We drove home at 2am across South London. It's quiet. I'm sad and hugely worried for disabled friends who have - no exaggeration - found their lives at risk (NHS services limited, work support cut back) under this govt. It feels very worrying. The rise in the UKIP vote is scary. The 30 emails that came in to the Women's Equality Party between 10pm (when polls closed) and 1am (when I checked) suggest that, maybe, people are looking away from traditional voting, and maybe there is hope for change. But 2020 is a long, long time to wait. I hope to sleep soon and find something amazing happened meanwhile.
11am update -
I don't know any Brits who wouldn't prefer PR to FPTP. It's been campaigned for here for years. (mind you, Netanyahu's PR govt is a clear indication that PR doesn't always = just and fair.)
Polling station in my bit of South London had a queue for the first time since I've been voting here. This feels hopeful.
Voting felt strangely moving,
This, by Bob and Roberta Smith (artist standing against Michael Gove on a platform that is against Gove's brutal education policies, esp his anti-arts stuff) is brilliant.
It's just gone midnight, I had a 'personal' (not personal) email from Ed in my inbox about 3 hours ago. It was sweetly non-triumphalist. I haven't really slept the past three nights, everyone I know is worried, nervous and terrified that the Tories will get in for another five years - which means, at the very least, that the NHS will be gone by 2020. It will also mean more of the austerity lie, brutally attacking this country's poorest and least able.
And it's really painful. It feels like when I first came to live in London and Thatcher was in power and the press was so in her pocket - and the Murdoch press is so in charge it hurts.
I'm old Labour, really red Labour, dad was a union man at Kinleith in Tokoroa ... and even though I know this Labour party isn't the Labour I grew up with, I'd still trust it with a nation sooner than the Tories. And because we don't have PR, what we are likely to get, with the liberal left voting Green (not LibDem this time!) and much of Scotland (understandably) voting SNP ... is a Tory government.
I really hope I'm wrong. I really hope this sinking feeling is wrong. I hope I get to sleep tonight, because I know I won't be sleeping tomorrow night.
And yet, meanwhile, the bright spark, especially if we do get PR by 2020, is the brand new Women's Equality Party, that I'm privileged to be at the start of, and answering about 500 emails a day for. I've never not voted red. Maybe in 2020 I will be able to vote suffragist green, purple and white.
Right now, I quite want it to be Saturday.
Ian, very Gap-Filler-ish!
We did contact them about Fun Palaces last year, but I think I got a gate-keeper ("we get lots of requests for gigs, we'll get back to you") as opposed to someone who realised we were offering (free! we're free!) the chance to light up the first Fun Palace in the world. As it was a lovely Australian library in the bush kicked off the international weekend (mostly UK but 8 outside the UK and many more welcome!), then Canada, France, Germany, & up to the UK/Iceland/Sweden ... but we're calling last year our pilot now, so if you know anyone Gap-Filler-ing and think they might like the idea (based on a 1958 never-built idea from the UK actually), do tell them to get in touch with me. firstname.lastname@example.org
it would, and with all these years of practice, reckon I'd be well rich.
*waves* thought my ears were burning ...
Just for the record, I tend not to say 'lesbian writer', what with no-one paying me for being gay, prefer not to use lesbian as a noun (far too reductive) but don't mind it as an adjective, and have written 12 novels only 5 of which feature a lesbian (adjective) protagonist (noun). All of them feature occasional LGBT characters though, just as all of them feature black, asian, and/or mixed race characters, what with not living in a white, middle class writers' ghetto, and not wanting to pretend I do either. But I hope that sexuality or race or class is never a defining characteristic for any of them, just as I hope it's not for me either, my sexuality (among other things) being an utterly intrinsic and also utterly irrelevant (for many things) part of me. All that said, in a world where many people are still killed or attacked for being LGBT, in a world where class still defines and often limits many of us (and yes, those of us who grew up in Tokoroa as much as any), and a world in which women still do the bulk of all childcare and earn less across the board than men, then until those things are fixed, yeah, I'm ok with being called 'lesbian writer' when and where it's relevant. Not least because I hope it might make it better for the next 14 year old getting bullied, or the 85 year old afraid to be out in an uncaring care home. Just not only 'lesbian writer' and certainly not only 'writer of things lesbian'. (Not a single lezz in the whole of The Room of Lost Things, which is mostly about Brixton and blokes. Or the Medea adaptation I have on now in Edinburgh, which is mostly about er, the infanticidal half-goddess revenge chick.)
Right then, I'm back to the beach.
Oh and Ms Mensch - oddly, given our UTTERLY different politics, Louise is a friend, (book-writing in the UK gives the most unusual combination of mates) - and while I often shake my head at some of her beliefs, her Murdoch questioning, especially after the pie-throwing irritation (engendering far too much sympathy for the old man) was great. 'Are you going to resign? Why not?' Lovely stuff.