Thursday, June 08, 2017

Judgement day

You might be wondering why there's been a lack of politics posts on this site in the run-up to today's election. There are several reasons: I was conscious of sounding like a broken record - or, to use a more apt comparison, like Theresa May; the loathsome nature of the Tories and their policies should need no commentary; I haven't watched the various debates and episodes of Question Time for fear of hearing Paul Nuttall speak and consequently putting my fist through the TV screen.

Just to be clear, the Tories are hell-bent on cutting and killing anything. They have shown contempt for the electorate and indifference - or even vindictiveness - towards the less fortunate and the free-to-access public services absolutely essential to a civilised society. They have aroused the ire of teachers, doctors and nurses, and police officers. They have scoffed at Labour's "magic money tree" while helping to grow one for the already wealthy. They have failed to deliver on their pledges, whether on the economy or immigration. Their response to recent terrorist atrocities has been to propose curtailing civil liberties rather than admitting they were wrong to slash police budgets. They have run a campaign that has been relentlessly cynical and negative, avoiding solid arguments and instead blathering on about Jeremy Corbyn's "coalition of chaos" as opposed to May's "strong and stable" leadership as if repeating the words often enough will somehow make them true.

It should really be about parties and policies rather than leaders, but as Tories both in the party and in the media have sought to denigrate and smear Corbyn, let's look at what they're proposing as the "strong and stable" alternative: someone who has performed several U-turns on manifesto pledges before the election has even taken place; someone who has perfected the art of saying absolutely nothing of substance in interviews; someone who looks like a rabbit in the headlights when put on the spot; someone who goes out of her way to avoid contact with ordinary members of the public, whom she seems to regard as ghastly; someone who has apparently considered any debate with other leaders to be beneath her, instead leaving minions like Amber Rudd to do the job.

Labour, by contrast, have run just about as good a campaign as could have been hoped for - especially considering their disarray for the last two years. They've emphasised that May and the Tories are a threat in a whole host of respects, but have also sought to make a positive case for a more caring, inclusive and equal society. Their manifesto is much more in keeping with the Labour Party of old, offering the genuine alternative that they didn't under either Tony Blair or Ed Miliband.

Corbyn, meanwhile, has been the polar opposite of May: cool and collected under pressure and in the face of smear attempts, passionate and careful in his explanations of the ethos behind his party's policies, eager to engage with ordinary voters of all ages and all backgrounds at every opportunity - and rewarded with huge crowds at rallies up and down the country.

I'm naturally a Green voter (as was illustrated by taking the Vote For Policies survey) but will going with Labour this election - for the reasons above and because Kevin Brennan is the most likely to keep the Tories out in our new constituency, Cardiff West. Presuming you want to do likewise where you live, head to Not The Fucking Tories for advice.

Another reason for my reluctance to post about politics recently is an awareness of the echo chamber phenomenon of blogs and social media. My impressions of how the last few weeks have unfolded have inevitably been coloured by what I've been exposed to. While it seems abundantly evident to me (and many others) that the Tories' policies and shambolic campaign should make them unelectable, I'm conscious that any optimism about their defeat may well simply be the result of living in a bubble, insulated from the views of those who buy the Sun and Daily Mail in their droves. To me, a Tory victory would be unfathomable - but then we've had unfathomable victories in the last two major elections in this country, and the last one in the US.

One final point on that note: however fuck-awful it would be if the Tories are returned to power again, and however low they stoop, they probably won't go as far as stealing money from kids with cancer. We can at least console ourselves with that thought - though, of course, hopefully no consolation will be necessary.

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