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Let me hear you say the words
Trust me, you’ll feel better
[Image: Wombo Dream responds to the prompt “the nonsense man is dead”]
Boris Johnson withdrew from the selection process to be leader of the Conservative Party at, if not the eleventh hour, at least as late as he could before it became apparent he was being told to “get out of my pub.” The cherry-picker-in-chief came back for a second bite of this particular cherry and was instead handed a mouthful of bees.
So now all that’s happening is that two Conservative MPs are squabbling in the rubble of the country’s hopes over who gets to brutalise us further. The party bosses - I’m not calling them grandees at this point unless they pass a law saying the bloke who cleans the sealion cage at Whipsnade is an oceanographic viscount - had to do some soulsearching over whether it was democratically necessary to bring in the party members at the end of the selection process - they might choose some idiot, after all - and if so whether it was democratically democratic to do so by digital vote.
Let me save you some trouble: none of this is democratic in any meaningful sense. Whatever the rules may allow, the country is owed a General Election.
Yes, we are, and every barking carnival villain and small-print slumlord among them, every droop-eyed duckhouse-builder and stiff-backed regretful forecloser and dismal fracker, every ginned-up Typhoid Mary and kindly warbucks-uncle, each and every bloody one of them knows it and will do almost anything to avoid saying the words out loud.
Say it with me, right now. I don’t care where you are or who’s listening. Let yourself feel the words in your mouth. Feel the shape of them, the pluck of those Ls on your tongue. Say it.
We are owed a General Election.
We are owed a General Election because when a party has bayed for a given policy, yammered for it, voted for a particular leader to get it; when its MPs have chosen that leader and taken ministerial jobs from her hands and defended her choices; and that policy has then wrecked the nation’s finances in a fortnight… then, yes, the wider public is entitled to express an opinion on whether that party should continue in government or depart in shame.
We are owed a General Election because the opportunity to choose, in a moment of disaster, who we trust to pick up the pieces, is the price populations in representative democracies exact for not burning down government buildings.
We are owed a General Election because the crisis has travelled too far, too fast, from the place where we were last consulted. The mandate is exhausted.
We are owed a General Election because our health service is dying, our schools are bankrupt, our energy bills are soaring, our businesses are closing and our government has no answers worth the name.
We are owed a General Election because in this moment the party in power is divided against itself and will not be able to act.
We are owed a General Election because it’s time. We know it and they know it, and it makes no difference in the end who they put in the chair.
The debt is due.
I’d say normal services will be resumed, but I don’t know what they look like. More on writing, maybe.