No Need To Panic Just Yet

Published by Rick on Tagged Uncategorized

Yesterday’s election didn’t turn out the way I and 99% of my UK friends would have liked it to go, but I’m not sure we need to despair for the time being. Sure, the idea of a totally Conservative government in charge of my adopted country has me a bit worried about what they’re going to try to pull, but I’m absolutely certain that no matter how far Right this government teeters, it couldn’t be as bad as the scenario 18 months from now if America chooses a Tea Party backed candidate to become president. I’m not much of a Hillary Clinton fan, but I’m at least certain that under her regime, women’s bodies would be safe from any political intervention.

Let’s put it this way: David Cameron’s party has an additional five years to privatize the National Health Service, to take away the free prescription benefit and the free London transport for people over 60, to allow the co-op I live in to be taken over by some right-to-buy scheme that would raise our rents to the unaffordable, and to take away the small housing benefit that I’m not sure I can survive without. If any or all of the above are accomplished, and America doesn’t have a President Cruz or Rubio or Huckabee or Paul or Fiorina or Palin or Bush, I will pack it up and return to the US.

What greeted me at the newsagent (newsstand for you Yanks) this morning was the headlines. Could I bear my daily 60p investment in the Daily Mail, which I usually buy because it has a fathomable puzzle section which includes trivia questions that are tailor-made for my pub quizzes? Admittedly, I also buy it because given the choice of reading the liberal Guardian, which preaches to the choir, or the Mail, which never fails to piss me off in some way, somehow the brain waves are more stimulated with the latter. So the Mail’s headline was, “Hallelujah! Britain votes for sanity!” while the left leaning Mirror had on a total black background, “Five more damned years.” It was a tough choice to invest that 60p, but I just disciplined myself to skip over the 16 pages of gloating, and get to the “important” news of the shame of Beyoncé’s see-through outfit at (whatever) awards ceremony I could give a shit about.

Ultimately, while it was depressing to see the results, I’m not having the anxiety attacks I was close to having in 2012 when it appeared very possible that America could have had a President Romney. Over here, I was more expecting a replay of 2010, where either a coalition government, or even a second election, seemed more than likely. No, the Tories bagged this one fair and square, but at least most of London went Labour, even my good old stomping grounds of Dagenham, which surprised me. Interesting to look at the voting maps, and to see that the colors are reversed, i.e. red is liberal, blue is conservative, and London was about 75% Red.

What keeps me from being the total pessimist in this whole affair is the fact that Cameron, in addition to not being the most illuminating of politicians, is also not totally beloved by his own party because many of them feel he’s not conservative enough. What propped him up was that none of the other party candidates had much to bring to the table either. Most of them were suits with not much in them, particularly Labour’s Great White Hope Ed Miliband, who gave it a go, but had the charisma of lawn furniture, and Labour looked doomed if they had to bet all their chips on this one. Not surprisingly, Ed has already stepped down as head of the party, as have Nick Clegg from the Liberal Democrats (a misnomer if there ever was one), and Nigel Farage from far right UK Independence Party (UKIP). I applaud them all for that, if little else.

Yes, it’s depressing when the results aren’t what you hope for. I wonder if Russell Brand has had a rethink on his “don’t vote” stance. I actually liked him more as an activist than as a comic, and the fact that the Daily Mail went after him almost, well, daily, made me like him even more. If I could have, I most certainly WOULD have voted in this election, and I feel just a tiny morsel of regret that I couldn’t, especially after living in UK for over 12 years. That’s longer than I lived in San Francisco, and if I stay here much past 2020, I’ll surpass my LA residency as well. I have no plans to become a citizen here, since I have Indefinite Stay, which allows me to come and go as I please without work permits, but I do hope, since I’m a UK taxpayer, that nothing radical is attempted for at least the next five years or so.

Ultimately, just have faith that while there are still liberals holding seats in both Parliament and US Congress, whatever bullshit agenda the Right tries to foist upon us will at least encounter a few obstacles along the way, and presumably nothing totally devastating will actually become law. Yeah, I know, and the moon is made of green cheese. Hey, since the Tories have been in power, the San Francisco Giants have won the World Series three times! Take the bitter with the sweet.

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