So, we’re having an election. I’m obviously not going to vote Conservative. The only scenario in which I’d vote Tory would be the political equivalent of having to repopulate the planet via the loins of Richard Littlejohn, and even then I’d let Earth sink back to prehistoric forests and antimatter. I cannot vote for Cameron, a man who voted against gay adoption in 2002, and against the repeal of Section 28 in 2003. In 2008, he voted against giving lesbian couples access to IVF treatment. David Cameron’s huggable, loveable brand of Toryism has also teamed up with right-wing nutjobs in Poland and Latvia. His Home Secretary’s attitude to the Christian B&B owners who ousted a gay couple (Jesus was ALL ABOUT persecuting the marginalised, lol) says that racism and anti-Semitism are bad but homophobia’s still a grey area. This is not to say that I don’t have dear queer Tory friends. People I admire and frequently respect are putting silly little ‘Vote for Change’ stickers on their Facebooks.
And then we have Lib Dem. Nick Clegg does have the most boring face in the world (can’t they get him some glasses? Or a parting? Or even a little pointy purple beard?), but on the plus side of superficial observations, he does have a fantastically attractive Spanish-born wife called Miriam. And if the Liberal Democrats get to power – no, I know it’s a farcical notion, but if they did – we would have tiny children called (no lie) Antonio, Alberto and Miguel running round 10 Downing Street. This, in my opinion, would make Britain more interesting.
I am glossing over Labour. I wish I didn’t have to. Gordon Brown would jump 10 points in the polls if he didn’t constantly have Harriet Harman standing behind him, looking smug and poisonous like the perennially-disappointed breed of primary school teacher. She must be stopped.
Enough. I have a horrible cold. I tend to leave political commentary to Rhian Jones and/or Malcolm Tucker, the latter my favourite TV character ever. I love him, although not quite as much as The Guardian does: they even manage to sneak him in to articles on London Fashion Week as part of reams of copy on blah blah silver fox blah blah four-letter expletive blah blah Malcolm > Rahm blah blah loom at us Malcolm we love it (sidenote: describing actor Capaldi as the proponent of “natty” chic is sort of hilarious given that most of the time he looks like someone’s dead grandfather and/or is unfit to be in charge of his own facial hair. I love him). But I do quite enjoy the Grauniad’s quivering fangasms, even though the sole-authored briefings lack the polyphony of TTOI’s panache. Reading the lunacy in the comments is great entertainment, though; the smug lefty version of the BBC’s Have Your Say.
But yes. Election. Can’t get away from it. Quite possibly I’ll do what I always do – intend to vote Lib Dem, get in the booth, have a crisis about Land Of My Fathers and Trades Unionists Past, and vote Labour. In Oxford this was almost excusable, but here in the other ‘ford, we’ve got a flat choice between third-time lucky Tory Nadhim Zahawi (cue Racism Week Month in the local frothrag), Independent Tory foamer and travel agent Neil Basnett (A Man For All Seasons or Not Actually That Popular, depending on whom you read),* who is standing because of…. firefighters, possibly, and a Lib Dem candidate with a silly face whose garbled website manifesto can just be summarised as YES TO GOOD THINGS, NO TO BAD. Splendid.
Stratford-on-Avon, of course, has consistently returned John Maples MP, who’s spoken in only 5 debates in the last 12 months, and attends only 54% of votes. He claimed a Pall Mall club as his primary residence. Voting Labour here would be pointless. I’d quite like a hung parliament, as then the swingometer would explode.
It’s not good. A lefty MP for Stratford is about as likely as unicorns on the Bancroft and Quetzalcoatl on the Rec. I’m not really sure what to do.
Anyway. Hopefully my UK readers are living somewhere with a bit more choice. Do remember to register to vote by April 20th, then check out your existing MP on TheyWorkForYou. Then try not to cry, and keep from wringing your hands. LGBT voters, and allies who care about LGBT issues, are also well advised to check out MyGayVote, which directly compares the three main parties’ record on queer issues.
*dude, apparently there’s a Tory in Stratford with a blog. This was statistically likely, but still fascinating.
Dr Sophie Duncan is Fellow in English at Christ Church, University of Oxford. She works regularly as a historical advisor and as a dramaturg for theatre, TV, radio and film. She likes theatre, detective fiction and cocktails.