Don’t let the pursuit of political conversations get you down this party season; learn how to win any topical argument in the pub this Christmas with this handy guide from James O’Brien.
WITH BREXIT BORES
James: They did tell you before the vote that there wouldn’t be any [personal financial loss].
Andy: I believed there would be and I was willing to take that sacrifice for independence and so that we would control our own laws.
J: Which law is it you’re really looking forward to not having to obey any more.
A: Well, any…?
J: That’s right, any. So give me one.
A: Errrrrm… the shape of your bananas?
J: It’s not funny is it? The pound’s the lowest it’s been since 1985 and I just asked you to name any law, just one, and you say bananas. We both know that the bananas line was a lie made up by Boris Johnson. Remind me which side he was on?’
A: Well, he was out for himself.
WITH MEGABUCKS BULLIES
David: I’m lucky enough to earn more than the £80,000 mark, as are most of my friends, and we work extremely hard to do that, right? So we do 15, 16 hours a day on weekdays and regularly do weekend work. I don’t think that is reflective of the wider population.
James: I often hear about teachers putting in 15- or 16- hour days, and when I’m hearing about paramedics working in circumstances you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, I reject the conflation of hard work with high earnings. David, you don’t work by definition harder than people who earn less than you?
D: Not by definition, no.
J: Why aren’t you a teacher? Presumably because you don’t want to get paid the sort of money that teachers earn?
D: Look, I’m not saying that people who earn less work less hard.
J: You are, though. You really are.
Henry: Why should I pay more because other people are too stupid to understand that they’re going to get diabetes if they drink a gallon of pop for breakfast?
J: Is that really how it works? How will the sugar tax you pay end up helping people drink less pop? I thought the idea was that, if the pop costs more, people will drink less of it?
H: No. If I want to buy a can of my favourite pop, which I drink occasionally and in moderation, I would have to pay more for it because some people don’t understand that if they drink loads of it they will get fat and ill. I am paying more tax so they drink less pop.
J: Okay. You’re right. Can you afford a few pence more every time you buy a can of pop?
H: That’s not the point.
J: Maybe not, but it’s the question I’m asking.
H: Of course I can. So can you.
J: Obviously. In fact, I could probably pay about double what a can currently costs without it having any noticeable impact on, say, my weekly expenditure. Could you?
H: It depends how much I drink.
‘How To Be Right’ by James O’Brien is out now in paperback (£8.99; WH Allen)