Change Without Change
Sometimes it's necessary for nothing to change in order for everything to change.
I can't ever remember sitting through a more riveting election night. I've paid a heavy price for having been unable to tear myself away from the coverage, but it was worth it to be able to witness the unfolding of a landmark event in our history. Nothing much is different on the surface of things, but everything is bubbling away underneath. The political landscape has changed, and there is momentum for further change. There's a new belief around a more positive, inclusive kind of politics. Regardless of where people sit with their political allegiance, I believe most would struggle to argue against that being a good thing.
We have a more intelligent, open-minded electorate, one that demands a straighter kind of talking, one that can see through spin and slander for what it is. Our children are no longer our children. There is a real sense that they want to take the future into their own hands. I celebrate that. Along with millions of others, I've taken considerable pleasure in seeing Theresa May being bitten back so savagely by her own sound bites - to the extent that I now even feel sorry for her. She was the wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong time. I fear history will be harsher on her than she deserves, but history is unstoppable and she at least has a significant place in it, even if not the one she was hoping for!
I spoke to my youngest son last night, now living in London. The surge of Labour support came as no surprise to him. He could feel it on the ground, see it in social media - to the extent that he took a massive punt and had a bet on Jeremy Corbyn actually being the outright winner of this election. The notion was crazy and so were the odds. It doesn't seem like quite such a ridiculous gamble now.
I've voted for all the major political parties in my time (except for UKIP I hasten to add), with my spiritual home being with the Greens. The best moment of the night for me was seeing the wonderful Caroline Lucas retain her seat in Brighton with a huge majority. It was an indication to me of the level of support the Greens could possibly enjoy if people thought a vote for them would mean anything.
The return we've seen to two party politics is mostly about the electorate being smart enough to vote tactically in huge numbers. The political landscape may have changed forever, but it's never been more important to reform the way that gets reflected in representation. The constituency where I live happens to be one where my vote really counts for something. Ilkley is lumped in with Keighley, two towns split by more than just the imposing geographical presence of Ilkley Moor. The constituency has a sense of being a microcosm of the whole country. It has just shifted from Conservative to Labour with a tiny majority of 249. Many people in this country don't have that privilege of a truly meaningful vote. I perhaps felt more responsibility than most and, as a result, found myself unable to vote for the party whose policies I most strongly support. That can't be right.
Those in support of the first-past-the-post system always argue that proportional representation would inevitably mean coalition governments. I have never seen anything wrong in that. I believe in consensus politics and suggest that it has to be the way forward in a country that is now divided upon far more complicated lines than those of simple left and right. We need our political parties to be forced to work together for the good of us all. That process is never going to be an easy one, but would surely offer us a better prospect than the one we have right now.
I'm afraid I just had to get that off my chest!
PS There was a time when I couldn't imagine not being prepared for a blip anniversary, but times change. This has caught me off-guard because of the number of holes I now have in my journal. I'll fill them in one day, but right now I never seem to be able to find the time. Thank you all for your continued support and love, and very good humour.