At last, it’s the final countdown. The end is nigh. We are about to be released from our nerve-shredding anxiety over what the hell is happening in this country. In two days time, we will know who our next political masters are and roughly where this island is headed. With no guarantees that it’s anywhere we want to go.
I don’t usually write about politics. People like Marina Hyde and Frankie Boyle express it so perfectly that it feels like there’s not much point. But these are extreme times. We’ve had a decade of socio-political turbulence and division. Politicians and the mainstream media deal in hate and lies and that has infected us. It’s become impossible to believe anything that the current government says, and the same goes for many of their challengers. Once trusted, impartial institutions like the BBC have lost the faith of many due to their political bias. The likes of the Daily Mail and The Sun spew poisonous bile into the nation daily. Worst of all, so many people seem to believe it.
I know that I’m not the only one who feels completely stressed at the potential outcome of the election. It’s got to the point where I’m glued to Twitter to see what fuckwittery has happened next or to check the latest shift in the opinion polls. Almost no Christmas shopping has occurred and I’m struggling in my sleep again. The distraction is real.
For what it’s worth, I grew up in the Thatcher years and although in theory my education was politically neutral, in practice I was taught by leftie teachers. During my exams the teachers were on strike, the miners were brought to their knees, industries were destroyed. Unemployment soared and communities were devastated by poverty. It didn’t take much in those circumstances for most of my generation to become politically aware and Tory-hating. Yet in comparison to Johnson and his Eton cronies, the Thatcher project seems almost benevolent. Almost.
Despite voting at every single election, I grew up feeling disenfranchised. However, it’s important for me to vote, not just because of the Suffragettes or because some people are still denied a vote today, but because I believe in having a say, even if the system is so flawed that it makes no difference. First past the post voting is completely unfair; we are lucky to have an element of proportional representation in the voting system for the Scottish Parliament but it doesn’t go far enough.
The fact is, Scotland only gets the government it votes for if England decides to vote the same way. My whole, young, electoral life, Scotland (and me) voted for a Labour government, only getting it in 1997 when England finally decided to join in. After the Blair centrist project went tits up over Iraq, England went back to Tory as usual and the idea of Scottish independence started to take hold. Even now, we are still being blamed for the lack of Labour governments across the UK, no matter if the English are still voting for the Tories, like turkeys for Christmas.
Why do I care so much? The answer is obvious. The election started being about Brexit, which like any sane person, I am against. But it’s become about so much more: the future of the NHS, which is at breaking point, the fact that working people are feeding themselves and their starving children at food banks, of which there are more of than McDonalds. People are dying in the streets. Disabled, sick and dying people are being told to go to work in the zero hours contracts that are available and schools are closing early because they can’t afford to pay teachers a full week. I could go on and on, but you know all this. Unless you bury your head in the sand, or in the Daily Hate, that tells you it’s not the government’s fault but it’s all these ‘migrants’, who deserve to be wiped out in some final solution. Just for fleeing from the bombs, which have more than likely been made and sold in Britain to middle eastern dictators.
All of this makes me rage and my blood boil. I think of my ever growing and hungry son and imagine what it would be like to be unable to feed him or buy him shoes. In truth, I am one of those people who, if I became sick and lost my job, could be plunged into poverty within a short time, so it’s frightening that the safety nets are no longer there. Life doesn’t need to be like a Ken Loach film – in Scandinavian countries people pay a lot of tax but they get a lot of things for free, like childcare and education. And if they lose their job, the state will help them until they get a new one. Here, the DWP will assume that you are a lazy, entitled layabout and do everything it can to avoid giving you the pittance that is Universal Credit.
What makes me rage most of all is that people are still voting for these over-privileged, venal bastards. I get why the uber-rich vote for them, although if I ever got rich, I’d still have a conscience and be happy to pay my share for a fairer society. The truth is that most rich folk are as tight as fuck with their money; that’s how they get and stay rich. But why are the working and lower-middle class voting for them? How can anyone believe the bullshit about ‘work hard-get social mobility’ anymore? Let me make it clear if you don’t understand this: our current Tory government do not give one shit about you. They despise the masses and the stupider we are, the better it is for them. How happy are they that we are glued to ‘I’m a Celebrity’ rather than the leaders’ debate? After all, you might notice that your ‘hilarious’ PM is too much of a cowardly ball sack to show up.
