Politics

Making Three Days Count: Don’t Be A Politician

It’s November 1st, and until very recently much of Britain believed it would be waking up to a new dawn, a new and scary dawn perhaps, but one which saw us on the other side of this whole Brexit mess. Boris Johnson had declared, after all, that he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than extend our departure beyond Halloween so it was absolutely, definitely, positively happening…until it wasn’t. Ding, ding. And there goes the bell after yet another pointless round.

If We’re Not Arguing About Brexit…

But, before we could even get up to put the kettle on, the great British public found it had ringside seats yet again. This time it was for the less than thrilling and equally deadlocked brawl over the date for a general election. Boris wanted the 12th of December. The Lib Dems and SNP favoured the 9th and nobody was exactly sure what Labour wanted.

Three days. My God, these people will argue over anything! Given that it has so far taken us three years to not leave Europe, I was really struggling to see what difference those three days could actually make to anything or anyone in real terms. But argue and bluster they did.

Rhubarb, Rhubarb…as my Right Honourable Donkey Friend said…

A Long Weekend

Which got me thinking…just what could you achieve in three days? It’s a long weekend. 72 hours. That’s about as long as it takes a steak to pass through your body from mouth to…well you know. 72 hours is also the maximum time it will take to get your ESTA application through for a visit to the US under their new ‘visa waiver programme’ (that is assuming you hail from a non-bearded, non-thobe wearing country which is not on Donald Trump’s hit list). Talking of travel, you can also cover the 240,000 miles to the Moon in about three days if the mood takes you, and just so long as you also have the appropriate liquid hydrogen propelled vehicle to make that a real possibility.

Too far? Well, you could walk from London to Liverpool in about three days and still have a couple of hours in hand for loo breaks and tea breaks. Better yet, you could take the train up there and have time to actually enjoy the city once you arrive: visit the Beatles museum at the Royal Albert Dock perhaps, catch a band at the Cavern Club or take a ferry across the Mersey and pretend to be Gerry and The Pacemakers. Or with three days to play with you could head in the opposite direction and find yourself in the mystical town of Glastonbury. I’ve been researching this spiritual hideaway for a writing project just recently and this is definitely on my to-do-soon list. You can climb the tor, the tiered, conical hill which looks dreamily out over the Somerset Levels, whispering of the legend of King Arthur. Or, while you’re in the town you could get your recently deceased pet ethically stuffed or buy a cauldron at one of their wonderfully bonkers magical stores. And if you happen to be there on the 16th of this month, then you can even watch their spectacular illuminated carnival as a bonus.

Bring Back the Magic.

Prefer staying in to going out? Three days is not enough to watch the entire boxset of Friends (with 236 episodes in total) but you could certainly do the whole of Game of Thrones. You might struggle to finish War and Peace (ten days is apparently the average length it takes to finish that tome) but you could definitely devour Lord of the Rings as well as The Hobbit and still  have time to tweet about it as you did so.

A Short Book

In fact, you only need about 45 hours to read the complete works of Jane Austen so you could also have a look at the Sparknotes while you’re at it to see if there are any salient points you might have missed. Interestingly (or not), I bought myself the complete novels of Jane Austen back in 2007 at Singapore Airport (because obviously there is nothing better to buy at an airport, right???) and when I opened the book in 2019 to research this piece, I found my bookmark wedged a mere 79 pages into Sense and Sensibility…the first novel to be collected. Ah, well, obviously having the time is one thing; doing something with that time is another thing altogether.

Is time running out?

So, Until the 12th of Never…

Time is precious. We have to make it count. I suspect debating a withdrawal agreement bill for an extra three days will not count in the end and ultimately nothing is going to change after the general election. Sure, it would be nice to believe that on December 13th the country will wake up to the new dawn we were supposed to get today but I have a strong suspicion that you will open your eyes as the bell rings yet again for another pointless round in the political ring.

Pride and Prejudice anyone?

Posted by TA Blezard in Books, Goals, Opinion, 0 comments

Why I Don’t Care Who The Next Prime Minister Is!

THE POLITICS OF LIFE

Your vote counts.

