Bestest-Niece (22) has decided she wants to go on the "March for the Alternative" on Saturday. (http://marchforthealternative.org.uk/) Not only does she want to go, but so does her flatmate and two of her friends.
These are four young people who suddenly talk about politics. A lot.
Since last May, if the bus is late or the milk is sour or someone has a hangover, the standard response in their shared flat has been to shake one fist and mutter darkly "Cleeeeegggg!"
Recently though, this has turned to bewilderment, and at at times, horror. A generation who, until now, haven't really thought about politics much at all are suddenly finding that it does matter to them.
A few weeks ago, my mobile rang and it was bestest-niece, shaking with rage. We all have something that matters to us more than other things. She had just heard that half of all the women's refuges in the country were to be closed as part of the austerity cuts.
She didn't believe it at first. "How can they do that?" She spluttered. "Don't they know what this will mean? How hard women have fought for this tiny bit of protection?? Don't they know we need more refuges not less?"
It hasn't had much press - most people probably don't even know, but for bestest-niece, it was the moment that she started to question exactly what is being done in her name. It was inconceivable to her that something so vital should be affected by cuts and however bad our financial situation might seem, she suddenly saw clearly how counter-productive some cuts could be. She saw how they would almost certainly cost more than they saved and most importantly of all she started to ask whether the human cost could be counted in pounds and pence.
Anyway, decision made, much hilarity followed as we tried to decide on the perfect banner slogan -
"Tories - Putting the "n" into Cuts"
"The light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off due to budget cuts"
"We're all in the shit together"
Quite a few more are unprintable, in Cameron's parentage, Clegg's honestly issues and Osborne's reproductive ability, but in the end, we decided on the truth :
"We didn't vote for this"
Because no-one did. If Cameron had been honest as he stood behind that debate podium, he would have finished off any chances his party ever had of being elected again. Can you even imagine it?
"As I stand before you today, I vow that everything in this country will be opened up to privatisation. Schools, Hospitals, everything. We will close your libraries, raise VAT, sell off your forests, privatise the NHS, slash the military, close women's refuges, sack policemen, close hospitals, ban the homeless, evict the poor and take wheelchairs away from disabled people"
It is quite wrong to say "Oh well, politicians always lie." Until recently, manifestos were considered binding and pre-election pledges more or less adhered to. Never before, in the history of UK politics has a government taken power with such an absolute disregard for the mandate it received (or didn't receive) at the ballot box. Worse still, this government has no mandate for these cuts. The LibDems fought the election on the same financial platform as Labour - halving the deficit and waiting until recovery was assured before cutting.
On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people will arise from their sofas, put down their remote controls and sacrifice a day off work to go to London. They are going to remind this government that they have no mandate for the destruction they're causing. They are going to warn this government that a mandate is a mandate and it can be removed at any time.
While Mr Cameron focusses his attention on Foreign Affairs, while he defends the oppressed of Libya, he must not forget for one second that democracy is in the hands of the many not the few and he must not for one second fall into the trap of believing that Saturday will be all about a bunch of crusty militants causing some fuss. Saturday will be the first chance that bestest-nieces up and down the country get to show this government that they are concerned, that this is not what they voted for.
If bestest-nieces in Sussex care enough to march, then you can bet that young people, disabled people, pensioners, Mums, Dads, teachers, nurses, doctors, police officers, councillors, professors, students, judges and many, many more will be marching too.
Their message will be clear : leaders acting like dictators can be opposed in any country, not just the Middle East.