Unlike a number of the others who have done this meme (Caron, Mr Quist and originator Irfan) I wasn't a signed up member of a political party at the age of 17. Maybe that was my naivety, maybe that was just an abhorrence to the political landscape around me.I turned 17 in 1986 and at the time I just couldn't fathom how the Unionist parties could attack Westminster for lack of attention to Northern Ireland's needs with one breathe and at the same time draw away from working with the Republic of Ireland which at that was starting to go through an economic revival.
As you tell from the above, it wasn't that I wasn't interested in politics that I hadn't joined a party it's just possibly that the thought hadn't crossed my mind, or I was too busy with getting my A levels and all the extra curricular stuff I was involved with to give it much thought. I'd like to do a meme about what you did in your student political life to fill in some gaps but maybe we can wait until Freshers' Weeks for that.
However, I was far from politically inactive. By the time I turned 18 I'd already written my first letter to an elected representative the Rev Paisley, I can't remember the content but I know I was opposed to something he'd said or done. I'd also met the man himself in Bangor market place in the lead up to the mass by elections caused by the resignation of every single Unionist MP in protest at the Anglo Irish Agreement. Plus both those and the subsequent 1987 elections were the ones I really started getting anoraky about watching result programmes. For 1987 I was sent to bed but had the radio on listening to the results coming through marking them off on the map from that day's Guardian.
I was a member of Amnesty International, CND and Greenpeace something that means I know that young people are often political active in causes and are still waiting to find the party that fits who they are if they haven't found that already. It wasn't by fluke that just after I turned 19 I joined the party I've been associated with ever since at my first Freshers' Fayre. So I was writing letter to all sorts of places, no email then at least not for the majority of us.
I was studying economics at 17, the school didn't offer politics as well or I may well have taken that as well. In doing so I got to see my first politician up front for an extended period of time. At the end of that first A Level year one of my economics teachers moved to another school and as temp we got Sammy Wilson, now an MP then Councillor and the DUP's press officer. I disagreed with his politics but realised through watching him that politicians never really turn off even in their working lives away from the political arena. He was the first person I saw with a mobile phone, admittedly a brick by today's standards but constantly in contact with a whole range of people even while teaching us. Somehow this didn't put me off getting actively involved in politics later, fool!
So there you go that's pretty much what I had and was up to when I was 17 as far as politics is concerned, feel free to have a go yourself.
Oh there is just one final thing, there was a game for the BBC B computer, if you can call it that, called GB Ltd and I managed to get the SDP elected to three consecutive terms of power. Admittedly it was pretty simple programming and didn't have a whole lot of parameters going on, but still come on give me some credit.