Thursday, 8 June 2017

The Election Diaries: Day 49: 5th June 2017: The Idealism

Monday 5th June 2017

Day 49

My friends and I meet up in town and have a pizza. Of course, we discuss the election and what's happening, and who's voting. The interesting thing is that while a lot of them have strong opinions about politics, there appears to be some vital policies they miss. (They're not aware of the Gardens Tax, for example, or the outcry there'd be if Corbyn enforced it.) It's an interesting thing, the idealism of youth-everything feels possible and like if only we could all hold hands and love each other, the world would be a better place. Yeah, maybe, in a utopia. It doesn't exist, so you've got to get on with the world you've been given. And don't go getting all starry-eyed about thinking we can change the world and have peace and sing Kumbayya and that you'll make a difference. The likelihood is you won't make a difference and you'll spend your life just trying to survive.

It's an odd thing, because a few years ago, I was pretty similar. I'd have described myself as pretty leftie, back then. I look back at myself back then and despise myself and my naive enthusiasm for everything, the same way I imagine the left-wing teens who send me abuse online will one day look back at their own tweets and rants.

What changed? Well, you grow up. Or, in my case, you realise that actually, most of those claiming to want to make the world a better place, are more hypocritical than the very people they criticise. They want to abolish grammar schools-but send their own kids to them. They want a mansion tax-but leave in multi-million pound houses themselves. They cry foul about ad hominem attacks-but throw them themselves constantly. They're worse, far worse, than the people they criticise, because they try to put across the holier-than-thou act. I don't know when I started to see things more clearly. I just know that it makes me angry, and I used to like being angry. Now, I turn the anger into something colder, harder. Abby Tomlinson once stood up with starry-eyed naivetie and proclaimed that "Anger can be fuel" while speaking for the man that a year later, she'd vote to replace with another leader. While that made me laugh-what young kid hasn't told themselves that, in a bid to convince themselves that they're going to CHANGE THE WORLD-anger, on its' own, can't be fuel. So I turn it into something smoother, more calculating. Something harsher, for all that.

Perhaps it's all these thoughts and perhaps it's the fact several of my friends are sick, but I start feeling sick before I've been out for two hours. When we go to the cinema, I curl up in the dark, read my book, and fall asleep. (We see Wonder Woman. It's superheroes. To be honest, I don't get the big appeal. There's just another heteronormative romance in the middle.) But, either way, when I get home, I'm ill. Dad opens the door and I nearly fall into the hallway. I go to bed and cuddle up there.

I'm slightly cheered, though, by witnessing-joy of joys-not one, but two royal screw-ups by Diane Abbott. My father, still sniggering, comes to wish me goodnight and guides me towards what could conceivably become my entertainment for the evening-a YouTube channel dedicated solely to Diane Abbott gaffes. I'd like to thank the genius who set it up.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

The Election Diaries: Day 48:4th June 2017: The Great Allotment In The Sky

Sunday 4th June 2017

Day 48

Suffice it to say, we can't exactly be cheerful today, but we can do the next best thing, which is get on with things. Which we try to do, though I sleep the whole morning, after watching the news until 4am.

My parents were away overnight for a concert, so they get back after trying to get the news all night through a dodgy TV in the hotel room. We sit and watch Theresa May's statement and all the political leaders again decide to abandon campaigning for the day and Donald Trump be an idiot and Jeremy Corbyn blame Theresa May-

Wait. What the hell?

Yeah. Yeah, you read that right.

Because Corbyn, the same guy who, after Paris, was stupid enough to say he opposed the shoot-to-kill policy that last night meant the terror attack ended after only eight minutes, has now somehow decided to blame the attack on Theresa May's police cuts, which a) had no effect last night, and b) are actually irrelevant, as the police managed to take them out within eight minutes of being called.

It-well, it's stupid. Let's just put it at that.

