Keep the Momentum

So we’re still in a bit of a pickle, perhaps even more of a pickle than we feared for a bit, but hopefully it won’t be a pickle for long.

That seems to be the boiled down upshot of the election. The Tories tried to smear Corbyn with their hysterical “He’s mates with the IRA! Lock him up, he’ll bomb your Nan!” schtick mere days before the election and now, denied the terrifying landslide that was being hinted at and the majority they were hoping for, they are desperately dragging the DUP into bed for a lacklustre gang bang, where everyone gets stuck with the wet patch.

I can’t lie. I had to google them. The DUP. They sound like a lovely bunch don’t they. I’ve been keeping abreast of the articles pinging around about them and what it means for them to be a part of our government in however small a way. Insidious parliamentary polyfilla. The hypocrisy involved in their baffling hoik to co-power is galling, disgusting, and a bit hilarious (if you’re feeling more chipper). To have had past diplomatic dealings with the IRA is tantamount to witchcraft when it comes to a peace-loving Labour leader driven by working for the many not the few (how despotic of him), but when days later you need to be propped up by anti-abortion anti-same sex marriage parties with a shady past, it’s fine. Fine. Cue hysterical laughter and grab your Tena pads. It looks like we’re set for a period of needing our undies to be well-lined to deal with our array of reactions concerning our country and what the blazes is going to happen to it.

I would not normally write a political column. It’s not my place to do it here in a paper that should be unbiased and I doubt I could do it well, but in the confusion that abounds post election, were it not a big enough head-scratcher before, I feel I can’t write a column about cats or shoes. Not today.

I have differing views about the Frankenstein’s monsterfreakchild of the Tory-DUP bunk-up. Part of me thinks that the Conservatives allying with the DUP is tantamount to sanctioning their blinkered mediaeval creationist cruel and woeful approach to humans in a modern liberal world. To saying it’s ok. To saying they agree. And that it must be rallied against, now, because Fuck That Shit. And part of me thinks “let the cunts fucking hang themselves’. Shining a light on laughable, insidious, out-dated, self-serving cretins can only serve to start showing up their wrinkles and their pock-marks. Their bigotry, ineptitude, and lies. And there is no brighter light than power. We saw the power-lit panic-twitch behind the cold death stare of Theresa May in the days preceding the election and we all pictured the skids when she got home to take her cacky keks off.  Anyway. Perhaps – perhaps – the Tories aren’t likely to get away with half as much hell as before. Give the DUP their little taster of pseudo power for a bit. See what they do with it. And let’s see how far down they drag the Tories PR rating before we vote again. Being ultra optimistic, the election result might bear far more fruit for Labour supporters than an immediate win would have yielded. Thinking of the long game, if shit really hits the fan and the Tories, with the DUP acting as their sagging squirty-boil covered testicles, start bleeding colour until they are nothing more than Punch sketches of themselves, caricatures begging to be scrubbed out, then maybe the next General Election will really get interesting and Labour will get to instigate real lasting change. For the many, not the few.

I don’t know. But I know I don’t feel hopeless.

It’s massively inspiring that masses of people were rallied to vote when they ordinarily might not. It’s eye-wateringly brilliant that young people were whipped up enough by bold campaigns to think and to turn up and mark their cross. In a flawed first-past-the-post system, the voice of young people willing to be engaged had something of the sound of a cavalry charge to it. Labour supporters might have a temporary situation that does not reflect their hopes as they voted, but there is a feeling of higher engagement in the air, and the very real feeling that it might eventually bring change in its wake.

So, while there is activism to be kept up, while there are demos and dithering and about-turns from lots of quarters, (and of course goatskin parchment drying *eye roll*), while we still owe ourselves and others a responsibility of staying informed, staying conscious, of not just letting the flags flop while we get on with real life, we also have to be patient.

I am writing this in a town represented by two constantly re-elected Tories. Southend has remained a Tory stronghold, with votes for Conservatives going up a tad overall, but it’s certainly less safe a seat than before, with votes for Labour in Rochford and Southend East (following an impressive campaign from Ashley Dalton) going up significantly, presumably cleaning up the votes that have fallen away from UKIP (hoo-ruddy-ray) and Lib Dems. I’m greatly intrigued to see the next vote after – sorry to be callous – more old people have died and more young people have reached voting age and have had their sense and their social conscience appealed to.

