Friday Reading S08E17
I promised an election free newsletter. And then I saw the result. So it turned out I lied. It’s fine. Apparently there are no consequences for that.
I feel like I’m trapped on an island of selfish racist people. I don’t understand how else to explain that we have voted in absolute droves for the party that shut our libraries, sacked our police officers, failed to fill our nursing vacancies, deported our friends and family.
I think about how I was 8 when Margaret Thatcher became prime minister. I soaked in the newspapers and the TV news and Ronald Reagan and “free world capitalism must prevail at all costs” and it took me a while to realise that this wasn’t the way it has to be at all.
But in my lifetime our country seems to have convinced itself that social democracy is unaffordable. That funding the welfare state is a “hand out” while corporation taxes are an imposition. And for multi-national companies, well, it’s fine. Pay your tax in Ireland or Luxembourg or Panama or wherever or not at all. We don’t need a share of the money you earned on our shores.
I can see why people didn’t vote Labour. Sitting on the fence on Brexit eventually had to give way. And the way the Labour Party and leadership have dealt with antisemitism has been deplorable and I understand the hurt it has caused. But we’ve collectively voted back in a government that has been deporting British people of the Windrush generation to the Caribbean to die alone because they can’t produce some papers their parents should have signed in 1950whatever. The whole system is racist to its core.
In 1997 I cried in the early hours when Tony Blair gave his victory speech. I know it is all rightly tainted now by the Iraq war and what followed. And despite appearances I’m not a Blairite centrist dad. I was in my 20s and I’d been all the way through school and university and never lived under anything I could remember other than Thatcherism. What a moment that was. To feel it was finally over.
I look at my children now, 6 and 10. The ten year old has already lived under a decade of austerity. We’re fine personally. I guess we’ll even probably benefit from tax cuts now. But it turns out that the very rich and enough of the middle rich and the slightly rich and those just getting along all voted to throw the poor under a bus. There’s more food banks than McDonalds in this country, and people just voted for more of that. Fuck that.
You don’t claw back a majority like Thursday’s in one election. My daughter will almost certainly be twenty before there’s even a chance of someone other than Boris Johnson being prime minister
The only silver lining for me is that hopefully both my children will grow up, see the cruelty and poverty around them, in a country that apparently prides itself on being on being one of the richest in the world, and will one day have that moment too, and will have burned for it and will have helped make it happen.
Fuck selfish racist people into the sun. That’s the newsletter. Press send.