by Hannah Rose
This is a missive from the past (June 3rd) to the future (June 10th). Futures are shady places where the detail is rubbed out; they nearly always keep us in darkness, because we saturate them in too much hope. Perhaps that’s where it all went wrong: we should have shone a finer light between hope and cynicism. In Back To The Future, Marty McFly asks his girlfriend:“What happens to us in the future? Do we become assholes or something?”
Have we, today—June 10th—voted in assholes?
Reader, I hope you are happy.
June 3rd was the time to speculate.
Maybe we have voted in assholes.
Maybe we haven’t.
Maybe we voted in decent people who say obvious things like: “The idea of anyone using a nuclear weapon is utterly appalling” and make incontestable statements such as: “I deplore racism in any form whatsoever.”
I liked the man who said that; I hope he won at least something. Perhaps the new PM knows how to make jam, and has raised the profile of vegetarianism considerably.
I hope we didn’t vote in people who say condescending things like: “There isn’t a magic money tree that suddenly provides everything that people want,” as if the voting public was a gaggle of spoiled, nagging children. Followed by banalities, which remind me of functional furniture, such as: “Strong and stable.”
And platitudes such as:
“Education is so important.”
Did the country fall for the Tory Party line—about there not being enough money for the Labour Party “wish list”? Again, as if the alternative were a demanding toddler.
Or did we choose a more adult vision of the future, “one for the many and not the few,” and decide to “rewrite the rules of a rigged system,” which is where all the magic money grows?
we’ll go back, vote differently, ask different questions and seek different answers. Though not irrelevant and hypothetical ones about war and the obliteration of mankind, please.
Theresa, there is enough money in this country; it’s in your pocket but your arms are short.
Did this question about who would press the red button seduce the majority, because they find war sexy?
Who is standing in the killing fields now?
Maybe a reckless wind came and blew all the ballot papers up in the air, and now they are falling around us like confetti at a wedding and everybody is smiling and celebrating because the future is saturated in hope.
Maybe none of the above has been decided yet.
Maybe we’re still counting votes because it’s so close, and everyone has bitten their nails to the quick and the ballot counters have sore fingertips.
Maybe the sky fell in and we are digging ourselves out with our bare hands which are chapped and raw, but we will not cease digging until we come up for air.
Whatever has happened, vows—manifestos—were made and we got married to the future on June 8th, under those promises which will rain down on us like feathers or bricks.
Now that we’re married to the future, comes the question of fidelity: how do you know we will still feel the same about each other in the future? Promise-making is precarious. Wouldn’t it be easier to have a time machine, allowing us a peek, just for a few moments, into the future—to check that our feelings are still true? Then we’ll go back, vote differently, ask different questions and seek different answers. Though not irrelevant and hypothetical ones about war and the obliteration of mankind, please.
Doc warns Marty about the danger of time travel: “We’ve already agreed that having information about the future can be extremely dangerous. Even if your intentions are good, it can backfire drastically!”
What would we have done last year, on the eve of the referendum, if the time machine gave us a peek at June 10th—at the division between us so raw that we are still reeling (for real, this time) from the cut?
This is also a missive of thanks—to the Labour Left, and to Jeremy Corbyn. Thanks for standing up there and getting all those people invigorated by and involved in politics again, by questioning and interrogating the establishment and boiling it all down to a simple choice—neo-liberalism or socialism. Thanks for the momentum that made us heady and made hearts thump for mankind again. I have no doubt many, many people put their faith in you and voted for you. You smashed apathy in the face and found the fight in us, realigned values for those who didn’t even know they had any. You helped establish the resurgence of those socialist principles which broke like a tidal wave across the country and took many with you in its current. Young people who will take these principles forward into their futures and their children’s futures; socialist ideals are in living, active and political memory again. You did that, wherever you are (did you run away and are now living in a treehouse in the woods? Can I come?).
They called you a fantasist, a communist, a pacifist. The media streams—riddled by a drought of principles—twisted meanings like meandering rivers, and spat you out into an ocean I couldn’t swim in. It’s almost impossible to navigate the future from here, June 3rd. We urgently need a map, an atlas of the ocean floor and the next ten years so we can gauge some perspective, so we can say with some conviction that we know where we are going; will we come up for air? But blind faith, that things could change in favour of the many and not the few, doesn’t have a map.
Doc says to Marty: “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”
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