It's also evil, blind, ignorant and a number of other adjectives, but if I listed them all, I'd end up finding him and chucking a dictionary at his naive, utopian, hypocritical, self-serving principles which I will not say would send his left-wing ideals to the Great Allotment In The Sky, as it would be politically incorrect, so I shall refrain, the way he refrained from intervening when his supporters chanted "Jew Jew Jew" at a candidate this week.

However, it seems the army might have taken care of that concern for me, as this is something that makes me blink a couple of times in my timeline.

So, that's another thing to add to the list. If Corbyn takes over, the army might storm Downing Street. Would it almost be worth it? (No. I'm saying that because given a considerable number of the population wrote HARAMBE on the election ballot in the American election last year, I feel the need to explain sarcasm.)

I wonder if Corbyn will imitate Alastair Campbell today, and end up withdrawing whatever he says that causes an outcry. Good old Alastair, that unstoppable barn door of rage, has managed to somehow offend everybody at once by tweeting this.

He's deleted it, but the Internet never forgets, and he's netted himself a Guido headline. I've had contacts with Guido before and trust me, that'll have been leapt on like a cat dragging a squeaking mouse from a trap. Which, incidentally, is what Alastair used to do to journalists. How the mighty fall.


The Election Diaries: Day 47: 3rd June 2017: London

Saturday 3rd June 2017

Day 47

Of course, the story today should really have been about the polls, which seem to have afflicted us all with a case of selective amnesia, as all our solemn vows about trusting the polls less than Satan himself appearing in front of us waving an envelope which he slithers contains the election results therein go out the window and everyone scans each poll that appears like a frenzied meercat bobbing up to stare at the screen.

The pollsters, meanwhile, seem to have decided to correct the problem of nearly all of them getting it wrong last year, by deciding to have some of them get it drastically wrong this year. They've managed to waver and meander up and down like a drunk weaving home the last few weeks, and now, finally, we've managed to end up, five days before the election, with one poll showing one point between the parties, and another showing twelve points.

Of course, it does turn out that the poll showing one point-Survation-has a) managed to get the worst sample in the world-saying that 72% watched the Friday night TV debate, when that would account to 19 million people, the highest since the amount that watched the 2012 Olympics-and b) they're the ones who managed to get the least accurate result in the 2015 election. So, it might need a bucketful of salt over it.

Of course, then, sometime around midnight, as I'm about to get Ben and Jerry's ice cream out the freezer, I flick through Twitter and find the words London Attacks, which sums up the rest of the night in two words.

I sit up through the night, watching it. It's the second time in two weeks. But we can't get used to it. If we get used to it, that would be the worst thing we could do.

The Election Diaries: Day 46: 2nd June 2017: Corbyn Cataclysm

Friday 2nd June 2017

Day 46

Oh joy. Oh, joy. Oh, joy.

After a day of hearing people whine that Theresa May wasn't vehement enough over Donald Trump's-admittedly stupid-decision to pull out of the climate change agreement-I'm left wondering quite what more they wanted her to do. Fly over to the US and tie his hands together? Slam his head into the White House desk again and again, until he bounces like a Jack-In-The Box?-I'm quite looking forward to watching the evening debate.

Wonderfully, Ed Miliband, the man who seems to exist to pontificate about winning elections despite his main claim to fame being to spectacularly lose one, has crawled back onto the radio to contribute his own hot air to global warming. Blah-blah, weak-blah, blah, feeble-blah, blah, spineless-says the weak, spineless, feeble man who has no problem being weak, feeble or spineless when it comes to standing up to good ol' President Assad and stopping him butchering children. Better when it's all theoretical, it seems, for Edward, who, incidentally, is skipping his own son's eighth birthday to whine on the radio, which quite negates him stuttering sanctimoniously to himself, apparently one quavering note away from breaking into a plaintive rendition of "I Believe The Children Are Our Future."

