Let's face it, X factor is way more interesting and popular than politics, and I think I know why. Music can create emotional messages that are much nicer than what you get from moaning with your mates about forests or nuclear weapons.
Music has given me confidence to perform and therefore speak well in public as a politician. I'm sure that whilst my attention span has lapsed due to an onslaught of blogs and email messages, I still have the capacity to perform a 40-minute sonata for solo piano. It's great training for the body too, to have some "can you feel it" blasting out of my Jane Fonda record while I'm attempting my abdominal excercises. Music is really vital in Barnet Council's budget cuts, with the foundations re-forming especially to save the Arts Depot from privatisation.
I would really like to start a band.
A big part of my life is my religion, where music plays a big role in Synagogue or at the Friday night dinner table where everyone is singing together. At the Willesden Green Wassail I heard a Jewish quote from the African lady who is campaigning to save the community centre she built only a year ago. "How good and how pleasant it is, brethren (and sisters) sitting together as one." Quite literally in the case of Sara and Jonathan's wedding party. Or visionary, as in the case of the anniversary protest in which Deborah Fink and comerades blasted out spoof christmas carols "On the first day of christmas (Benjamin) Netanyahu gave me... five settlement rings".
Therefore piano, guitar, choir, drama, and other music lessons has given me a discipline I can apply to many aspects of my work. A sense of discipline and focus that the chemical science practice I learned in university failed to help me with.