Sodden by a bigot shower and venal gusts, pencil marks in polling booths are tough

When I go into the polling station and get my pencil out, I will not be making an educated decision. I will be relying on rumours, gossip, propaganda that stuck, some reading, gut instinct, and tradition.

In a tricky knockout competition, like a contestant flooded Blind Date, I have managed to knock out some of the lurid beasts vying for my cross, but there are still a few who have managed to disguise their ghastliness with such vim that they have clung on to the final round. It is like a Desert Island Discs where you can only choose a selection of records you have never heard, though you are told at least 7 out of the possible 13 have been used as torture devices in Guantanamo Bay.

Can you pick the ones that will do you the least psychological damage?

From Twitter to the Telegraph, via Question Time and talk radio, we are bombarded by so much jetsam and fripperies disguised as gravitas and ethics, that it is hard to keep your head, and near impossible to attain rationality. Most of bickering, backbiting, “it’s unfair they do it too”, would be best suited to doors of public lavatories and occasionally carved into an elm tree, with a pen knife that has just aided a blood oath.

Elections were so much simpler when the parties maintained their sense of being, “quite a bit different to that other shower of bastards”. The gloopiness of an amorphous mass of political types, the death of a mainstream left wing, replaced by talcum scented liberalism that looks flirtatiously up at the city types and hedge fund jugglers, leaves us open to some medicine man, back of the wagon snake oil chicanery.

A few years ago, even if you didn’t vote Lib Dem, you liked the fact there was this party that seemed different, possibly kind, well-meaning amateurs who could help out in a scrape. Since the coalition government, this useful illusion seems dead. XXXXXXXX And so, the new alternatives arrive and feast on the carcass, waving around notions of being for “the people”, demonstrating this by saying how ghastly all “the people” are that are not from around here. While duplicitous and scandalous financial dealings brought things crashing down, it is still the foreign plumbers who take most of the blame. The venality of the many-mansioned was as nothing to the undercutting on washer replacements.

We drown in political “information” from the mass media at these times, but so little of it is really useful in making a decision, so little of it is real evidence. Just as politicians seem to be middle class milksops and chancers (damn, I have all the qualifications then), the media doesn’t really offer much in terms of genuine alternative thinkers and campaigners. (I’ll try not to err too far of course here, but there is a middle class dominance, the seemingly genteel, the rosy cheeked fleet street lushes, occasionally interrupted by Owen Jones. I am part of that middle class, I see my own disease).

We have the occasional TV debates, where the politicians tub thump their differences, and then it’s all back to the green room for Prosecco and unctuousness. How have we ended up with so many parties on the right, and so little on the left. Where did it go wrong?

Six out of the Nine parties standing in my are right wing, with the Conservatives representing the most liberal option. My remaining choices, should I decide not to embrace my middle age swing to the right (I am 45, i am allowed to now), are the Greens, Lib Dem and Labour. Why did the left die? We whine about the exorbitant bills from the private companies that reap profits from the utilities that are necessary to survive in a civilisation (and gain subsidies too), we look at a renationalised rail line making a profit, but accept the necessity of privatisation (again, private profit, public subsidy), and even our TV channels that are muddied by rumour of left leaning fail dismally to present decent coverage of the disemboweling of the NHS, the selling off of the post office, and so it goes on.

Orwell is mauled by the right and left, and with good reason, he was prescient and quotable,  and it seems that we are overly successful in maintaining “an unending series of victories over your own memory.” We are furious over choco rations on Tuesday, but by thursday we fear that choco rations are not safe if anyone other than the incompetents and greedy we know should take charge. It is not even very nice choco, isn’t it worth the risk?  (if I was in London, I would vote NHA Party as i think sending a shot across the bow, or right into the masthead, is what is needed in terms of rousing people into a fury about the dismantling of the NHS. Here is some information on why this has anything to do with EU

This was written from an unconscious part of my brain. I typed and typed, then stopped. this is just a chaos of thoughts again.

We are an Orwellian future twinned with a Huxleyian town, just as we get angry, we remember that Marks and Spencer have a new range of dips and flatbreads (the feelies of our digestion) Imagining anything beyond roughly the way it’s always gone, the foreigners are to blame, big business must be adored as it crushes you, because no one else wears a velvet glove over iron with such authority, even if the glove is getting tatty and the knuckles are showing, is too dangerous to contemplate. Have another Quality Street, things could be worse.

All that writing, and still I don’t know where to make my pencil mark tomorrow, but I know I must make them somewhere, the opportunists and the bigots are circling, and thus, I must choose the least worse and hope.

I am touring forever – off to Swindon, Hull, Hay on Wye, Reading, Worcester, York, Glasgow, Newcastle and on and on . dates HERE


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11 Responses to Sodden by a bigot shower and venal gusts, pencil marks in polling booths are tough

  1. Gimme says:

    I think curiously in your metaphor you’ve literally spelt it out, unable to see past your next sugar kill, fast, fast man, until you can think straight, …oh wait…polling closes at 10….choco anyone?

  2. If you would have voted NHA Party in London, why not vote Green? NHA policies are a subset of Green policies.

    • vomsters says:

      I will probably vote Green. They have a few policies I am absolutely against. Well, at the moment, anyway – I cannot agree with a ban on nuclear power plants until a properly viable alternative is found, we haven’t got one yet; and I really cannot agree with a “europe-wide supergrid” for energy production & sharing, so many many opportunities for abuse, fraud & extortion.