Apart from fumbling through a mediocre degree in Politics and History many, many moons ago, and a brief dalliance with the Young Liberals when I was both young and liberal, I am not much of a political creature. Still, I would–until very recently–routinely follow the news and could identify the faces of those in government as well as naming the key opposition players. Moreover, I voted whenever that stiff, little card popped through my letterbox because I didn’t want to take this hundred-year-old right for granted. Greater women than I had fought and died for my right to bimble up to the local church and mark my X casually on some ballot paper or other. Besides, whatever you think of those people in government, it’s still better to live in a country where your opinion is sought out every five years or so, than a country where such freedoms are but an illusion.

THIS THING CALLED BREXIT

But then came 2016. And David Cameron’s ill-conceived pledge to hold a referendum on our place in Europe so long as we could just find it in our hearts to vote Tory for one last time. So we did. And there was. And now we have Brexit. And in the continuing debacle that has followed Mr Cameron scuttling off the very ship which he shot a hole into (just as fast as his ratty little feet could carry him) everything has changed. Or at least it has for me.

Cute little mouse or rat deserting sinking ship?

Brexit means Brexit, we are told. That apparently is what the British public wanted. Except Brexit clearly hasn’t meant Brexit at all. It has meant promise-making, then breaking, in-fighting and name-calling and ship-jumping and endless votes which result in a return to that depressing square marked ‘One’. If you ask me, it seems to be getting clearer and clearer that nobody really knows what Brexit might mean.

And in a way, that’s still okay, because it really is a leap into the unknown, so there are going to be mistakes and confusion and probably some dead-ends and wrong turns along the way. But any of those can only happen once we do SOMETHING, anything, anything at all!

Or perhaps what I mean when I say ‘that’s OK’ is that it would still be OK if our politicians had the honesty to admit that none of them are exactly sure what’s going to happen next, so…please bear with us while we muddle through until normal service can once again be resumed. I would prefer that to the endless posturing and claim-making (outlandish and otherwise) all of which are then shouted down by everyone else (who presumably have crystal balls,  so sure are they that Plan X, Y or Z won’t work). Hear, hear. Rhubarb, rhubarb. Etc etc.

THE END OF OZ

My feelings on the last 3 years? Frustrated. Disillusioned. And increasingly fed up.

Where has all the magic gone?

But most of all I am disappointed to have discovered that our politicians are as clueless as the rest of us on the whole issue of what Brexit will entail. Have they always been this indecisive? I really did used to think that the politicians in charge knew more than me. They had access to information that I didn’t have and had the kinds of brains that could then do justice to that information, or so I assumed. That’s why they ran the country and I ran a motorcycle training company. But suddenly it’s like getting to the end of the Yellow Brick Road and discovering that the Wizard of Oz is actually just some geezer behind a curtain pulling levers and making strange noises. And who do you vote for after you realise that?

DOES IT REALLY MATTER?

Corbyn or Cameron, May or Miliband, I’m struggling to care anymore. I don’t feel strongly whether my Johnson is a Boris or a Melanie or a Diana. I’m not fussed If we Hunt for a Fox or an Eagle out there.  I feel like they’re all the same (and I know they’re probably not and I’m being unfair) but while our politicians are trying to out-shout and outsmart each other, nothing is getting done and I suspect we have become something of a laughing stock to the rest of the world.

That was unexpected!

We’re not a revolutionary country, I get that. We like our change slow and gradual. But sometimes, as anyone who has suffered a personal calamity or tragedy will testify, life just tips you out of your comfortable little rut or groove and forces you down an altogether bumpier track. You can rail against it all you like but in the end that just wastes precious energy which is needed for more important things like clinging on and coming up with a plan as to what the hell to do next.

I know a little about this as my mother had a catastrophic stroke two years ago throwing family life as we knew it into a state of complete flux. It was scary…how do we cope? It was sad…things are never going to be the same again. But then time presses on and after a while you adapt and realise that now there is just a new type of normal.

WHAT COLOUR IS THE FUTURE?

What colour is your vote?

So whoever ends up wielding the power to make these great future decisions for our country, I say let’s just get on with it so we can all finally settle in to whatever that new type of normal is going to be. Let’s get the Brexit Shit-Storm moving because we can’t come out the other side until we’ve gone through it. Red. Blue. Yellow. I don’t think it’s going to make a whole lot of difference in the long run. So who knows….the future’s bright, the future’s….orange? Right?

Posted by TA Blezard in Opinion, 0 comments