On a Mattress Near You

A couple of months ago I did an online quiz that purported to allegedly reveal my political orientation. There were about 50 questions that gave you the opportunity to choose a particular field of response, AND how strongly you felt about that, in five different ways, from ‘very’ to ‘not at all’, so it was potentially pretty revealing. It was an Irish quiz, so although you couldn’t say that it was written for a Brit to respond to, all the usual suspects were there. The right of centre party here is Fianna Fåil, pronounced ‘Fall’, while Sinn Féin is a kind of socialist party and Fine Gael is the conservative party. The other parties are the same as they are in Britain, with Labour heading the Greens, Solidarity – People before Profit, the Social Democrats and Independents.

So where was I going to fall? Well, as it turned out, the strongest of my connections was with the Labour Party, at 62%, While the weakest connection was with Fine Gael, (pronounced Feena Gwale, with an almost silent ‘w’ in there), at 39%. I expected it to be about 80/20, but of course it wasn’t. That would have been unrealistic. I thought about it for a moment or two, then I thought, ‘but essentially I’m Green’. Luckily, Green was in third place at 60%. All in the name of questioning myself.

Then, come May 21st, I had another strange revelation. I got ready to vote; or leastways, I thought that I was going to. But then; just as I was about to do it; I realised that I could only really vote Labour. I went away from it for an hour. I’d found out that if I didn’t vote this time, then I wouldn’t be able to vote ever again. Because there’d be more than fifteen years between my last vote and my next. This had a revelatory effect on me. I could see myself in the mirror, again… it wasn’t pretty. I had to ask myself whether it really was my world. Is it my place to vote at this age, when so many people don’t want the grey hairs to vote at all? After deliberating over it into the small hours of the morning, I decided that it wasn’t my place to vote any longer.

I based this on the fact that I’m living in one country while voting in another. Yes, I get to vote on local issues here, and I do vote, but I’m not allowed to vote in a general election. It’ll be the same for the Irish living in Britain. I could become an Irish citizen, but why would I go through that enormous hassle at this stage? So; I sat back the following day, and watched time drifting away from me. I thought about it a few times, but I came back to the same conclusion each time, and each time more quickly than the last. So that as night fell on the 22nd of May, it was just a passing thought. It was a little bit like a suicide, but in the end it was just a calm and gentle death. My British voting rights had died, while I looked on.

So I’m not going to vote in any general election any more. I took it out of my own hands. In the following days, I realised that I was now political flotsam. I’d forsaken yet another home. Something else that I’d participated in a lot of times in my life was now closed to me, and the door was bolted. And it was final. It was a leaving, an actual leaving. There was an almost morose feeling with that. Part of a dismantling of myself. I’ve been through it many times before. It’s part of me. It’s almost a will to loneliness. A deliverance from the pressure of others. It’s not cowardly, it’s just another step on a journey. It’s not a fulfilment of anything either, it’s just another place.

Then, like a huge swathe of other voters, I also realised that it didn’t matter anyway.. whether I lived or died or voted.. or not.. Then it occurred to me that one of the logical extensions of that was that it didn’t matter who I would have voted for, because Brexit was going to happen anyway. …Which is where the whole of Britain is right now. It doesn’t matter who you vote for; because the course is set. So.. everyone can now revert to type, or become a new type.. or walk away. None of us have to have an allegiance with any party we are not comfortable with because Brexit is happening, whatever.

So what do we have? Gurning Theresa versus The Man From Uncle. The vicar’s daughter versus the trillionaire who will splash the cash into the next boom, without ever knowing where it’s coming from. Or where it’s going to. The Oxford debating soc. versus the man from Paddy Power. St. Theresa versus Santa. With great uncle Vince trying to uncable his nostrils, in the wings. Oh, and Nicola taking off Rabbie Bruce sat in the corner watching the spiders frae mars bubbling in the batter.

Meanwhile, the ranch has been moved from Texas to Florida, which has cost about a billion dollars a square foot, recurring, recurring, multiplied by itself. While The Don himself is acting suspiciously like he’s in the proverbial bunker, still in titular charge, as ex-mayor Bloomberg makes a speech on the Reichstag steps suggesting that everything will continue as previously. That is, before the USA cut itself off from the rest of climate change. Which could easily become a series in the near future, to be aired on Sky Atlantis. ‘New Deal!’ An everyday story of the Pres continuing to pretend to shoot himself in the foot.. so that he doesn’t lose his ‘base’. Instinct will carry him through the trapdoor into the final of The Apprentice. Coming soon.

On a mattress near you.

I laughed. It was a single laugh. And in my head I walked away, into the garden. It was three in the morning and I could see the Milky Way, and billions of light years.