WARNING: The following post contains excessive use of capitals and more expletives than usual
The country has spoken and the consensus is that the last five years were fine and we’d like five more of them please (I use the “we” loosely). Never mind that the country burned with unrest and discontent in 2011; that unemployment is still very high, that there is an entire generation leading to nothing as there are no opportunities for them; that zero-hours contracts create instability and a lack of dignity for many workers; no matter that MPs are now earning more than they did at the height of the expenses scandal; never mind the brutal, deep and far-reaching benefit cuts which will have an impact long into the future. Because, deep down, most Britons still believe that a haughty ex-Etonian is meant to rule over us. It’s just how things are meant to be.
So, Ed Miliband was disastrous. The defeat was unprecedented: the Tories gained more of a majority than five years ago and Labour lost more seats. I admit – I voted for Labour and I liked him, mainly for how harsh the media was on him. It made me think, what are they so afraid of? I won’t rescind my support like weaselly Victorian turn-coat Russell Brand. I think he seemed a genuine guy. I found David Cameron’s disingenuousness far more irksome and cringeworthy than any of Miliband’s awkwardness. No man who supports football forgets their team, it’s ingrained into their tribal DNA and to pretend you support a team is an insult to the men who really put their heart and soul into doing so. I wonder how much The Sun would have picked up on that, had it been “Red Ed” who made the blunder? I really thought that the British electorate would see through The Sun and Daily Mail’s smear campaign, which mainly revolved around the ungainly eating of a bacon sandwich. Cameron ate a hot dog with a KNIFE AND FORK. This, to me, is far more disturbing than eating a sandwich, it is the sign of a madman. He’s trying to be an everyman when we all know he’s not. I would respect him far more if he were just honest: “I don’t like your proletariat games and food but I’m a polished, articulate and forceful speaker, therefore you will feel I’m trustworthy.”
I gave the British public too much credit. I thought they would ask the same question I did, namely, WHY is the right-wing and/or Rupert Murdoch owned-media going at Miliband with such ferocity? Life has taught me that mysteriously ferocious cruelty is always to be questioned and mistrusted.
I think the Tories won because we (again the “we” is loose) fetishize extreme wealth. It fascinates, enchants, motivates us. You only need to look at the number of documentaries on TV about the Billion pound this…, the Billionaire that… to know that. The latest, airing next week, being about the world’s most expensive food – including salmon that has jazz played to it. We don’t go “who are these fucking idiots, can we go and burn their houses down?” We chuckle indulgently and shake our heads and say that’s the rich for you. We should be enraged by ostentatious, flagrant, ludicrous wealth like that but we’re not, because we like to imagine that we could someday be in that position. We feel that extreme wealth has to exist, at least for someone, because if it’s there, we can fantasise that one day we could have it. That is the greatest confidence trick the wealthy and the Tories ever pulled off, for it is this feeling that ensures their continued survival and leads to the bizarre situation of people protecting those who take from them. The truth is that for 99.9% of people that wealth is not attainable; and that supermassive black hole wealth doesn’t HAVE to exist. We could take a relatively small amount from those oligarchs and such and make a demonstrable, long-term difference to the most deprived. But no, the dreamers want to protect their dream wealth, in case they ever get in that position. Spoiler alert: you won’t. Look after yourself in the now.
Britain is an increasingly unequal society. Nowhere is this shown more starkly than in life expectancy – it was reported recently that life expectancy in the richest borough of Britain (Belgravia) is now 91 years, while in the poorest (Stockton on Tees) it is 67. The poor are taxed with 24 YEARS OF THEIR LIVES. We are on target for life expectancy to go down for the first time in 1000 YEARS because we are so fucking fat. I could analyse other areas, but life is the biggest and most important to us all.
I don’t know whether most people who voted for them realise what the Tories might do. They’ve been tempered by the Lib Dems for the past five years but now they can push through a more radical agenda. They are already looking at making £12bn in welfare cuts. It’s the cutting of social and community services, libraries and health services that worry me most. I don’t want to live in a country where being poor precludes you from having access to literature. Art is for everyone. I also don’t want to live in a country where children’s heart services are cut before MP’s or banker’s salaries. In my old job, I had to read every few days of the proposed closing of the cardiac services at Leeds General Infirmary. Stopping sick kids from getting the help they need is TEXTBOOK VILLAINY. Eventually the proposal to “reorganise” these services was quashed by the High Court after campaigning to save the department. Do you not find it worrying that the High Court had to step in to stop the government form carrying out what it wanted to do? Now, there are worries of a slightly elevated mortality rate in the department, which is perhaps unsurprising given the upheaval it has had in the last five years and the fight it had to put up.
Britain has shown itself to be ignorant, gullible, selfish, misguided and plain stupid. And also very masochistic. The thought that cheers me is that a good ol’ villainous Tory government does tend to galvanize people and inspire action and protest art. It’s more inspiring to have something to rail against. As the tenure wears on, I think we may also see more direct political engagement from disenfranchised youth. And by that I mean: throwing missiles through the windows of JD Sports to procure the shaped, coloured bits of leather that make them feel worthwhile in the absence of opportunity.
You asked for it Britain, you fat Tory bastards.