|jason haynes art||
'Produce a response to the following statement:
HELP! My parents voted Conservative – Dealing with family and friends with dubious political views or:
A guide to putting your fundamental political differences aside and getting on.'
We’ll call him David. Ah, he probably won’t ever read this anyway, his name is Pete and I found out during a drunken evening watching some televised football event between Barcelona and Juventus. I have few words of actual advice in putting aside our political differences, but I can only attest to the ways in which I have since tried to reason with the shocking revelation that Pete voted Conservative. Besides, I don’t want to validate it. But one very helpful respite is that I won’t have to see my friend for a long time because - in what is a sweet taste of redemptive irony - he is temporarily living in Colombia due to legislations which directly affect him under this Tory tyranny. More on that later.
Typical Pete, even though we were both neutrals he was cheering on the favourites, Barcelona. He actually supports Chelsea (which should have been an indicator to his political predisposition). I on the other hand opted for the hard working underdog; a team that clawed their way back from the brinks of match fixing scandals and relegation to reach this prestigious mass spectacle in less than 10 years. But Pete only cares for the crowd pleasers. After all, Barcelona has living legend, Lionel Messi as their leader. Labour had David Milliband’s little brother. Now where was I? So, I want to write about how his vote backfired and how he recently married the love of his life because she’s Columbian and it’s the only way she can remain in the UK now her studies have ended. But the Tories implemented a typical-Tory-rule where you have to earn above a certain salary if you want your overseas soul mate to obtain a UK passport. So poor Pete is now getting married in Colombia where he will work remotely from his Mother-in-Law’s living room for a few months, before returning brideless until his salary and her legality becomes approved.
Initially I found myself seeking connections that may point to his political views, but it was baffling. How could he? Pete who liked that Billy Bragg song. What does Pete know about politics? What does he even know about football? When Barcelona scored the winner I was already angry. Pete who lives in Tooting, a varicose vain road descending from London’s more affluent arse cheeks. Classic working class tory! There’ll be arseholes with or without democracy! ‘Democracy is the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people!’ Pete, who under his Uncle’s advice voted Tory because he didn’t know any better. Pete, who invested in stocks and shares last year and gained interest. Pete who once claimed; “you can get away with sayin anythin about art” a comment that spiralled an internal schizo-monologue lying down in my bed later that night, imagining a different outcome; “No Peter, I refute such relativistic nihilism, you have taken the romantic notions of art against rationality to its extreme, you are insincere towards the cries of man, such games of aesthetic truths are surely found in relations, towards the evidential through the empirical and analytical. How can you be so blasé about meaning and yet you participate in a political system? … A man who works in I.T coding not understanding the innateness of content? I don’t think you could say….” And so on and so on.
These little re-enactments helped me exorcise the moment, but also my irrational vitriol; “He was a sheep. And sheep deserve no singular noun, because they survive by following the reactionary mass”. Like him, I also get to work from home, but as one of Cameron’s precarious self-employed statistics. To be fair, it’s no different to before, only without the tax credits and sense of hope. I’m thrifty with money, in the same way a starving person is good at not overeating. I mean, while we’re in Syria he’s in Columbia, sipping tequila and coffee over an Equatorial sunbed. Prick.
No, this was all ad hominem from the very start. Eventually, I concluded; “It’s not Pete’s fault, he’s just one. I can only assume as a nice guy; and he is a nice guy; he performs an act of altruism by voting what he believes in, even to his own personal disadvantages”. He just doesn't know any better. Now that I’ve written this I think that’s unfair. I conclude instead that he follows some weird categorical imperative. Anyway, I have learnt to forgive him. I recently attended his UK stag before he set off and had a leaving meal where he ordered three times as much as me before splitting the bill. I’ve even contributed what I can towards the wedding and other parties since. I call it all friendship tax. I accept it’s just risen a little more lately that’s all.
“Me and the rest of the country are wrong are we?” was his answer when I verbally attacked him at the end of the game. In front of a sheepish looking group of friends. He had a point. Not, that anyone was right but that the system allowed him to be. I realise this is what actually bothered me. After all, I didn’t feel as though there was anyone I actually wanted to vote for. I went Green for my local election at the time, mainly because I’m a shadenfreud, and fancied going against our longstanding Labour MP, who seemed an inevitable victor but complacent and besides that he seemed like an already extinct member. Socialist memories swallowed up by New Labour, with promises the public don’t believe can be achieved anymore. This man in question was of course, Jeremy Corbyn. Which perhaps goes to show how I misjudge things too. I now thank Pete and all the others in a way, because at least under such despondency, competing methods will demand reconsideration and imagination; not because they offer an alternative underdog, but because they offer alternative outcomes for the future.