So here we are, two days before the Election of 2019. Totally lost.
On the one hand, we have Boris Johnson refusing to look at a photo of a small child, seriously ill with pneumonia, who’s forced to lie on a pile of coats in A& E. Despite his Eton education, our Prime Minister apparently can’t subtract 19,000 nurses from 51,000. He rages at European migrants, people who are working in our NHS, the care and service sectors, who are the partners and parents of British subjects, people who pay taxes and contribute so much to the UK, for having the gall to treat Britain “like their own country”. As if it was their home, the cheek! Even the DUP, self-serving sectarians that they are, are distancing themselves from Tory policies and screaming about Johnson’s lies over the mess his “terrific” deal leaves Northern Ireland in.
But it’s okay, folks. BoJo knows where he’s going. Straight along the yellow brick road till he gets Brexit done.
On the other hand, Labour’s campaign has been abandoned by the Jewish Labour Party, despairing of getting Jeremy Corbyn to stamp out Labour Party antisemitism. And meantime the Labour Shadow Chancellor John Macdonnell thinks secondary strikes, the same sympathy picketing that so damaged Britain’s economy in the seventies and eighties, is a great idea. And, hey, while we’re on, let’s renationalise BT. That worked so well last time round (says my ex-BT engineer husband).
O-o-h, Je-e-eremy Corbyn. Waving the red flag to usher us on into his seventies-mired version of socialist Paradise.
There is another place to go. There’s the middle ground, shared among the LibDems, the SNP, the Independent Group for Change, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party. And a smattering of incredibly brave politicians like Dominic Grieve. All these support staying in the EU, are worried sick by climate change, and respect diversity, the rule of law, and human rights. Over and over again they have collaborated in the fight against Brexit, and even stood aside for each other at recent elections. Problem is, like being in Alice in Wonderland, if you vote for one of these it seems instead you probably just get one of the two awful giants you definitely didn’t want. Oh, the joys of our first past the post system.
Is there anywhere left to go? I don’t just mean under the duvet till 1 February. The relentless polls seem to say not.
But by now, you will know me – always a small corner of optimism in my darkest moments, even when all feels lost. And I have found three reasons to hope we’ll navigate our way back to some sort of sunlit uplands.
Here they are:
The polls don’t take account of over a million Brits living in Europe who have a vote in this election. Thye’ve been organising themselves, and helping each other to get proxy and postal votes. And they have every incentive to support Remain parties.
Also unaccounted for are the three million-plus new voters who’ve registered in the past few weeks. Many of them are young, and again highly motivated to save their futures and vote for Remain parties.
Finally, I see from my Facebook feeds that vote-swapping is burgeoning. Better late than never. So if you are a Labour voter with a strong LibDem candidate, or vice versa, get yourself onto Best for Britain, or one of the other tactical voting websites, and find a vote swap partner. Or just take a chance and vote tactically at home.
If we all do this, there’s a chance we’ll wake up on 13 December, and find like Dorothy that we’re back home, in the sane liberal forward-looking country that used to be ours.