As news of Greece voting in a far-left, anti-austerity party reverberates around Europe (for those not into politics, this has European-wide implications), I’m delving into the use of politics for plotting inspiration. And there is a lot of potential here.

Firstly, observing public political interactions is great for character development, plot intrigue and action. There is so much material here, from policy U-turns to strong rhetoric from weak characters to schizophrenic public-versus-private faces.

Then there are the policies themselves. In the UK (as in Greece and many other countries), there is a disparity between what people vote for and what they think they’re voting for (http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/pennie-varvarides/green-party-policy_b_6241234.html ). A lot of dystopian fiction has started by taking actual party policies and stretching them to a scary conclusion. For interest and idea purposes, you can do a survey for UK policies yourself here: http://voteforpolicies.org.uk/ .

There are also the names. Ballot papers and lists of political party members are a great source of names for characters in your fiction. And nicknames too. The current head of the Greek majority party as of this morning, Alexis Tsipras (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexis_Tsipras ), has often been referred to as Sexy Alexi. Just for the record, I don’t see it myself, but you get the gist.

My conclusion? Go ahead, indulge. Bypass the minefield of politics and get to the ideas goldmine.