He doesn't, by the way. Honestly, I genuinely believe, that if Ed Miliband came across any of my fellow Tory-supporting youth or I floundering in a flash flood caused by climate change, as long as it wouldn't cost him any votes to his party, he'd have no problem watching us drown in front of him.

But then there is the evening debate. And, oh, boy, it's been worth waiting for.

Corbyn's battered on defence, on security. On terrorism, on nuclear weapons. On costings, on national safety.

It's like watching a group of angry dogs waiting to sink their teeth into the piece of meat that's been dangled in front of their eyes tauntingly for several hours, spitting out mangled bits of trust and IRA as they crunch Corbyn's bones. We probably enjoy it a little too much.

On a serious note, this was exactly the moment Ed Miliband started to crumble further during the 2015 campaign-being smacked in the face with the reality that the money ain't going to turn up at the end of the rainbow.

And when he stumbled off the stage, of course. But then, that was just the cherry on top of the cake of disaster.

My father is reassured by the Corbyn Cataclysm but still, calls me over to his laptop later to point angrily at the YouGov poll. "What's this?" he demands. "These polls keep narrowing."

I have to tell him over and over again that the CCHQ contacts aren't worried and even threaten to get one of them on the phone. Finally, he's mollified. "Honestly" he says. "You keep telling me the Tories will win. I'll almost feel it's your fault if your guys lose."

Watching TV debates really shouldn't entail this sort of responsibility.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

The Election Diaries: Day 45: 1st June 2017: Generation Gap


1st June 2017

Day 45

Just because there's an election going on doesn't mean the rest of the world has stopped. My friends are finishing their exams. I'm working on the last section of my novel which seems, for some reason, to have decided it hates me and wants to get stuck. We're currently trying to figure out which day my cousin will come back from Lithuania so I can actually see him.

The whole thing is taking a toll on my anxiety-and my sleeping habits. One of the symptoms of AS is liking to know when and how everything is happening-we don't like to have things sprung on us or to suddenly have to change plans. No one's really sure why-some theorise it's to do with control or problems adjusting with change. But with me, it means sometimes I have to stop messaging someone halfway through a conversation to take stock, and calm my breathing down. It means sometimes, something as simple as sending someone a link can take me three days to do, and leave me exhausted afterwards. It means that, for me, campaigning is both something I'm looking forward to and dreading.

When you hear how AS can dominate your life, you tend to think of the big things, like meltdowns and freakouts and screaming. But it can be little things, like making a phone call, that trip you up.

There's also the fact that my parents worry that I-and, by extension, my generation-spend too much time in front of screens. It's hardly unique to me-my aunt, the other week, took her life in her hands and wrestled the phones from her three snarling children, who sat there throughout a dinnertime chomping at the bit, like tigers deprived of their kill-but it means that our parents, at times, seem to have the impression that all we're doing is staring at a screen, jaws hanging open, eyes in a permanently somnolent half-closed position, when actually, the majority of the time I'm on my laptop, I'm working, researching, or writing. When I start A-levels, they'll be on my laptop, too. God knows why lying on your bed working doesn't seem to count as working, to some people.

Either way, there's some encouragement today, as Theresa May seems to be heading for seats you wouldn't think the Tories had a chance of getting. Given Lynton Crosby's leading the campaign for the last week, looks like he's got something up his sleeve. He ain't called the Wizard Of Oz for nothing. 

Labour have-optimistically-said they'd attempt to govern with a minority, which, while still sending my CCHQ contacts into mirth, is also them shooting themselves in the foot-they'd be relying on the Lib Dems and the Greens for support in the Commons. And, judging by what went down on the TV last night, that's a situation not many would want. If it came to pass, the government would probably make it to five months, if that.

If that was the case, the Tories would win the autumn election, and we'd end up with Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Wonder what Emily Thornberry would make of that?

Friday, 2 June 2017

The Election Diaries: Day 44: 31st May 2017: Coalition Of Chaos

Wednesday 31st May 2017

Day 44

Whoever invented 7-way debates must have either known they'd never need to take part in one or be a complete masochist, because they rarely turn out well for anyone.

