These last twenty-four hours I’ve found my entire mundane self alternating between shutdown and panic. My personal circumstances and resources; my health and general well-being have been run ragged by the Coalition and dire lack of a decent Opposition and, such is my dependency, now, on reserves of adrenaline just to cope with a normal day that I don’t know if I can sustain myself and keep going like this for another five years. And worse: I’m still actually one of the lucky ones. My heart is breaking for those worse off than me.
It’s as though we were all just involved in a terrible accident for I can’t believe my country actually meant to vote for this outcome; actually wanted this. You see, I’ve heard about the negative perceptions of Ed, fear of the SNP’s gargantuan tail and a persistent, faulty belief in the Labour is the incompetent party narrative until the journalician class were quite blue in their self-fulfilling, prophesying faces. Or should that be proselytising… I’m really struggling, though, to believe that more of the electorate actually actively and consciously wanted this result than wanted it five years ago. Even if true, it can be only half of the story at most.
It seems just as likely to me that sufficient of us managed to vote to our detriment quite by mistake, whether by head or heart, simply because of the tactical and wasted vote conundrums and the glacial opportunity for change in safe and marginal seats that our First Past the Post system invokes. (Not that I’m convinced that proportional representation is necessarily the solution, either, long-term but that’s for other posts.)
From the ludicrous to the tedious, I’ve heard and seen all manner of crap these last few hours. Like that the Labour Party moved too far to the Left. What the f***? Or that because we declined the Alternative Vote that we simply don’t want electoral reform, even though The Powers That Be know it was turned down largely because it was a really rubbish offer. From Jim Murphy on default denial with his deluded romantic show must go on act to Nick Clegg at his exhausted and hurt feelings best to how can Labour sneak another Blairite in… It’s like muzak for muggles.
‘They’ don’t listen and they don’t learn. And I despair. I feel ill and enraged and bored and frazzled and contemptuous and… Just so sad. So desperately effing sad.
It’s a slim Conservative majority that may not yet hold, I know but it has supplied a mandate to govern, nonetheless and it occurs in an already dangerous climate of paranoia and hysteria and in an already severely weakened political environment. The Tories will take the piss in any circumstance so I fully expect them to run amok now they have caught a small whiff of permission. I’ve come close to throwing up at the thought of free-to-roam Cons and I’ve felt like giving up entirely as I’ve listened to the insultingly oversimplified and misguided analyses of what passes for more serious journalism and news broadcasting, these days. The stuff that’s worth reading and listening to is so astute and so too-damned-late-seeming that it physically hurts.
Now, as the political classes pretend to still have souls to search for, we’re being told that election battles and political arguments can only be won from the centre ground. That anything to the left of prescriptive mainstream thought is ‘radical’. But that old centre ground trope is being used to contain our hopes and manage our imagination and I just can’t face doing battle with that mentality for another five years.
‘They’ are going to bamboozle us again, now. Just like they framed the arguments to position us leading up to the election, they’re now busy framing our understanding of went wrong and why and lining up the teeny tiny field of discourse within which the next set of perceptions and expectations can be managed, such as the true nature of the Tory beast and the new party leaders they want us to prefer. We’re not even to get a small break in which to weep, to absorb, to mourn; to restore or muster strength; to gather ourselves to fight neoliberalism for another five years. Nope. They are going to cut the democratic deficit in half and save us the time and trouble. A long-term democratic plan, if you will.
Now, as political parties naval gaze and worry about themselves more than us again, we must be the Opposition. Again. Now, as the Media fails to inform us of something in time to do anything about it, we must be the messengers. Again. Now, as we are steamrollered with yet more false flags, we must be the watchers. Again. Now, when we need a bright and trustworthy media, we must be the source. Again. It’s exhausting. Just the thought is exhausting. I know I say that Democracy is messy and a work in progress and that it requires engagement and active participation but this is getting ridiculous. It’s like we’ve actually been abandoned.