This election is fundamental because it’s reflecting to us who we are as a society. The lines are being drawn. There is no room for the ‘oh it’s just a difference of opinion, let’s have a disagreement and a cup of tea and laugh about it’ anymore. This is far too fucking serious. If you vote for this Tory government then there is literally something wrong with you. You have lost your ability to care for humanity and you are a selfish prick. I don’t care if you don’t like Corbyn, or don’t believe in Scottish independence. Find someone else to vote for.
By the way, I’m not judging Tory voters because I think I’m some perfect human being. Far from it. People that know me in real life may be astounded to know that I don’t always think I am right about everything! Even writing that makes me chuckle. If I don’t know something, I will say so or demur. Where climate change is concerned, for example, I’m surely as much to blame as many others of my generation. But when I’m right, I’m right. Like most decent people, I care about society as a whole and I’m ashamed of how the most vulnerable are treated in this society, or how casually racist or homophobic people can be. And now I’m trying really, really, hard to look after the environment more.
As for Scottish independence, I’m not sure it will ever happen in my lifetime. I know many people still don’t believe in it and that’s their right. I was never 100% sure. I lived in England for ten years and was happy there. I have no quarrel with English folk and don’t believe that being privileged and posh necessarily makes you an arsehole, although it often does. I’ve also met and known and loved people who have voted Tory. Usually from England or beyond; in Scotland Tories are a bit more niche and more likely to be dickheads. However, I do believe that those Tory voters I have known would reject this toxic Tory leadership.
My own conversion to independence was the result of the forced hand that was the 2014 referendum. I was a Labour or Green voter until then, whether here or in England. It was around ten years after I’d returned from England; Labour were fucked, usual Tory shite governments – including the useless Lib Dems at one point. And I began to wonder…what if? The deal was sealed when I saw all these athletes, from these tiny wee countries, parading around the east end of Glasgow at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games. Many of those countries have had their share of economic problems, or wars in some cases; terrible tough times. But I bet none of them have ever looked at their problems and wished they were still ruled by the UK. They had pride and knew that their struggles and achievements were their own.
I voted yes, in a spirit of optimism and hope, rather than some idealistic, jingoistic, nationalist fervour. I was amazed by how many voted and how close it was. And that young people and new Scots were franchised too was a wonderful thing. There’s no doubt that there would be turbulence in the process of independence. Many are still welded to union culture, either for financial or tribal reasons, or both. Me, myself I got nothing to lose. And we have always been a hardy, stubborn population that punched above our weight. With the addition of new and diverse cultures, we will be even stronger.
Finances might be difficult, but they’re only going to get worse under the current Tory regime. If England vote them back in, there will be a rush for independence and rightly so, but the no-folk may not be convinced. Anything approaching as close a verdict as the last time is a recipe for civil war, as we’ve seen with the Brexit vote. Scotland needs an independence result that mirrors our EU vote to make it convincing. End of.
What I want most of all, is to live in an independent, small republic in Europe; where citizens have their say, not just in an election, but in regular engagement. I want citizen’s juries, or other democratic structures where the bullshit from politicians is balanced out against feedback from the people their policies affect. No monarchy or system of elite privilege. Equality between gender, class, ethnicity, ability and sexuality. How good does that sound?
That may seem controversial coming from a queen. Let me be clear, I endorse fake Queens such as myself, or those on the RuPaul drag show. But I’m against the idea of monarchy and its filtered down feudal privilege throughout the UK. I wouldn’t advocate putting the royal family down a hatch for a Russian-style sulphuric acid shower, but I’d cut their money and tell them to get to fuck. See how they get on down the job centre with their lack of qualifications.
Final words: tomorrow I will be voting for the SNP and will do so until we have an independent Scotland. Then I would likely vote for a Labour or Green politician, ideally through proportional representation so we all get a say. I won’t be guilt tripped by Labour to vote for them, although I will be happy at any increase in their seats. A hung parliament with deals and consensus among the non-nasty parties is my ideal goal. Because no one party can represent the divided kingdom we have become.
On the plus side, Nicola Sturgeon. Out of all the shitty politicians we have, I respect and trust her that she doesn’t want our country to come to harm. On Twitter, I see there are English people jealous that they can’t vote for her. Obviously, I don’t know anything about her gynae history but judging by her age, she could be peri or menopausal. Which makes her even more of a superhero in my queenly eyes.
I’ve ranted and blethered enough. You know what to do. Go to the polls tomorrow and put a cross in any other box than Tory, or those racist Brexit twats. Google your electoral ward and strategic voting if you need to. In the next blog I will probably talk about how shite it is to be fat. But this time, I urge you, as queen of the Spartans: go out and vote and do what you can to get rid of these self-serving fuckers. We can still do this.
Until next time,