This time tomorrow the polls will be about to close, and the country’s fate will be sealed for five years. Pray god it’s not a Tory landslide. Mrs May has not had a good election campaign, but while television is required to be balanced in its reporting, newspapers are not. The headlines of the Mail and the Express make me wonder if we are on the same planet, let alone if we have been listening to the same speeches or reading the same manifestos.
On the other side of the pond, in the wake of the terrorist attack at London Bridge, that great savant Mr Trump has been making unwarranted accusations against our elected London mayor, Sadiq Khan. Trump seems to be under the impression that Sadiq Khan is a threat to democracy. I’d say the boot is on the other foot.
Having been pretty uninspired by the leaders of the three main parties at the start of the election campaign, I am surprised to find myself increasingly impressed by Jeremy Corbyn. I have to pinch myself every now and then as this seems so unlikely. I am hoping that the votes for the Lib Dems, Labour and Greens will be enough to halt the Maybot in her tracks, or at least severely hobble her. If David Davies and IDS lose their seats, I may have to do a conga around Parliament Square. Don’t hold your breath.
If Friday finds us with a Tory majority and a strong opposition, I may still open the champagne. Opposition is vital in any democracy, and Theresa May’s calls for unity fail to disguise the fact that she would prefer a weak opposition, or preferably no opposition at all. This is a frightening prospect in any country, and her further statements that human rights could be suspended in certain circumstances should strike fear in the hearts of anyone who thinks even for a moment what that implies.
But May’s stance on human rights has always been shaky. So devout Tories as well as others who think she is a *strong* leader, offering a *stable* government, may not bother to consider the implications. Perhaps if they were to find themselves imprisoned without trial, waterboarded, deprived of their citizenship or deported without explanation, they might think otherwise. A lack of imagination is as dangerous as a lack of empathy.
But this is all too serious. Last Saturday’s terrorist attack here in London was just a couple of miles from chez Isobel and Cat. I was tired on Saturday night and retired early, falling asleep almost immediately, and remaining asleep despite the wails of sirens neighbours and friends tell me rent the night. Only messages from people here and abroad on Sunday morning alerted me to the fact that something had happened. It was shocking. It was horrible, but when I read that in London we were reportedly shocked and fearful, I disagreed. Shocked and saddened, yes. Fearful, no.
London is amazing place, its people are as diverse as, make that more diverse than, anywhere on earth, but one thing that is a shared trait is a lack of respect for convention, and a love of humour. So when the New York Times published a story under the headline Britain is Reeling, we were stung. Reeling? Us? No way. The rest of the country was equally outraged. Cue a Twitter hashtag #ThingsthatleaveBritainreeling and our laughter erupted. Check it out. If you don’t laugh, you are not in tune with British humour. Maybe if you come from a country where irony and dry humour isn’t the norm, these tweets may sound disrespectful to those who died or were injured. I can assure you the opposite is true, and it is worth noting that so many immigrants to these shores quickly get the idea.
In Manchester, Martin Hett, who was half Turkish and muslim, was killed in the bombing at the Ariana Grande concert. His brother Dan’s public responses have made both siblings heroes. Read this piece, and then this one and I think you’ll get the general idea.
The Reader’s Digest used to have a page of cartoons entitled Laughter, the Best Medicine. Terrorists want to divide us, to make us fearful. They are pathetic, humourless bullies. So laugh, that will really piss them off.
And beware politicians who lack a sense of the ridiculous. Particularly their own. They are the most dangerous people on earth. Look at ISIS/Daesh if you don’t believe me, nobody joins the Jihadis for their stand up.