I’ve got post election blues. It’s been four days since the election and I still feel numb. To liken it to mourning is maybe overstating it a little, but the five stages of dealing with grief still resonate.
Stage One – Denial
Denial came and went as quickly as Sunderland counts its votes. Exit polls had been wrong before. They’d clearly not counted the votes from my Twitter timeline as they were 90% anti-austerity. Until the BBC canteen served up a sautéed hat to Paddy Ashdown or a deep fried kilt to Alistair Campbell there was still hope …
Stage Two – Anger
… or not …
By the time I was snoring on the sofa in a pool of my own dribble it had already turned to anger. Angry dribble, which sounds like a shit rock band from the 80’s but I digress….
I was angry with the pollsters for offering false hope and then getting it so spectacularly wrong.
Angry with each and every person who’d voted Conservative. Who’d witnessed the last five years and thought, ‘more of the same please, but without the handbrake of a Lib-Dem conscience’. Who’d put their own pocket before that of the most vulnerable. Or disabled. Or the NHS.
I was angry with Labour for offering such a pathetic alternative. With Ed Milliband for choosing a bacon butty when a cup of tea would have sufficed. For thinking a tombstone was a good idea and then compounding it by chiseling out sound-bites in comic bloody sans!?
Angry with a voting system that consigned millions of votes to the bin, and then angrier still that my preferred system of proportional representation would have returned 82 UKIP MP’s.
I was angry with Andrew Neil’s hair. With Jeremy Vine and his wanky graphics. And with Michael Gove for being, well, Michael Gove.
Stage Three – Bargaining
By the morning I’d reached the stage known as bargaining, or ‘what ifs?’
What if Milliband had accepted the SNP’s advances?
What if Caroline Lucas had led the Greens?
What if some pesky kids had ripped David Cameron’s face off and revealed the evil janitor beneath? Or Margaret Thatcher?
What if Hadrian’s Wall had been built just south of Stockport?
What if only those on Twitter were allowed to vote?
Stage Four – Depression
I’m not depressed, at least not clinically. I can’t afford to be. I’ve suffered a mental illness under a Tory managed NHS and it meant an eighteen-month waiting list for any sort of treatment.
But I do despair at what’s to come. Of just how bad it can get before a credible alternative surfaces. Of Osborne’s welfare cuts and haircuts. NHS privatisation and English nationalism. Scrapping the Human Rights Act and reviving the snoopers charter. Foodbanks and benefit sanctions. Of Michael Gove and Michael bloody Gove.
Stage Five – Acceptance
Bollocks to that, I’m still angry!
Not so much with those who voted Tory, at least not all of them. I know people who were previously staunch Labour voters but crossed over to the dark side. Who were as reluctant and heavy-hearted as they were shy. Who voted less by choice than by a lack thereof.
I’m no longer angry with the pollsters, who to be fair are now as redundant and irrelevant as the landlines they canvassed.
I’ve even forgiven Andrew Neil’s hair and Jeremy Vine’s green screen. Just.
But I’ve not forgiven the Labour Party.
I’m as stereotypical a Labour voter as you’ll get. Northern. Working class. A socialist at heart with an innate social conscience. And yet I didn’t vote for them either. I wasn’t prepared to choose between two shades of blue.
For what it’s worth I voted for the Whig Party (www.whigs.uk) because they offered a genuinely positive alternative, and I live in a safe Labour seat, but mostly for their positive alternative. You should check out their manifesto. No really, you should!
When my anger does finally recede I can’t help feeling it’ll only be replaced by despair. Already the in-fighting has begun. Do they go left or centre. Centre or left. To me, to Umunna. To Umunna, to me. It’s like a tragicomedy performed by the Chuckle Brothers.
And whilst all this is going on the Tories will continue cutting welfare, dismantling the NHS and widening the gap between rich and poor. Unopposed and with an ever increasing mandate.
But I’m also angry with myself for not knowing what to do about it. Armchair activism clearly isn’t the answer, and it’s not like I could stand myself, I’d be an expense scandal waiting to happen.
So I’m left twiddling my thumbs in a political wilderness, albeit with Clegg, Milliband and Farage for company. Which in a game of snog, marry, avoid would be in that order. In case you were wondering. Which you weren’t.
Think I need a lie down.