps for canvassing, to develop some kind of Grindr plug-in to Activate, so that we all know where we stand from the off? It would save everyone a lot of embarrassment in the long run, and I’m confident that Nancy Clench’s powers of persuasion on the right doorsteps could result in a decisive swing in the polls.
I don’t normally observe religious festivals, but I make an annual exception for St Patrick’s Day, which I will be celebrating by wearing green and drinking at the SNP Youth Conference Karaoke on Friday night. I have been practising Daniel O’Donnell songs. If there’s any nonsense on the night from rogue or drunken elements in the YSI, I will sing them. This is not an empty threat.
St Patrick’s Day will be extra special this year. This year we’re one step closer to achieving equal marriage in Northern Ireland. I’m backing the campaign #kissmeimequal, because I love a kiss and I’m as equal as you. I’m looking forward to going over to Belfast to share the stage with Panti Bliss as we campaign for everyone’s right to love who they love.
It’s been a great trilogy from me here in the National. I’m looking forward to seeing you all at the SNP Youth Conference Karaoke tonight. Make sure you grab your tickets early, and follow me on Twitter @NancyClench to follow my journey from here.