I’m sure this leftie column will mostly be met with ire by the readership of the paper it is printed in. But it’s not a knock – it’s a camaraderie column, if you will. Labour supporters might not be feeling as savaged or as scared as we were before the election, but we are feeling a similar uncertainty as millions of others, both left and right leaning, who are waiting to see what happens next. And that’s why we have to stay focused, stay on it, and stay together. Don’t make Labour have to start from scratch again in their next campaign. Keep the momentum.


Amess on your Doorstep

Don’t you hate it when you don’t say any of the things you’d like to because someone catches you unprepared? 

When Sir David Amess MP knocked on my door last Friday I was caught utterly off-guard and ever since I’ve been forehead-slappingly cross at myself for not saying better things to him. I suppose that is the problem with being a dithery writer and not a politician. I am not good on my feet, talking on the hoof. I like to have a nice sit down and type when I have stuff to say. I haven’t got the ease of spiel that a politician has. I am not commando-trained in on-the-spot rhetoric and bluff.

I was expecting my boyfriend to arrive any minute so the last thing I was expecting was a floppy-haired politician for whom I wouldn’t vote if you paid me a million quid. I was expecting a human I actually liked and wanted to kiss, not an elected stranger who made me do a quickly-controlled double-take of horror. I’d just got out of the shower and was in a state of ‘getting ready’ disarray – nail varnish remover soaked ball of cotton wool in one hand, my excited dog tail-wagging in the other, and was generally not dressed for greeting anyone in any capacity, political or otherwise. I certainly wasn’t primed for Sir Dave. Suddenly I was very conscious of my post-shower vest-clad boobs, and you can seldom be verbally impressive with a Tory prick when  you’re willing your tits to behave.

We just stared at each other for a bit first. I’m not sure if he recognised who I was, but there was definitely an instant wall of awkwardness as I opened the door; both his smile & his pre-prepared patter faltered as our eyes locked. We’ve met a few times in less fraught political climates, and I wrote a column about him a while back which according to secret sources apparently provoked Sir Dave to ask at a meeting “Who is this Sadie Hasler?”, but I wasn’t sure if he knew my actual face. And now there’s this column too. (Hi Dave!)

The trouble is – when I meet people in person I seldom take a dislike to them. If I didn’t know who Sir Dave was; what he stood for, represented, what he had voted for and against over the years – against gay rights and marriage, against terminally ill people being given assistance at the end of their lives; voted for hunting, and for war (see exactly how Dave has voted) – what I believe his party is doing to the country, the terrifying systematic dogged and irrevocable social, cultural, political, fiscal & ethical damage I believe the Conservatives will continue to drive through should they win the election, I might even have liked him. This slightly nerdy fop-haired man in a nondescript suit being trad Brit affable on my doorstep. Simple manners kick in, don’t they. It’s easy to like most people. But instead of offering the wafty affability of a brief hostess I wish I had been better at razing his hair to trembling bristles with my left-leaning savagery instead of falling into default doorstep manners. Why couldn’t I have rankled him with exquisite eloquence like another of my friends did –  who had him rock up round her gaff a few days earlier when she was wine-strong and feisty. It sounds like he probably left wishing he’d given that street a miss. Why was I just…mute?

I wish I’d been fully dressed and in verbose mood and delivered him an uncomfortable ten minute rant about all the things he’s done and hasn’t done that make me angry. That make many of my friends angry, that portion of the minority vote round here that desperately want to see him defeated. I wish I had been one of those people that are so effective at talking that I may even have made him think or rethink or feel a bit guilty about his long-reigning self-serving bigoted idiocy. It’s a nice fantasy. But in reality none of my words would have swayed him, just as none of his would have swayed me. Polarity of beliefs; natural ideological loggerheads. 

So I just said “Oh. Hullo. Yes, you’re right, my dog is a cocker spaniel.” and took his clammy fliers even though I knew they’d get whacked straight into the bin in a passive-aggressive act of revolt. In short, I’m rubbish. Like, really shit. I’m properly vexed at myself. Dave, if you knocked again, I’d be much better and probably chomp your pamphlet in front of you and then spit it back out in soggy defiance.

 I might also say “Why the fuck did you park in my boyfriend’s space when you could have just walked?” Seeing a Tory MP stealing a sacred parking space in infamously rubbish-for-parking Leigh makes voting Labour worthwhile in itself. Get him out.