Tonight's is such a mess I can't even be bothered to recap it. It is notable, though, that the Tories seem better prepped on staying calm and their figures than the others-Amber Rudd is the only one who doesn't start shouting at one point. It's also obvious that it really seems to be the terrorism thing that trips Corbyn up-when that's brought up, as my parents point out, his voice immediately descends, his eyes dart, he's less sure of himself. Granted, he and Rudd are really the only people that don't descend into chaotic yelling halfway through. Two of the people yelling, Wood and Robertson, we can't even vote for.

Of course, the talk on Twitter seems to be whether or not the audience are a representative sample, given the left-wing bias that seems to be there. It isn't just Twitter-it turns out to be making the headlines of some papers, and even more eyebrows are raised when it turns out the organization that put the audience together, ComRes, are the same ones currently predicting a 100-seat Tory majority.

One thing that does seem to get applause, quite continually and surprisingly, are mentions of Brexit, of separating ourselves from the single market. (At one point, while Farron's speaking, he's being cheered. The second he gets onto the single market, the cheering dies away. It's bizarre.) Maybe Crosby's right to have the Tories putting it front and centre for the last week. One thing the debate does seem to do for the Tories-as two of them did in 2015-is the "coalition of chaos" thing, in which Cameron was basically able to stand aside, point at Miliband and say, "Look at these harpies beating up this idiot." As, if the Tories lost, it would likely be a hung parliament, Rudd's allowed to do exactly the same thing here.

 Meanwhile, if I worked at YouGov-well, I'd know what they're thinking. They're continually producing projections that are completely at odds with everyone else's. While last time, all the polls turned out to be wrong-apart from Crosby's internal polling by Jim Messina-they all had the parties within, at the most, a couple of points from each other. This time, they've got differences of 12 points between them.

It's pretty hard to know what to think, but this is Jim Messina's-the Tories' current pollster and the one who helped them win in 2015-response.


And he-the guy who won Barack Obama two election victories-is not exactly risky with his reputation.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

The Election Diaries: Day 43: Tuesday 30th May 2017: Monsters Raving

Tuesday 30th May 2017
Day 43

Why. Why, why, why.

After you've seen your would-be Home Secretary get crucified, with that stupid LBC interview being played over and over again of her forgetting her numbers, wouldn't you at least check the things before you went on air?

Seriously, wouldn't you have half a clue?

My father sums it up when he comes in from playing football, I ask him if he's OK, and he launches into "Hmm, well, I'm not sure, let me just-I will be able to tell you in a moment, at the moment I cannot quite lay my hands on that answer-"

And, of course, the Corbynistas start sending Emma Barnett, the journalist who found herself with a guy who had so little clue about his own policy I'd be better off asking one of the cashiers at Waitrose about skydiving, a whole bunch of abuse for having the nerve to do her job, because how dare anyone criticise Lord Jesus of Corbyn? The best tweet has to be this one:

It's tough to choose, but I think the ***BREAKING NEWS*** bit is my favourite. I don't know whether to hope these guys genuinely saw it as some sort of Watergate or not.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out how to get out there campaigning, and with a lot of messaging one of my friends, we manage to figure out a way. That's a problem with having AS that another 20-year-old campaigner probably wouldn't face-the dyspraxia leaves my spatial awareness off but my anxiety means that I have to prepare for things in advance. I can't just hop on a bus.

Of course, then we have the battle of the polls in the evening, and if I was a pollster, I'd really be thinking about junking the whole thing in after the last two years, because the latest genius result has one showing a hung parliament and another having the Tories winning a 100-seat majority, at least. I'm starting to wonder if some people just get annoyed permanently snatching the phone up to hear someone chirp "Can I just ask who you're voting for?" and so shove out any old name just to get them to leave them alone. Personally, I'd be tempted to tell them the Monster Raving Loony Party and dare them to question the choice.