2019 General Election Day oh my God, there’s still four more weeks of this to go

I’ve decided not to do any more daily General Election posts. I started this off intending to try and repeat what I’d done for the last few general elections and post regularly about the election and what was happening in it. Then last night I was sitting down to write another post and I realised I just couldn’t do it.

We’re only a little more than a week into the campaign, nominations haven’t even closed and already this election is at risk of drowning under the sheer weight of utter bullshit that it’s generating. The idea of trying to find something interesting to say about this ongoing multiple train wreck of an election just fills me with dread.

Look, there might be interesting and educational things to say about this election. I’m sure there is interesting analysis to be done about the details of the promises being made and the processes going on behind at the scene but at some point you have to point out that everyone involved in this election appears to have doused themselves in petrol, set themselves on fire and then jumped behind the wheel of a clown car which they’re now driving at high speed around a race track constructed out of balsa wood and dynamite.

This might be magnificent entertainment, but it’s not politics. We’re pretending that this is normal when it’s anything but. We’ve got leaders and political parties who collectively have trust scores only slightly above bubonic plague (it might kill you in horrific ways, but it does what it promises within a reasonable timescale) operating within political institutions that have been showing repeatedly for years that they’re outdated and utterly dysfunctional. We’ve got politicians making promises that are utterly undeliverable, building on a long-term track record of speaking outright lies for personal gain, but knowing that no one’s going to call them out on them. We have a media that’s mostly long since given up reporting any actual facts, preferring instead to fall back on presenting both sides of a manufactured controversy, having decided that generating heat provides better ratings than providing light. And throughout it all, everyone’s too busy screaming at each other in performative outrage and denouncing everyone they have even a minor disagreement with for anyone to actually communicate.

This is not normal politics and for me to write about it in the way I have general elections before would be to normalise it and pretend that everything’s OK. I’ve tried that for a week and the disconnect between what I’m trying to write and the way things are actually going is getting wider every day. To keep pretending this is normal is just to perform massive cognitive dissonance on a daily basis, and that’s not good for my or anyone’s mental health.

For too long we’ve been patching the problems with the UK, finding one short-term fix after another, then getting in a panic as we try to fix the problems caused by the last set of solutions. Now we’re at the point where everything is crumbling around us, but we’re pretending that another set of really big patches will be enough to make everything all right. Getting sucked into the day-to-day noise of British politics in the heat of an election campaign is exactly the wrong way to work out any of the solutions we need, and trying to do it just gets me more frustrated and angry that things aren’t going to change.

That’s why I’m stepping back and saying no more to pretending this is normal. Now I just need to work out how to write about what we need to get away from all this. But in short:

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Many, many things. PhD student at QMUL. Councillor. Ran the 2019 London Marathon for Brain Research UK. @nickjbarlow on Twitter.

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