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Opinion

Taking a Dive

26 May 2024 4 minute read
Taking a Dive, image by Sarah Morgan Jones

Ben Wildsmith

We’re wasting our time here, folks. Our gerrymandered, media-commanded charade of a democracy is essentially meaningless at the best of times but this year we are going through motions without any sense of jeopardy or need for debate at all.

79 Conservative MPs have, at press time, announced that they are standing down to spend more time with their non-executive directorships.

It had previously been assumed that Michael Gove could only be removed from national life by a trained professional with a tick hook, so news of his voluntary exit has a particular Robert-Maxwell-on-the-boat vibe about it.

So, very few ‘Portillo moments’ to look forward to on election night for those of us who have howled outrage at the outgoing delinquents throughout their wretched period in office.

Elections are never for people like us, though. If you’re this far into Nation.Cymru’s opinion section, down here in the murky wallows of ill-natured speculation and spiteful gossip, then you share my unhealthy obsession with the doings of our elected representatives.

We may differ in our conclusions, but we have more in common than we do with the people who decide elections.

Election time for us is to be a regular in the pub at Christmas. Your carefully ordered environment is briefly invaded by hordes of arrivistes shouting loudly and unable to handle their drink.

Your usual table in the corner, where you read the paper over a restorative lunchtime pint, is swarming with tinselled office workers who don’t know how to order at the bar.

‘A Crème de menthe and ginger, please. It’s Christmas!’

That’s who elections are for. Unfortunately, the world is crammed full of people who have a wide range of interests, a functioning family life, and insufficient time to drill down exhaustively into the blackened heart of the body politic.

The best we can hope for is to peel them off, one at a time, when they are at their lowest ebb, and reveal to them the full horror of what we know. Get to them after a relationship breakup is my advice.

The only people who seem genuinely surprised by the timing of this election are out-of-the-loop Tory backbenchers who had been banking on another six months to set up post-parliamentary gigs to support their lifestyles.

Labour, and Tories close to power, seem to have eased into the campaign without any sense of urgency or excitement. Even the participants are behaving like spectators to an inevitable process.

The only point of intrigue in all of this is whether the Conservatives are deliberately taking a dive.

From announcing the election in the pouring rain to appearing in the Titanic district of Belfast and enquiring about football in Barry, Rishi Sunak seems to be going out of his way to ensure there is no possibility of victory.

This weekend’s offering is a promise to bring back National Service, complete with graphics that look suspiciously like a National Express advert.

National Service or Express?

We have now moved beyond the performative politics of the Rwanda plan, in which an unfeasible policy was suggested in the knowledge that it would never happen.

In that scenario, the policy had support amongst a percentage of the electorate who could then be gaslit into believing it had been obstructed by sinister forces in the ‘woke’ establishment.

It was grubby but had its own twisted logic.

Here we are presented with a parody of Conservative philosophy. It exists in the same cultural space as Lenin T-shirts as a signal that a previously powerful ideology has been defanged.

The idea of herding unwilling teenagers into the modern armed forces or, God help us, NHS hospitals is so absurd that its message is clear.

You are to vote Labour.

The media have told you to, defecting Tory MPs have told you to, and the visuals of the Conservative campaign are telling you to.

If you do not vote Labour, you are either immature, immoral, or insane.

Just as in 2017 and 2019 it was socially unacceptable to vote for Labour, now it is taboo to vote against them.

After the election, when the tinsel has been swept up and we’re able to get to the bar, we’ll see what all this is about.

My feeling is, if Michael Gove is fleeing the scene, it’s about to get very ugly indeed.


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Mawkernewek
Mawkernewek
11 days ago

What’s the point in Rishi Sunak going campaigning in Northern Ireland? The Conservative Party doesn’t even have candidates there. I suppose its a bit of a sop to the DUP, just in case they need them again.

