Tuesday, 25 May 2010

im in ur budjit, takn ur monis

I've never been much one for protests. I tend to honour the 'well it doesn't make a whole lot of difference anyway' standpoint well-trodden by every lazy contester who wants to disagree vehemently without giving up his Saturday morning, but damn it if I don't want to protest now. The first figures for the proposed budget cuts are out and perhaps it's premature to rage against the machine at this point - these are, after all merely the teaser for the full trailer of Screw The Poor And The Young showing later this year - but I'm already angry.

It's fair to say my upset is as selfish as the every-man-for-himself spirit that allows people to both make these cuts and vote for the people that would. Already on the line is the Early Year's programme for under 5's (considerately nicknamed the 'Nappy Curriculum' by pricks nationwide) that my wife is applying for, 10,000 less places at the universities my younger brother will be hoping to go to in two years, and a removal of the child trust fund (and granted, I don't have any children currently but I would like to in the next five years, and fund for children of poor parents would be helpful - especially if my only journalistic output in five years is still this blog and Twitter). So therefore, if these budget cuts are already affecting my nearest and (unborn) dearest, I think it's true to say future instalments are unlikely to make me much happier.

And still, with just these personal affronts I wouldn't be quite so upset. There's a guilt involved here. The 'well it's your fault for voting Lib Dem' argument popularised by my Labour-voting friends and, well... father-in-law, hurts because there's an element of truth in it. Ask me today if given the choice between what we have now and a Labour government I'd say Labour, in a flash, but would that change the ballot I gave a few weeks ago? The democrat (note the lowercase 'd') in me wants to think no, and not only for the reason that my area would have went Lib Dem anyway but because my area went Lib Dem for the same reason I voted it: because I genuinely believed that was the best option on the table. Give me different options and I'd vote differently. And while I'm screaming 'electoral reform' from the rooftops these days that's not what this post's about, but the point remains that the current system is one where 'tactical voting' is not just a gross misunderstanding of the democratic system but a viable option - where people are considering Labour not because they want it, but because it gets closer to what they want than voting Lib Dem. And if getting your beliefs represented means giving a distorted a picture of what you really believe then that's a counter-democratic (not anti, never anti) system from the off. More people voted Lib Dem than last year, that should get more seats. I'm a Film graduate (well, graduand) and even I can work that maths.

So for all my anger where does that leave me? I, like a lot of first-time voters, discovered a love for politics this year - tweeting, facebook statusing and holding an election party where we all drank ill-advised shots of Ouzo. I haven't cared that much for politics before and so - with crushing inevitability - I, like a lot of first-time Lib Dem bleeding-heart liberals, got my heart broken. Hence the angry.

So seriously, who can teach me how to protest? Failing that, I'll just have to send ominous newspaper-cutting letters to David Cameron reading 'I know where you live.'