polling station

Eldest is studying 12 bar blues in music at school this term which involves them, in small groups, composing their own blues piece. He came home yesterday and informed me that his group have decided to use politics as the theme.  He shared some of the lyrics. I was heartened to note the condemnation of Nigel Farage, but horrified to hear that the main thrust of the song appears to be supporting the Tories.

Don’t worry, says eldest, they loose, that’s why its a blues piece.

I metaphorically ran to the hills. Screaming.

We have been having many discussions at home about the up coming election. It is the first time they have been old enough to really grasp any of the concepts. Our political system is hard for children (and lets face it quite a lot of adults) to understand. So we have done our best to explain it’s complexities.  I think at least eldest and possibly middlest have got the basics. But the hardest question of all to answer is ‘What is the difference between the parties?’.

I would class myself as left wing. I was brought up in a fully fledged Guardian reading household. I have always had an aversion to the right wing.  My teenage years were characterised by the miners strike, by record unemployment, by the absolute, and seemingly callous, destruction of many ways of life by Margaret Thatcher.

At university, in the death throws of grants and housing benefit, my resolve only hardened. I distinctly remember in one election during that time, and living in a safe Tory seat in Sheffield, being galvanised into action to support the only viable alternative, a Lib Dem candidate. My household had a poster and we all voted tactically… to zero effect. I haven’t done it since.

Since being able to vote I have yet to actually live in any constituency where there wasn’t a safe Tory MP sitting smugly. I turn up to vote anyway. Futilely. How I long to live in a marginal, be important, possibly shape the future of this country, be Scottish. But, no, I am condemned for ever, it seems, to be a silent voter.

And anyway age, circumstances and the drift of most parties to the centre has numbed my zeal. Although I remain, for the most part, left wing I have a personal interest in not returning to the Labour of old. As a family it is possible we would suffer under a Labour government. But still I cannot bring myself to vote for the right wing party that arguably would do us, personally, the best service. Because fundamentally I want better things for the majority and am prepared to pay for it, although I am also not sure Ed and his friends would deliver that.

I took an online test which anonymously presented 5 party’s policies on areas important to me so I could gain an insight on who to vote for. It was, in the main, remarkably hard to tell whose policies were whose. And the outcome actually showed that no one party should get my vote.

So I am at a loss for this election. I will always vote, women died to gain me that privilege, but for whom is anyone’s guess. I haven’t been canvassed, no one has door-stepped me, I have had only one leaflet through my door. So no one is really making much effort.

Maybe I will just join eldest in his music lesson, play the walking bass for his blues song and stick my fingers in my ears… (although that would make playing bass really, really difficult)…