It's just a jump to the left, then a step to the ri-i-i-i-i-i-ght

6 Jan

How do the English stand it? All the political back and forth and back and… aargh! How do people switch from supporting a right-wing ideology, to socialism and back again? Over and over?

I’m not naive, I know there’s barely anything socialist about the current bunch waving the red flag, but what in the name of all sense and reason encourages anyone who previously voted for Labour to believe that the Conservatives are a better option? If Labour have “strayed further right to get into your heart” the Tories must have taken up residence in a very dark place indeed, bum-chumming it round Europe with anti-semitic Holocaust apologists.

The 2010 general election will be the 6th I vote in, but certainly not the first I bear witness to. I didn’t think I was a particularly politicised child, not at the time, I vaguely remember the rapid fire elections of February and October 1974 as well as the Common Market referendum of 1975. I was off school sick and watching BBC2 the day Harold Wilson made his resignation speech (I was 9!) and will never forget the day that fucking woman won in 1979. By 1983 I was desperate for a vote but had to wait until 1987 and I was 21 before I got a chance to make my mark on a general election ballot form.

On 11th June 1987 MrW and I sat, somewhat pickled and optimistic, on the steps of Perth City Hall awaiting a change of regime. For some reason we’d thought that fair and transparent elections included the right for members of the public to witness the count and announcement of the results. I still think it should be that way, but it’s not, so outside on the steps we sat. That was the first night, but certainly not the last, I went to sleep full of hope for the new day approaching, only to wake, stare in shock, weep at the foolish, fickle, selfish, short-term me mine hands-off mine me gimme fix ME! electorate.

If it had been at all feasible for me to emigrate on 10th April 1992…

I lost all hope for Britain the day John Smith died.

I fear what 2010 may bring.

In recent years the Scottish government has been a cushion from the follies of the Even Newer Right (Labour) and the selfish, racist, extremists of the Righter than Right (Conservatives, UKIP, BNP) and I’ve largely ignored English politics. But it’s looking increasingly like the English are in danger of taking yet another “step to the ri-i-i-i-i-ight” and once more dragging Scotland not so much kicking and screaming as whimpering into the darkness. This was a scary enough prospect when I was a school pupil and student, it’s an unbelievably nightmarish prospect as a parent.

I think we can all agree that the financial institutions in Britain have royally fucked us over. There’s no escaping the fact that our children, the third generation baby-boomers, have been landed with national debts of gargantuan proportions and frankly I don’t differentiate between those who de-regulated the banks or those bankers who took the unregulated risks that caused this mess – they’re all to blame. The next government, whatever its hue, will cut public spending and raise tax. For the next five months (please don’t let it be longer) they are each going to try and convince us that where they propose to cut spending and raise tax is the best option.

The Conservatives have declared themselves the party of the NHS (excuse me while I throw up). John Major single handedly dismantled what was left of our NHS when he defiled it with free market economics in the 1990s. Education is the traditional Tory soft target for sweeping cuts in public spending and this time round it looks like business as usual. I don’t get it. The days of mass educating the working classes for a life in the textile mills or pits are long gone Mr Middle-England Tory. You can’t reduce the number of children, all you can do is reduce the teachers, crank up the class sizes and slash budgets back to the good old 1980s when schools could barely provide paper for pupils to write on. Labour have already sold off a whack of the education infrastructure to PPP/PFI/Piss It Into The Wind “Partnerships” who can sell our schools off in 25-30 years to the highest bidding property developer, so what’s left to cut? Heat? Light? Food?

I’l never “get” the right. They complain at the number of non-British doctors and nurses working in the NHS yet target spending cuts at the education of future generations of potential professionals. It’s short-term, it’s short-sighted and it makes me utterly sick to think of it happening. Again. They want to charge foreign nationals for health care – the same foreign nationals who staff our bloody hospitals. In a country with an ageing, falling population they want to drag children from their beds in dawn raids and deport them back to something that must be pretty appalling if living here as an immigrant minority is preferable.

I remember being told before I was old enough to vote that if I wasn’t a socialist at 18 I had no heart and if I wasn’t a conservative by 30 I had no brain. It was the singularly most pessimistic outlook on adulthood I had ever heard and it still offends me.

No I’ll never “get” the right.

But I’ll still be able to look myself in the mirror.

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3 Responses to “It's just a jump to the left, then a step to the ri-i-i-i-i-i-ght”

  1. Dad Who Writes January 6, 2010 at 4:17 pm #

    Well said. I agree with every word. I’ve never understood how anyone who truly cares for their children can vote Tory. Scum, every one of them. I remember the mines around the town I lived in from age 9 to 16 and what Wonder if I’m too old to emigrate.

  2. mrsw January 6, 2010 at 6:04 pm #

    You know I can almost (almost) understand the Tory voting private schooler who’s after a quick tax break and doesn’t give a shit about anyone else’s kids but their own in-bred minority – after all if they keep the rest of the population thick, hungry and illiterate then there’s much more chance their spawn will secure all the university places and all the well paid jobs. They can’t see beyond the bonnet of their Range Rovers and just aren’t capable of an empathic thought.

    But they alone cannot vote in a Conservative government. Time and time again it’s the working class Sun reading prole, those with absolutely NOTHING to gain and everything to lose, who scrawl their X in the Tory box. Do they think if they vote like the middle class it will make them middle class? Oh I dunno – everyone seems to think they are middle class these days as if it’s about what you own rather than having the power to set the price for your own skills.

    I think I should hibernate til the end of May – wake me when it’s over 🙂

  3. Mwa January 6, 2010 at 6:53 pm #

    Oh yeah. I’m all red, but we have a Christian democrat government just now. I do think they’re not as bad as the Tories, though. But we have worse scum than that over here as well.

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