This week, I wrote a story to submit to Gutter and then I forgot to submit it. I am clearly getting a little bit sloppy. Quite appropriately (see below) the themes of this story, called Monsters, are alienation and losing control. I had still not heard back from New Writing Scotland, so I chased them today and they helpfully and swiftly responded to say I had not made the cut. So you won’t be seeing any of my stories in print any time soon! You must be very glad I have this blog.
I had a good bank holiday, which partly explains my forgetting to submit my story – I had pizza and beer with friends from law school on Friday night, a walk in the park on Saturday, a sauna on Sunday, and a 125 km cycle on Monday, following by late lunch with mum and dad at Stereo.
So I started the working week on Tuesday feeling fresh; then the election was called. Dread. Tories so far ahead of Labour in the polls that I feel nauseated. This is a horrendous opportunity for May to cement her power, to create a ‘mandate’ for the foulest of authoritarian Brexits. Despite my regular warning on this blog, the people appear to be unconvinced that we are currently under the yoke of a government that will be remembered as among the worst in history.
I yearned for a progressive alliance. I felt it was the only hope. Labour, Liberals, Green, even the SNP, should have allied to end the hard Brexit, and to introduce voting reform. The Tories must never again be allowed to seize control off the back of less than 40% of the popular vote! So I was sad to see Vince Cable has ruled this out, saying that the idea of Corbyn as PM was so remote as to not be worth thinking about. Then Tim Farron stood in the house and said he might even go into coalition with the Tories. And let’s not even get into his views on abortion.
So, should Labour replace Corbyn? It would have to be done very soon, and it isn’t looking likely. Losses in local elections could justify his resignation, but any leadership contest would need to be quick. I think it could only happen if there was agreement between Corbyn and the rest of the party for someone, perhaps Clive Lewis or Yvette Cooper, to take over uncontested and then see where the pieces land on 9 June. If it can happen, it probably should. There is too much at stake, and Corbyn is too far behind in the polls. It saddens me, but a Labour majority under Corbyn would probably be a plot twist too far for the structure of reality to continue to be.
Should Labour have vetoed the election? Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, they had that power (to a degree). Given May’s inexplicable lead in the polls, this is something I would have given serious consideration to, had I been Labour leader. Interestingly, the Fixed Term Parliaments Act can be overturned on a simple majority vote. Simply passing an act allowing for a new election would amount to an implicit repeal of the FTP Act, due to the unique way in which our constitution barely works.
I feel that this entry has focused too much on problems with the Labour party. I should make clear that these are problems of perception; Labour’s ten pledges are excellent, and I expect the manifesto will be excellent too. But will anybody care?
For further balance, I would like to say some negative things about Theresa May: first, she is clearly deeply uncomfortable committing herself to anything—note her tepid support for the remain campaign, which she must be very happy that the right wing media has airbrushed from history. So far, in this day old campaign, she won’t tell us any detail about Brexit, she refuses to appear on the TV debate, and she promises a ‘slimmed down manifesto’. To me this suggests she has a lot to hide. I think she knows that this is her last chance to capitalize on phantom popularity that will evaporate.
Under the Tories homelessness goes up and people eat from food banks. I had never even heard of a food bank before the Tories won office. The 40-odd per cent of people who think the Tories are doing a good job need their heads examined. Surely they can’t all just be nasty, selfish bastards? I understand that some people buy into the ‘economic competence’ argument. To them, after a decade of zero growth, with inequality rising, with everyone but the richest now poorer than they were a decade ago, with levels of investment abysmally low, with cracks in the pavements, queues in the hospitals, with university fees of £9,000 per annum, with houses unaffordable for those on the median wage, I have to ask: why would you believe that the Tories are economically competent? They haven’t even managed to eradicate the deficit, which they were going to do by 2015.
In other news, I have started reading Between The Sheets by Ian McEwan and I am going to see the new erotic lesbian movie tomorrow, so expect a sexier read next week!