Sunday, 25 March 2007

Cogito ergo sumthin'

Prose isn't my strongpoint.
I write plays not novels. Signs not trajectories.

Perhaps I shouldn't blog -- I don't have much to say, and I likely have no particularly elegant way to say it.

"How did I get here?" began the blog of a charming young lady who we shall call Elphaba (for reasons that won't be at all obvious).

Good enough place to start a blog, though here for her was rather more interesting than here for me.

I didn't care much about politics until, oh it must be almost exactly a decade ago -- after all, Our Glorious Leader's desperately keen to stay on a couple more months to rack up a nice round 10 in 10.

I grew up in a nice, normal, middle class family; traditional values, Conservative by default, disinterested by inclination.

In the early hours of the 2nd of May 1997 I sat with half a dozen others in a TV room in my university hall of residence watching the results of the General Election.

I was interested in a detached way, but I didn't really care much about it -- the Tories had made too many mistakes, pissed off too many people, Labour would win, I disliked Blair, distrusted him, but I knew someone who'd worked with Margaret Beckett, another who had known John Smith, they'd be okay, nothing much would change, nothing worth getting all wound up about.

Michael Portillo lost Enfield Southgate by just over 1400 votes. That was a surprise.
The crowd went wild.
Everyone in the room was ecstatic, rejoicing, delighted.

Huh? I've clearly missed something.

I can understand people disagreeing with the Tories, I can understand people blaming them for some things, and I can understand people wanting them out of power (and, by default, Labour in).

But they were hated.
Really, seriously, hated.

I shouldn't have been there, I shouldn't have sat up all night, I should have had a nice early night, and got up well rested the next morning and indulged in a couple of hours mad cramming for an exam that afternoon.

I'm glad I didn't.

This was one of the two most significant events to have shaped my attitude towards the rest of the world (the other one involved puppets). Unrelatedly, but in a "two most significant events" way, the "where were you when JFK was shot/they landed on the moon" of my generation are probably the death of Princess Di and the planes hitting the WTC on 9/11.

So the hatred of the Tories and delight at their fall that I saw on election night changed things for me, made me get more interested in politics, and led to me spending the next few years dabbling on the periphery of the Tory party.

Real life, coupled with a slight reluctance to pound the streets knocking on doors, meant that I drifted away from the party at around the 2001 General Election. I burned a fair bit of shoe leather then, but over the next couple of years found myself singularly underwhelmed by local politics (yes, yes, all politics is...) and far enough removed from the central London party to not notice the rise of the Notting Hill set (is Conservative Fasttrack still going?).

Whether or not you like him & the reforms that are underway in the Party (and there are plenty that don't) David Cameron's been very effective, he's turned the Tories into a government in waiting; and with David Miliband, Charles Clarke, John Reid, etc spending much of their time undermining Gordon Brown it's quite possible that the Tories will win the next General Election.

Which presents me with a problem.

I basically like David Cameron and the bulk of the work the New Tories are doing, I think that the future under Cameron is likely to be a little brighter than under Brown, and I believe there's a very real possibility of a sold Tory win at the next GE.

But I'm also in one of my "get active & do things" phases. I want to change things, fundamental changes, revolutionary-not-evolutionary ones, kick over a few ant hills.

61.3% of the electorate voted in the 2005 General Election, up 2% on 2001, Labour won 55% of the seats with 35% of the vote. So approximately 22% of the electorate actually voted for Labour.

I'm not, necessarily, advocating PR or similar, but something's wrong with that.

Things aren't helped by how & why the people vote -- it's seems that we don't really value democracy any more. We vote for who the press tells us we should vote for, we vote for which of 2 or 3 people we want to be PM -- behaviour which only reinforces the presidential style of government that has become the norm over the last 20 years.

People vote for the party they've always voted for, the party their parents and/or friends voted for.

Or they vote negatively, make protest votes, often to the benefit of the far-left or the far-right (yes, yes, "left vs. right" is sooooo last millennium).

I don't know. Something's wrong, but I don't know what and I don't know how to fix it.

Stop the world, I want to get off...

No, dammit, I don't. This is *my* world as much as it is anyone else's.

I'm rambling. I've taken 10 years and 2 hours to write this post. I wonder how long it will take to finish it?

It's getting late, I should have been doing some work.

Politics is one of the things we're not supposed to talk about, isn't it?
That and religion.
There's a third one, not sure what. Sex, maybe? That'll do.

I'll change the world, and blog about politics, religion, sex, and all that jazz.

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