Eating throughout the divide: ‘If I’d had extra time, I believe I may have shifted him’ | Life and elegance

David, 73, Stockport

Occupation Semi-retired musician and former music school principal

Voting report At all times Labour, besides as soon as: Conservative within the 1970 basic election

Amuse bouche David has simply celebrated his golden marriage ceremony anniversary

Zahoor (Ziggy), 51, Stockport

Dining across the divider Ziggy

Occupation Safety and well being and security adviser for a waste administration firm

Voting report Has solely voted 4 instances: Labour till the Iraq warfare, by no means since

Amuse bouche At 16, Ziggy had an organized marriage to a primary cousin, as a sweetener on a land buy his father was making in Kashmir. They later divorced

For starters

Ziggy I arrived first. I needed to ensure I wasn’t going to be late.

David There he was, upstairs on this small restaurant, with an enormous smile and a glass of beer. My quick response was: “I assumed you had been Muslim?”

Ziggy I had hen, with some sort of creamy sauce. I’m from a poor background. In my complete 50 years, I’ve been to a restaurant perhaps 20 instances, 25?

David I had calamari and risotto ai frutti di mare.

Dining across the dividers David (left) and Ziggy

The massive beef

David I made fairly an emotional speech at one level, partly as a result of I’m a musician. We are inclined to have a really European view of tradition. It’s partly that the EU has saved the peace all through my lifetime, versus the earlier 2,000 years when European nations had been tearing each other’s throats out. Ziggy is an emotional and passionate man, and he purchased all that. However he clings to the view that the present issues are only a wrinkle.

Ziggy I didn’t vote within the referendum, and when the nation voted go away, I used to be mortified. It was virtually like we’d misplaced the warfare to fascism. I felt devastated. However as time went on, I began to agree with Brexit. We’ve had unmitigated immigration, a free-for-all, and I may perceive why folks had been offended. While you begin permitting unmitigated immigration, with out creating new faculties, new docs’ surgical procedures, you’re asking for bother.

I arrived in England in 1971, aged one. All my life, I’ve struggled with being an immigrant – being accepted in society, being handled otherwise. My dad put all these Islamic indicators up on our home and we had eggs thrown at us. It was like a warfare zone. I hated it. I discover folks aren’t racist in direction of me now due to how I communicate, however somebody who has simply arrived, with restricted vocabulary – they’re focused.

David He reads so many newspapers, and takes a broad view on which ones is true. However on this explicit situation, he’s swallowed all these things about immigrants coming over right here and sponging off our public providers, and there’s no budging him. It’s simply embedded. It makes me really feel worse in a means. If I’d had extra time with Ziggy, I believe I may have shifted him.

Ziggy You need to settle for what the overall consensus is; as a lot as you don’t prefer it, it’s important to come to phrases with it. While you don’t need to face the reality, generally it’s onerous, isn’t it?

Dining across the dividers David and Ziggy (on left)

Sharing plate

David I believe he purchased this: there are such a lot of completely different Brexits and the one we’ve acquired for the time being is a very onerous Brexit. A greater authorities may say: “Let’s take a look at this and are available to a greater answer.”

Ziggy He’s over the moon, clearly, with all the problems: the petrol shortages, the empty cabinets …

Dining across the dividers David (left) and Ziggy

For afters

David We didn’t discuss inequality a lot, though it was an underlying theme of the night. I’m lucky, whereas when he was about 15, his dad despatched him to work in a sweatshop. He labored via the evening, got here dwelling, had his breakfast, then went to highschool.

Ziggy I used to be a little bit bit envious of him. David is from a way more prosperous space of the north-west: he’s a Runcorn man, he’s acquired a glittering CV in contrast with mine. He labored for the BBC, he went to the College of Manchester – I’d solely ever dream of going someplace like that. I’m getting extra envious as I grow old. I’m at that age the place I’m analysing all the things I’ve carried out prior to now, all the choices I’ve made, how silly I’ve been.

Dining across the dividers David (on right) and Ziggy


David I really feel like I’ve made a brand new good friend. He’s a really clever and considerate man. And he’s no nice fan of the Conservative occasion.

Ziggy We exchanged numbers on the finish, as a result of we acquired on so nicely.

Dining across the dividers David (left) and Ziggy

Extra reporting: Rachel Obordo

Ziggy and David ate at Terra & Mare, Stockport

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