Ben Wildsmith
Ben Wildsmith
11 days ago
Reply to  Mawkernewek

At a guess it’s aimed at Unionist Scots.

j91968
j91968
11 days ago
Reply to  Ben Wildsmith

Or Unionists from NI who live somewhere else in the UK.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
11 days ago

On his toes and doing a runner…

My work here is complete…

I’m off to enjoy the Summer…

On a Murdoch country retreat…

Rot in Hell Gove…

Who remembers my curse tablet business plan,

I’d be a blinking millionaire by now…

N.C comes of age…in the firing line…

Last edited 11 days ago by Mab Meirion
Richard Davies
Richard Davies
11 days ago

If you do vote tory, you are either immature, immoral, or insane. There, corrected that for you!

I proudly voted labour in 2017 and 2019. With the way mr keir starmer lied to become leader and his actions since, humans will be living on Mars long before I would consider voting labour again

Annibendod
Annibendod
11 days ago
Reply to  Richard Davies

I’d quite fancy the odds on Labour winning a big majority on a smaller total number of votes cast than Corbyn won in 2017.

j91968
j91968
11 days ago
Reply to  Annibendod

That’s quite possible with so many more small parties attracting attention. Total vote share percentages would be a fairer comparison.

Valley girl
Valley girl
11 days ago
Reply to  Richard Davies

Which is why we need a Welsh independence.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
11 days ago

Yes, if the King of the Rats waddles down the wire and back into the slimy dock wall it could well be a rematch with the iceberg in the offing…Titanic time…

Just as well the nuclear trigger doesn’t come with batteries…

Modi Lite is a worry…esp the day after his fast…

Annibendod
Annibendod
11 days ago

I’ll keep pointing this out – Labour are positioning themselves merely as competent caretakers of the status quo. Today they have told us how they intend to fund their growth plans. Taxing private schools and private finance. You couldn’t make this crap up. What more evidence does anyone need that this State is hoplessly deceased? Labour was supposed to be the party of the workers that would fight against inequality and here we are, in the face of the most abject, talentless, dystopian and unethical UK government in living memory, they point blank refuse to reform the constitution or the… Read more »

John Ellis
John Ellis
11 days ago
Reply to  Annibendod

‘Labour are positioning themselves merely as competent caretakers of the status quo.’ Agree: I think that’s exactly the situation, .and that the reason’s straightforward. The Starmer leadership holds the view that a very large swathe of middle England voters take their steer from tabloid editors and commentators far more than they heed Labour policy programmes and manifestos. And experience suggests that the Murdoch media, at least, like to back winners and will ‘come out’ in support of Labour if the evidence suggests that Labour’s likely to win an election. As they did prior to the New Labour victory in 1997.… Read more »

T3DSK1
T3DSK1
3 days ago
Reply to  Annibendod

“”What Every One Wants””.
1.Conquest
2.War
3.Famine
4.Death

Make your choice very carefully

Valley girl
Valley girl
11 days ago

Th y would have been better off bringing back the YTS scheme . This National Service is ludicrous. People don’t want war anymore and I guess this suggests that our teens are unruly. The policies coming out of London I would say are influenced by Rishi’s father in law. Clueless.

Elaine
Elaine
11 days ago
Reply to  Valley girl

Can’t help remembering that the mandatory unpaid volunteering option is known as a Community Payback Order by the Courts.
It’s another version of Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ where government is able to polish it’s collective halo while retreating from state responsibilities it doesn’t believe in.

T3DSK1
T3DSK1
3 days ago
Reply to  Valley girl

this is their way to fulfil a promise to replace the shortfall of troops they had made by successive cropping of the Armed Forces budget and win votes clutching at straws

Sikejsudjek
Sikejsudjek
11 days ago

If you’re a young person voting Tory you are at best going to be forced into unpaid work, and at worst end up on a reserves list to be cannon fodder in Ukraine.

j91968
j91968
10 days ago
Reply to  Sikejsudjek

What about young people from wealthy families? They already do unpaid “work” and join the military, so no reason not to vote Tory for them.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
10 days ago

So when will Modi Boy Sunak declare he is doing God’s Work…God help us!

T3DSK1
T3DSK1
3 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

in his cheese cloth shirt

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