So, the British election merged with the visit of another two of my oldest friends (it’s the year for old friends). Back in the day, we used to have rollicking, alcohol fuelled rows about Arthur Scargill and the miner’s strike, me and Ellen in particular. As the years rolled on, and politics and passion faded, we found ourselves focusing our alcohol fuelled rows on more benign events: should you wrap tin foil around a roasting lamb. This time, the third member of our trio, Lesley, refused to come unless we promised not to row which we duly did (promise, that is). Anyway, it was pure luck that Teresa May snapped the election for 8th June when they were here. I emailed that it would be great to be together for such a momentous occasion, a Labour win. Ellen emailed back saying yes, there couldn’t possibly be any rows because we are both Labour supporters, and that a harmonious evening could be anticipated, though obviously Labour wouldn’t win. Lesley emailed back a warning. Anyway, we were very good and there were no rows though, just before Ellen left, I did say that I had found not rowing not hard at all, and that, obviously, all these years it must have been her who had provoked the arguments. Fortunately, Lesley had left.
So, no rows, but lots of clapping, and shouts as Labour candidates got elected. We were betting and wearing home made rosettes. The exit poll was a good start, and in my heart of hearts, I felt it could be good (but, in keeping with my promise, didn’t say anything). As a result, I haven’t laughed so much since…probably 1984. Tears came to my eyes, my head rolled back and my feet were kicking off as we split our sides laughing at…everything…mainly each other. And, on top of this, Labour party candidates kept winning. But now my old friends have gone, and the election is over, I feel a little anti climatic, but I am still holding on to the bubbling of joy in my stomach because it is the beginning of something new, led by Jeremy Corbyn.
During the campaign, the mask of Theresa May slipped. She reminded me of the emperor in his new clothes: course, vain, a revelation of ignorance and hubris. This morning she was struggling to get it back in place, with the help of pancake mix and the DUP. I give it three months, if that. I hope the Labour Party will use those summer months wisely: crossing the ‘I’s and ‘t’s of free university education, good social care, investing in public services and homes so that those Labour candidates who just fell short of majorities can parade in an autumn campaign and win. Jeremy Corbyn is a natural campaigner – let’s build to his strengths. Let’s allow him to lead us, as one, to a fair and just Labour British government, supported by real people.
Brexit will happen but at least it will no longer be Theresa May’s cooking pot alone. It will involve detailed and careful preparation of a range of dishes, hopefully from a range of chefs (though they don’t have to be in the kitchen at the same time). Brexit belongs to us. We should all be involved in the preparation.
Okay, it wasn’t a Labour win and Parliament may be hung. It may appear confused presently. But, if I have learned anything after years of growing up, a little time is a good thing. A great campaigner is a wonderful thing, coming together to create a future which works for everybody is the best thing of all…and, to use Lesley, Ellen and myself as an example, can be achieved through a little silence and a lot of laughter.
So, I feel a pep in my step. I’m looking forward to next Autumn and another campaign, led by Jeremy Corbyn. I’m already planning my election party. Everyone is welcome but come ready to roar and guffaw having already put in the foot work on the door steps, and made peace.