      In balance, I probably agree with around 65-70% of the Green’s EU manifesto at and it’s a damned sight more than the rest. But I’d still have voted NHA if they had a candidate in my area 🙂

      • I’m genuinely interested in why you (or anyone) would choose NHA over us.

        I am a PPC and will be standing in Bath for the Greens next year, so any feedback has a good chance of actually shaping what I say. As I see it, our NHS policies are the same as the NHAs, but we have more chance of actually doing anything about it. I know it’s a typical cry of ‘vote splitter!’, but it saddens me to see our votes in London being reduced by the NHA party when we believe the same thing. We have a seat to lose, and realistically they aren’t going to win.

        Anyway, as a scientist I am keen to advertise our policies such as increasing science funding and having a generally evidence-based policy. These are things that should chime with readers of Robin’s blog. Tell me what we Greens need to say and do to get your votes and we’ll do our best!

  3. Adam Pain says:

    Another insightful, beautifully worded and probing post.

    You have to vote for the party you feel will do the least amount of damage to the most people. I am one of those weird people who tries to read every manifesto prior to general elections, but they always prove pretty flimsy, post election!

    My only hope is that kindness wins and scaremongering gets a swift kick to the knackers. I suspect I’m going to be sadly disappointed in the morning.

  4. Ah, we have a similar problem where I live*: aside from the main 3 and the greens, there’s a string of right-wing anti-europe candidates (some of whom seem to have broken away from Ukip). I too would love to vote NHA.

    I voted Lib-Dem in the last general and now feel naturally rather let down. I have no problem with that: I’ll just never vote for them again. It’s like a scientific experiment – sometimes the result of the experiment is failure. I’ll just run the experiment differently this time. Probably Green, I think.

    I know I have a right to vote, I know I really should take part in the democratic process, and I always do, and yet… damn, I really wish I didn’t feel so dirty after casting my vote. And I just wish some people would lay off with the whole “YOU HAVE TO VOTE! PEOPLE DIED FOR YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE! IT’S YOUR DUTY! YOU CAN’T COMPLAIN IF YOU DON’T VOTE!!!!” schtick. If I’m asked to stick my hand into one of 3 buckets of shit, one of which is cheetah-shit, one is leopard-shit and one is lion-shit, it doesn’t matter what the differences are – it’s still 3 buckets of shit. And I’m going to be a bit wary of choosing one to shove my hand into. Now there are a few other buckets – I’ve no idea what’s in them, but some of them reeeeeeeally stink….

    (I totally admit I’ve no idea where I’m going with that metaphor, it’s a work-in-progress.)

    *And as the Euro constituencies are so huge, it’s entirely possible we live in the same one.

    • vomsters says:

      I turned 18 while living in Australia (returned to the UK in my 30s) so I am accustomed to the idea that voting is the responsibility (not “right”, not “privilege”, but *responsibility*) of all citizens – while voting is technically compulsory in Australia, in reality it just means that a person has to turn up and have their name checked off at the polling station (the usual penalty for failing is a fine unless you have an acceptable excuse – in hospital & too late to sort proxy/postal vote etc). What they do with their ballot paper after that is their business. Though, if you’re already there, you may as well make your views known by voting or spoiling your ballot.

      It also seems to me to be organised much more sensibly. Voting is always on a Saturday rather than a weekday which removes the excuse from many people that they don’t have time because of work and family commitments. And political annoyances are not allowed within a certain distance (6 metres) and must not hinder access to the polling station.

      Anyway, this just means that I spent many years viewing voting as something I was obliged to do in return for living in a democratic society, so I *always* make sure I vote, even in local/parish council elections.

      • When I lived in Oz (most of my long life) I could never adjust to the obligation of casting a vote when I very well knew that whoever I voted for was the same wolf in sheep’s clothing. You voted for one thing – Capitalism with capital C (for coal). Once I discovered the writings of Howard Zinn and his radical views on our indoctrinated obsession with civil obedience I went along to the polling station, had my name ticked off to avoid the fine and proceeded to vote for either Elvis or Mickey Mouse, It would be interesting to know exactly how many Aussies cast blank votes.

        PS Robin ask yourself why you feel compelled to vote. Your blog really got to me, not just because it was a great piece of writing, but because of its undercurrent of real anguish.

  5. colin evans says:

    adam hits the nail on the head,another fantastic blog.your point about them all going back to the green room is spot on.i remember a senior labour politician asked if he had any tory friends he said there were people he respected and admired but with opposite ideology’s how can they be?now is very different.

  6. Tony Pedley says:

    I have always taken the view that to vote is a privilege and a right that should always be exercised whatever the election and the range of candidates. But I must admit I am struggling to justify voting for any of the parties and I cannot work out whether it is I that have changed or the parties.

    I am much taken with the late Douglas Adam’s view that if you don’t vote for the lizard, the wrong lizard will get in. Although I believe the point he was making that democracy without true choice is no different to the kind sham elections they hold in North Korea where the communist party is always voted in with 100% of the vote and use it to confirm their mandate.

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