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Entering a den of Guardian readers in East Oxford I have to tell a white lie

Tom Winnifrith
Thursday 15 December 2016

For reasons that I shall go into at another time, I found myself in East Oxford with time to kill and so wandered into a rather scruffy looking cafe where the locals head in for a slice of granola cake and fairtrade coffee produced in a Nicaraguan commune. This is a middle class enclave where houses cost £600,000 but where everyone votes Labour, Lib Dem or Green and where Tory is a four letter word. It is easier to buy weed than a copy of the Daily Mail and on June 23rd anyone who did not vote Remain was outed as an intolerant bigot and drummed out of town.

I strolled in past two old codgers who were discussing some crime or other that the evil capitalists had committed and how the workers could put the world to rights. I found a seat, plugged in my laptop and ordered a coffee.

As I stood in the queue waiting for my coffee, some old bat wandered up to engage me in conversation with the sort of opening line that goes down well in these parts." I hear the Tories are going to close down our pensioner accounts at the Post Office."
Where to start?

a) Mind your own business you welfare dependent old crone - see if I care. And as it happens I am not sure they are.

b) Why should the hard working taxpayer subsidise an inefficient mechanism for paying out welfare? Go open a bank account at Barclays in Headington and stop whinging, you lazy old crone?

c) ...

It had to be c. The old bat was clearly a misguided old fool like everyone else in this part of the world but she can't help it. So it was c)

"I am sorry I live in Greece so really do not have any idea about the matter"
It worked. The old bat headed off to yak to the old codgers and pretty soon they were all agreed that the Tories were responsible for all the ills of the world. They were happy and I was left alone and had not upset any old lunatics by exposing them to facts which might just conflict with their deluded world view. That would probably have been viewed as a hate crime anyway.

Everyone's happy. Lying to leave a deluded lefty in blissful ignorance can be good.

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About Tom Winnifrith
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Tom Winnifrith is the editor of TomWinnifrith.com. When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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