Rob Gilroy

Five more years

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

I woke up this morning to the sounds of Heart FM.

They were playing Keane’s Everybody’s Changing and you know what? It gave me hope. A spring in my step, despite the fact I was still lying down.

They followed it with the classic What a Feeling by the permanently optimistic Irene Cara. I felt good, I felt positive, I felt hopeful.

Then I checked my phone and saw the election results.

Hearing that the Conservatives were heading for a majority was a blow, hearing David Cameron speak was worse. Suddenly I was struck by the soul-destroying reality of another five years with that swollen gland-faced prick. Now I’m in an Uptown Funk.

In reality, I should be happy. The coalition came at exactly the right time for me – I’d just started writing topical material and it’s fair to say they gave me no end of inspiration. Yet now, I feel trapped by it; confined to joking my way through the bleak future ahead. No matter how much vigour Ultra Nate has while they belt out their classic; I don’t feel free.

Like most people in the lead up to this election, I felt confused. Choosing who to vote for – and how much of an impact it has – was tantamount to wanking at an orgy. Sure you’re taking part – but who’s going to clean up afterwards?

I feel angry, and I don’t usually do anger. I feign it for this column quite a lot but when it comes down to the nitty gritty; the best I can manage is an apologetic acceptance of the situation. But today I feel really angry.

Angry that the Conservatives have gained the majority. Angry that so many people feel they need to support a party that encourages putting yourself first over others. Angry at the way UKIP have gained prominence by attacking very specific communities and playing their fears like a mix-tape of Hitler Youth songs.

Angry that Labour haven’t been able to inspire us with confidence, despite competition from a party that is wilfully leaving many vulnerable people desolate. Angry at Heart FM’s obligation to advertisers and mindless banter-jocks over a passion for actual music.

I feel like the last few months have almost been a waste. Toiling over who to vote for, trying to do what is right – not just for me but for my friends and family, and countless other people who might be subjected to more horrible conditions under a Conservative government. All for very little.

Hearing that the majority of Labour and Liberal Democrat figures have resigned feels like a real kick in the nut sack. I’m not saying they were the right people for the job – most would agree – but quitting so soon feels like a petulant refusal to keep fighting. I only hope people don’t feel even more disillusioned by the whole thing.

Not to go all Martin Luther King Jr on you, but I had a plan back in January. A plan to write a series of podcasts making sense of the impending election; they would have been unbiased and silly but with a genuine point – helping those people, like me, who couldn’t decide. That didn’t happen.

It didn’t happen for the simple reason that I could barely make sense of it myself, let alone pull it apart in an arch way that certainly wasn’t condescending. Instead I decided to focus on getting my head clear, working out what I wanted to do and who I wanted to vote for. Right now, I’d settle for a series of uninformed unfunny podcasts. At least Heart FM might have picked them up.

So where does that leave me for the next five years? I’d like to say in some sort of hovel, hiding away from those smug, self-assured faces as they slowly undo every decent and well-meaning aspect of our community. Targeting people who work hard and do their best, stripping important organisations of funding and support, marginalising those in need and further distancing people from each other – I could easily hide away from that. But I won’t.

Instead, I’ll pay attention. I’ll read up on developments, watch the news, engage in debate and push for reform. I’m not going into politics or anything, I’m too easily waivered by criticism and self-doubt – something none of the leaders possess despite overwhelming proof that they should. I’ll be paying more attention to the day-to-day, looking to support the NHS in any way I can; giving money, giving food, giving whatever I can to help others. I’ll probably do alright under a Conservative government, but that doesn’t mean I want to.

I’ve been more politically aware over this last few months that at any time in my life, and I don’t want that to stop now I haven’t got what I wanted. I’m going to start where it matters.

I’m going to find a better fucking radio station.