It was close to freezing overnight, exceptional for the south of England in mid May. We woke to a blue, blue sky with tiny floating clouds and a new blue government with patches of yellow - a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition. I suppose I'm only slightly more depressed by this than I would have been by a Labour-LibDem coalition, the option I hoped my vote would support. Your vote counts for nothing in our outdated electoral system unless you live in a very marginal parliamentary constituency. All the angry people prevented from voting by the also outdated organisation of polling stations can rest assured that - right as they are to be angry on principle - the lack of their votes made no difference! Being first, a long time ago, with all kinds of stuff is not serving us well these days, as demonstrated daily by the desperate inefficiency of the now very old transport, water and sewage systems under London.
So we have a new government and I dissent profoundly from many of its stated beliefs and priorities (well, actually not so much from its stated priorities, woolly and anodyne as most of those are. I strongly oppose the retention of Trident missiles, the commitment to cede no further powers to the European Union and the withdrawal of Child Tax Credits. But it's more the things they don't say, the priorities they don't have, that appall me. The lack of any willingness to admit the scale of the shit we're in, to do enough about it or to ensure that the weakest don't suffer most from what they do do.)
I suppose I'm a dissenter more deeply than I'm anything except a woman. I dissented from the triangular misery of my unhappy birth family, the inflexible, self-hating discipline wielded by parents who felt powerless elsewhere in their lives. I dissented throughout my school and university years from the education system. By the time I reached young adulthood, I'd joined the growing movement of women dissenting from the prevailing structure of gender relations. I dissent, silently, daily, from the globalised, automated, over-bureaucratised, over-informatised, compulsively driven culture of work. I dissent most of all from the power of money and brute force that rules the world, the obscene inequality and inconceivable suffering this results in.
And I'm just a small, mild, peaceable person, and I'm so tired of dissenting. Sometimes I wish I could go off with a group of like-minded people and live a very basic, very different life on a bit of land that no one else wants. I happen to live in a small, crowded country particularly unconducive to that option. For some years I belonged to a group attempting to establish a co-housing community - a very mild and unthreatening way of living slightly more cooperatively. Many such attempts have succeeded elsewhere in Northern Europe and in the US, but very few in this country. The British financial and land-planning systems are highly inimical to any deviation from the norms of property ownership.
So here I am, here we all are: part of each other. I don't much like it, but this is it. I can only try (with mixed success. It's very hard. I'm very tired and worn and a mass of impulses to anger and despair and selfishness) to represent something else in my daily dealings with others. Try to be kind, mild, honest and aspire to the wisdom my friend Peter at Slow Reads wrote about the other day. Try to hold a vision of something better. Try, and keep failing, and keep trying again.