By the time you read this it will all be over. It has been growing for almost a year-starting very small and developing during the days, weeks and months.
In the beginning nobody could predict what the outcome would be-who specifically it would be. The nation is divided. Some are actively involved and interested, keen to know the outcome; others harbouring a fervent wish for it all to be over, although I suppose none more so than the protagonists.
The journalists have massed in the usual fever of enthusiasm, camping out on doorsteps, interviewing the public, attempting to summon something-anything-that can conceivably be imagined as ‘news’ and succeeding-as always-in producing only conjecture.
STOP PRESS: Baby Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana has arrived.
Elsewhere in the news, the UK has held a general election. Elections are a gift for the press. Not only is there a protracted build-up, providing infinite opportunities for fevered speculation but an aftermath in which results can be examined, discussed, regretted or celebrated to the point of mortality.
You can analyse and dissect as much as you like, bringing it all down to this or that policy- immigration, housing, health or education, but to me it is much simpler. I think of political philosophy as a circle. At one end of the diameter are those who are self-seeking and wish to line the nests of themselves and others at the expense of someone-anyone-worse off themselves. Perhaps this is an ingrained, natural human characteristic, linked to a survival instinct. Who knows? At the opposite end of the diameter are those who seek to suppress their innate desire to stuff everyone else by wanting equality of wealth, health and happiness for all alike.
Around the circle lie the various ‘shades’ of these two beliefs. Everyone has a place around the circle, maybe nearer to the self-seekers, maybe next to the equality lovers.
Strangely, it appears that both extremes can lead to dictatorships. This is demonstrated repeatedly in history all over the world; and dictatorships do not usually lend themselves to majority happiness.
As one meagre vote among an entire nation’s, it seems hopeless to expect to make a difference, but that one vote is the one and only little speck of decision we have as individuals so we must apply it, hopeless or not. Here where I live there will never be a change and yet I exercise my right to vote, placing my pencil cross each time against a no-hoper who best represents my views.
It is now all over bar the inquest, the result a dismal endorsement for the self-seekers. Some will be happy, many depressed. We brace ourselves for another five years and hope for better-next time.