An observation on tomorrow's vote:
I emailed a friend the other day, in fact two days ago, and he hasn't replied. This is unusual for him, but for the fact that tomorrow he has an important event, unrelated to the vote. I say important; in fact it is very important and certainly something that will have absorbed his time and energy for some days and in reality my email was of little consequence.
In times of stress people shut down a little bit. If I am doing a particularly difficult bit of driving during poor conditions, I turn off the radio.
Well, we are living through quite a lot of national stress right now. Anybody who is not suffering from what are for some, catastrophic rises in the price of base commodities is very lucky, and, probably very wealthy, or living somewhere not in Europe.
We stare into an abyss. The indicators are that in real terms we shall be relatively impoverished. Most of us understand why this is. Most of us know that 13 years of maxing out the national credit card created a bubble that has now burst. And it's payback time. Those who are lucky enough to have work and an income are paying the bills, not just for themselves, but for every screwball "initiative" that was designed to inflate the state, and in so doing, maintain Labour in power forever.
Well, that investment did not work. Sooner or later people were going to resent the fact that feckless, anti-social tatterdemalions were getting social housing, benefits and free everything in return for making no contribution to society whatsoever, and in some cases, actively seeking to destroy our society all together.
So we live in a time of stress. We also live in a time when hatred of minorities is acute. Some might link economic stress and scapegoating, but that would be something of a glib answer. Hatred is not the preserve of the envious poor. I read that a man called Philip Sallon was the subject of a horrendous attack in London recently. Sallon, some might argue, was asking for it. Flamboyant is not the word. Sallon is also fairly showily gay. Being different is clearly something that attracts hatred. Being gay clearly does and there seems to be an anti-gay element to an attack that resulted in a fractured skull and broken bones. In an interview, Sallon's pal Boy George expressed dismay at the attack and told a paper of "his fears of a growing intolerance towards people who stand out from the norm".
"Growing intolerance"? Society has always been intolerant to people who stand out. Not a lot has changed. Intolerance is not "growing", it is endemic in our society. It is merely the case that there is a tectonic slip between what we are supposed to think and say officially and what really think, mostly, privately.
However and whatever, it is with a shed load of irony that another flamboyant character, John Galliano, the fashion designer, has been dropped from his sponsors and employers, Christian Dior, for allegedly making several anti-semitic remarks and also hurling insults at an Asian. He is about to stand trial and we shall find out if he has a case to answer.
So, perhaps there is a prevalence of hatred, perhaps it is more shocking in times that are thought of as liberal. Whatever the case, people are stressed and quite honestly do not have a lot of time for anything other than their own personal problems.
My case here is that perhaps the collapse in the "Yes" to AV vote, and the poor showing of Labour in Scotland, suggests that change on this kind of scale is not wanted at a time when there are too many changes to contend with and they are all too close to home for comfort.
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