So the election is tomorrow. In case you haven’t heard. To be fair to the political parties and the media, they’ve kept it under wraps so far…so don’t feel too bad if this is the first you’ve read about it.
I reached maximum election news saturation last week, when news of a “Royal Baby” represented a welcome relief from the daily mud-slinging and childish abuse the politicians were aiming at each other.
I’m not running for election and I doubt I ever will. But I can still comment from the sidelines and I think that this election has flagged up just how out of touch most of these people are with everyday life in the UK. The debate focused on such a narrow range of issues, mostly using sound bites about “working families” and “economic recovery”, while ignoring the state of the world outside.
And no, people shouting “war criminal!” at Gordon Brown doesn’t constitute a debate about the Middle East. And again, no, nothing UKIP had to contribute to the national debate counts either, due to their overwhelmingly racist and xenophobic tone.
Plus the fact they seem to have attracted the largest group of dysfunctional candidates since…ever? But they’re not a distraction. All they’ve served to do is lower the tone of the debate. And that’s why I think the female party leaders shone in the debate they attended (sans Cameron because…reasons). They struck me – and I know I’m not alone – as down to earth, grounded, sensible and frankly human.
I’m bored with government parties making promises they could have fulfilled during the last five years. And slightly sick at the sight of them tearing into each other now.
I really, really don’t know how tomorrow is going to turn out. I hope voting turnout is high. I hope the media don’t focus on the oddballs and the psychopaths. I hope it’s at least Sunday before someone mentions the phrase “Constitutional Crisis” (but I fear that ship has already sailed).
I really, really hope Nigel Farage doesn’t get elected. In fact, I’d like to see UKIP implode.
I hope the Tories responsible for slashing social care and dismantling the NHS get the drubbing they deserve. I hope their ardent fans in the Lib Dems get it in the neck too.
I hope that Cameron isn’t taken hostage by his own right-wingers and goes into some horrific shotgun-marriage arrangement with UKIP, the DUP and any other right-wing loonies that get in. That will only lead to a more reactionary and ideological government, increased focus on our differences and what divides us and increased paranoia.
I’d like to see Greens, SNP and Labour do well (and Plaid Cymru!) as their messages on social policy and fairness resonated with me. And one thing Westminster needs now is fewer people thinking about how government policy will upset bankers. It needs less shouting, more women and more people who actually care about the impact of their legislation on people in the real world.
My overall hope is for a coalition of progressive parties to work together. Labour, Plaid, SNP, SDLP… they could get some things done. Yes, Ed will have to spin his way out of his promise to avoid a coalition with the SNP. And Nicola will have to negotiate and step back from some of her demands. Because that it what coalition is all about.
So yes, go out and vote. Don’t waste it, even if you’ve given up all hope of change. Cherish the fact that you can actually vote, unlike in many of the countries which are run by dictators, theocracies or a combination of the two.
And if you don’t vote, don’t complain about the result. You had your chance.