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I always feel that I should prefer Twitter to Facebook for political discussions, but then it goes and reminds me just how easy it is to whip up outrage over almost nothing. Like this morning, when I started to see this tweet being retweeted across my timeline:




I have to say that my first thought was "well, yes, but they gave the Lib Dems a referendum on PR in exchange for their support, and look how that turned out", because I'm not convinced Tory coalition promises are worth the paper they're written on. But then I looked at the Grauniad's liveblog for today, from which I discovered that (a) the "Tory minister" was actually former Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Owen Paterson (he of "the badgers have moved the goalposts" fame), and what he actually said was:

I don’t see many major social issues coming up in the next parliament.

You might get a debate I suppose on further reduction of abortion times as medical science advances.

But the stuff you mention like gay rights and all that, which you’re probably referring to, that is all devolved.

It’s not only a free vote issue, most of this, but it’s nearly all devolved and that’s down to the politicians in Northern Ireland to resolve.


And it's not as though there haven't been votes on whether to reduce the abortion time limit before. Most recently, in 2008, under a Labour government. None of which is to say that this isn't an issue I feel strongly about, and I'm very pleased that my new MP has already tweeted her opposition to any proposal to reduce abortion time limits, but it isn't actually the Awful Thing that the Twitter hot-takes are making it appear.

***

And if you are in dire need of a break from politics, may I recommend checking out Mr Darcy's inbox? (Anne Elliot's is also worth a look.)
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I went to bed before the polls closed yesterday, having sworn that I wouldn't check the news until my alarn went off at 6am, though T did come up at five past ten and tell me that the exit polls were predicting a hung parliament. Despite sticking to my resolution not to check the news, I slept (unsurprisingly) dreadfully; I have taken to listening to podcasts as a way to keep from going into an anxiety spiral instead of dropping off, and normally I'm asleep in about ten minutes (it takes me several nights to get through an average podcast in fits and starts), but last night I kept dozing for half an hour or so and then waking up again just as the podcasts were ending and then scrolling back to keep listening from the point were I'd fallen asleep. Today was a bit of a write-off, but then I wasn't the only person to be wandering around in a daze.

Anyway, yesterday I had thought that I'd be reasonably happy with a Lib Dem MP and a Tory majority of less than 50ish, so I was really quite pleased when I woke up to find that I have a Lib Dem MP and the Tories don't have a majority at all, although I'd be much happier if they weren't in a position where they can get a majority with the support of the DUP. Still, a Tory minority government which can get a majority of about 5 with the support of a load of people so extreme lots of the Tories can't stand them either if absolutely everyone turns up is probably better than a Tory government that could win a comfortable majority even if lots of people had buggered off down the pub, especially if the opposition can actually pull together and, y'know, oppose. (I will be emailing my brand-new Lib Dem MP over the weekend to urge her to do this.)

Plus, UKIP lost their deposit in my constituency, only getting 1.3% of the vote, down from 6.9% last time. That can't be bad!
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Maybe I'm just a pessimist*, but I called the Leave victory as soon as it became clear that the Tories had won an overall majority and Cameron wasn't going to have to regretfully drop the commitment to a referendum as part of his coalition negotiations. So I'm not as surprised as some people seem to have been, but I have spent the last 24 and a bit hours mostly swinging wildly between the "depression" and "anger" stages of the Kubler-Ross cycle, with occasional ventures into "bargaining". I started yesterday at work by getting teary at my line manager, which was probably good as it kind of got it out of my system so I could spend most of the rest of the day trying to be calm and reasoned and a little bit optimistic in a "the next few years are going to be really tough but it isn't the end of the world" kind of way for my staff, who were all horribly distressed. Even though part of me is still really worried that actually, it is the end of the world. Acceptance is going to be some time coming, I think.

I know that I am wildly lucky in all this. I live in an affluent, fairly liberal area of the country (Tory MPs notwithstanding). I may have Anglo-Indian heritage, but I'm white enough to pass. I may be bisexual, but I'm married to a man. I don't have a disability**. I don't have children. We own our house and I have a job which allows us to afford the mortgage payments quite comfortably, working for an organisation which, as our VC's all-staff-and-students "Keep Calm and Carry On" email yesterday said, has weathered worse in its long history, and whose arcane and antiquated governance structures mean that it can't even consider redundancies for people at my grade without the majority consent of around 5,000 academics and senior administrative and library staff who are not known for their tendency to support modern employment practices. And three of T's grandparents were Irish so he can claim citizenship by descent which gives us a route out if it comes to the point where we need one. I am probably one of the most fortunate people in the country right now, but I'm still appalled and terrified about what this is going to mean for everyone else; unlike our inglorious leaders I'm not capable of thinking that if I'm OK, it doesn't matter about everyone else. It matters hugely, and I need to work out what I can do to help, either by giving time or (more likely) money.

Today I am mostly back in "anger". I'm furious with David Cameron for being such an overprivileged bastard that he never imagined that he wouldn't get his way, and leading the whole country into this just to prove a point to his party. I'm doubly furious that the only consequence he'll suffer personally is going down in history as the Worst Prime Minister Ever. He's not going to struggle to keep a roof over his head, or eat, or afford medical care. I'm furious with Boris Johnson for using the whole country as his pawn in a game where the only objective is for him to get what he wants. I'm furious with the Leave campaign for running such a hateful, dishonest campaign and with the Remain campaign for being so lacklustre it was never going to win anyone over. I'm actually less furious with Nigel Farage, though still furious enough that the sight of his face makes me want to punch the TV or computer screen, but he is what he's always been and I'm far more furious with the media and politicians who've taken him seriously and turned someone who should never have been more than a lunatic fringe candidate into an actual political force.

Still, despite having very rarely had a greater desire to get absolutely stinkingly drunk as I did last last night, I didn't have a drink. And I actually slept better last night than I have in ages (by which I mean that I woke up at 5:40 instead of 4am, but that's nearly two hours more sleep than I've been averaging!). And at some point this weekend I'm going to do the only really constructive thing I can, and email my Tory MP asking her to do what she can to make sure that the next Prime Minister is someone moderate and sensible who will try to negotiate the actual exit on the best possible terms for the country.

* That's what growing up left-wing in the South-East under Thatcher gets you; I automatically assume that any political opinion I hold must be in a tiny minority, and that I'm doomed to disappointment. Sadly, my life as an adult voter has tended not to prove me wrong (with the exception of 1997, but look how that turned out).

** While I do have mental health problems which make living my life harder than it would be without them, I'm (again) fortunate that they aren't bad enough to prevent me working, and they aren't a visible disability.

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