To no-one’s surprise it is the general election in Britain today. There is some great disparity in the various pre-vote polls. Some place the Conservative Party up to ten percentage points ahead of Labour. YouGov on the other hand put the Tories a mere one point ahead of Labour. The Liberal Democrats and the Openly Racist Party (also known as UKIP) have seemingly vanished from existence.
I haven’t a notion how this vote will go. I have very little faith in my political psychic powers.
Before the Brexit vote I laughed at the idea that Britain would divorce from its largest trading partner. I assumed that the public would reject the tide of jingoistic, inward looking Little Britain style xenophobia that the foreign owned right wing press were pushing. I thought that the historical revisionism about how Britain of old, was some fairytale land of plenty, would be rejected as sentimentality and lies. I assumed that Britain had come to terms with the fact that it was no longer a world superpower and was now happy with its status as a wealthy country – albeit with an extraordinarily grim history of colonising and stealing from other countries – off the coast of mainland Europe.
I was so very, very wrong.
In the US presidential election I laughed at the idea that the world’s richest country would vote for a bilious, racist, neon-orange, reality TV star who has been declared bankrupt repeatedly, and who had exactly zero political experience. It would be impossible for him to bloviate his way into becoming the most powerful man in the world. The polls predicted his loss. And in fact, he did receive almost three million less votes than the losing candidate. Surely there were checks in place – the main one being national common sense – to prevent such an eventuality?
I was so very, very wrong.
I’ve heard arguments that the first past the post systems in both Britain and the US, and the incomprehensible electoral college in the US facilitates such outcomes.
But that doesn’t explain away the vast numbers of people who voted for the gaseous orange moron, or who voted to inflict an act of such massive national self-harm on Britain. I don’t understand these people.
I try to assume the best – that people are not inherently bad. But how can anyone justify voting for a tantrum throwing racist imbecile like Donald Trump? How can anyone so self delusional to think that plucky little Britain will somehow have the upper hand (or indeed any hand at all) in negotiating its exit from an economic bloc ten times bigger than Britain is? How could people vote to deprive their children of their right to see the world on their doorstep?
So today Britain chooses between a posh, braying, Type 1 diabetic, with a shameful history of homophobic bigotry in her voting record; and a right on geography teacher.
I know who I’d vote for.
But I am so useless at political predictions I will keep my own goddamned opinion to myself.