View From The Side: Life In A Bubble


Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a bubble? Floating along looking out at the weird wobbly people tinted blue and pink and green. Hearing their funny voices all muffled and garbled. One thing I’ve learnt after the car crash of an election that we lived through last week is that a lot of us are living happily in our own separate worlds, only interacting with people from other walks of life though a wobbling, tinted film. 

One thing that struck me in the days after the 7th was the outpouring of incredulity and dismay at the way the country had voted. Not only had the Tories managed to form a new government but they’d won an outright majority and it seems from the people I know both in “real life” and “on the interweb” we all share the same horror at the outcome. “Do I know anyone on here who voted Tory?” people asked on Facebook. “If you voted Tory or Ukip feel free to unfriend me!” I have a very small handful of friends who I know would vote Tory (please don’t unfriend me!) and if that’s what you believe then fair play – I disagree but you crack on. 

The mass expression of utter depression at the result was understandable and something I shared in wholeheartedly. 5 years of the coalition was bad enough but now the “moderating influence” of the yellow team is gone and the gloves are off. It’s going to get messy from here on in. A friend of my brother who is a civil servant remarked recently that they already cut the “easy” stuff in the last parliament so this next 12 billion is going to sting like fuck. 

It made me proud that within 48 hours people were out on the streets protesting against the upcoming onslaught of ideological cuts to public spending that are going to be extremely painful to some of the most vulnerable people in our society but it also made me realise that this country is getting more and more divided. Only 25% of people registered to vote crossed the Tory box on a ballot on the 7th of May and I’m sure a good chunk of those that did were not doing so to ask David Cameron to repeal the Human Rights Act and cut 12 Billion from our public services. A lot of people just bought into the rhetoric of fear that was being spread about the “chaos” that would result from a Labor and SNP coalition. I mean, imagine how awful it would be if the people north of the border actually had a say in how the union was governed! Terrifying. 

Like, this terrifying

See. Terrifying.

Our electoral system is pretty fucking ludicrous and you’re a very lucky person if your vote actually makes a tangible difference to the outcome of an election come polling day. This isn’t an avocation of not voting though. Apathy is not a viable option. If you don’t think anyone represents you at least have the decency to go down to the polling station and draw a massive cock and balls on your ballot paper. But when you see the turn out for parties like the Greens and UKIP and how that translated into bums in the Commons it’s a pretty poor showing for democracy. 

Not that I would be particularly happy with those 4 million votes for UKIP to be represented in parliament but that’s democracy for you. As my good friend said the other day “UKIP are a party of swivel eyed loons but I guess you’ve got to have a party for the swivel eyed loons to vote for”. 

While I agree that UKIP are, in general, a party of swivel eyed, bigoted, small-minded lunatics; most of the 4 million people who ticked their box are not. I’m sure a large part of their vote was a protest at the lack of representation for the working class, with disafected Labor voters ending up voting for a more right wing version of the Tories. And I’m sure that a lot of their votes came from the Daily Mail reading, curtain twitcher crew, but this brings me back to my ever so tasteful bubble analogy that I opened with. Immigration is good for our country, it’s what our health service is built on and it makes our country a more vibrant and enjoyable place to live in. But the rise of UKIP and the automatic derision from people like me made me think of my time working in a pudding factory in the depths of rural Shropshire a few years back. 

Apparently they only make these badboys nowadays

This pudding factory was a massive local employer and I thoroughly enjoyed my 12 hour night shifts there in that post industrial hell. Watching half ton loads of custard powder and frozen fruit being loaded into massive stainless steel machines and watching the trifles come streaming out the other end. A lot of people had worked there for 20 plus years and had seen a huge influx of eastern European workers come in. I was interested to see that half of them were totally cool with it. They had Czech girlfriends and were going on holidays to Prague.  The other half, though, didn’t go in the canteen anymore because everyone spoke a different language. If you’re from a tiny village in the arse end of Shropshire that’s frightening to some people but us metropolitan wankers can’t see that through the glistening walls of our bubbles. This isn’t me advocating UKIP though, they’re a party of nasty, xenophobic pricks, but they’ve talked to issues that others have been afraid to address and spoken to the worst side of peoples characters and sometimes that’s the side that’s most receptive. 

So after this depressing election and the realisation that this country is inhabited by some very different bubbles that the ones we live in what do we do about it? Like I said I was hugely excited by the fact that people were out on the streets within 48 hours. I wasn’t there but only because I forgot my gym kit and I’ve got a letter from my mum. BUT I wholly plan to be at this on the 20th June. We need to make our voices heard in the way that they weren’t heard at the ballot box. We’ve got to try to pop our bubbles and try to see things through the eyes of people from other walks of life. We’ve got to try to remain positive, eat Garys by the truckload and keep on raving.