… for a while at any rate, I hope, although who knows given the unprecedented times we’ve lived in since 2010 (there was a cartoon a while back, I think by “Matt” (my favourite political cartoonist) of someone saying, “Sometimes I wish we could go back to living in precedented times”).
I didn’t sleep all night. I’ve never stayed up all night watching election coverage and I didn’t last night. The election filled me with a weird mixture of dread and ennui; I had no intention of staying up for a blow-by-blow account. Better to go to sleep and wake up to the result, for good or for bad. I watched James Bond in the evening and went to bed before 1.00am, cheered slightly by the exit polls, but I couldn’t sleep. I don’t know if it was too much caffeine (I didn’t think I’d had that much), ‘blue light’ from watching the TV before bed, anxiety about the election result or simply straightforward insomnia. I got up around 2.00am and watched a few minutes of the election coverage, but mostly finished reading the latest Jewish Review of Books. I tried to sleep again, but eventually gave up and put on the radio just as Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson lost her seat. I lay in bed listening and messaging E. about the election and other stuff, mostly my novel (thank you, time difference). Eventually I decided to give up on sleeping and get up.
I’m likely to spend today running on coffee until we get to Shabbat, maybe nap after shul (synagogue) before dinner and then get to sleep properly after dinner, around 9.00pm.
I seem to have lost nearly 1kg in a week or so. I hope I can keep this up. I’m not sure how much weight it is actually feasible for me to lose, given that my weight gain was driven by medication. Apparently my lifestyle counts as “active” too, particularly if I can continue running twice a week.
So, to business… I’m glad Labour did not win the election, although I’m concerned that Jeremy Corbyn wants to remain leader for the foreseeable future (he’s going to Leave, but also to Remain); I’m worried he wants to ensure a successor he approves of, which is likely to mean another hardline left-wing antisemite e.g. John McDonnell. I’m still worried that there may be antisemitic violence in revenge against the Jewish community, especially over Shabbat, and the job of detoxifying the party is going to be very hard; the battle is won, but not the war.
In general terms, while I don’t want to write about my politics here in party political terms, but while I’m relieved we kept out the crypto-Marxists, I’m still worried about how we bring the country back together after being so fractured, both by Brexit and by lack of social cohesion (which is not necessarily the same as social or economic inequality). I do think a strong opposition is important for democracy, and we don’t have that – arguably we haven’t had any strong parties for some time now. Hopefully that will begin to change. Certainly it seems likely that all the parties will engage in soul-searching and change, either to capitalise on the new working class Brexit vote (Conservatives) or to prevent another defeat (Labour, Liberal Democrats). The Conservative Party has a history of periodically radically changing its outlook and policies to win new groups of voters, sometimes making surprising lurches to the centre ground (I don’t know whether that’s democracy or organised hypocrisy); whether they can and will do this again is an open question. Interesting times, I guess, whatever happens.
I did feel sorry for Luciana Berger not winning the seat she was contesting for the Liberal Democrats, as she suffered a lot of antisemitism when she was in the Labour Party. I guess that’s politics; no one gets a pity vote. If she’s stepping down from party politics, I hope she considers some kind of role in the wider Jewish community, where she has found a lot of support.
Someone shouted “Terrorist! IRA!” or words to that effect at terrorist apologist and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell when his result was being read out, which partially makes up for my being too shy to say anything assertive to the Labour canvasser on our doorstep.
The above was written in the early hours. I worked on my novel for a bit, then fell asleep for over three hours, woke up with little time before Shabbat and everyone running late, panic, so I don’t have time to mention the TWO new obstacles to my getting ESA that have arisen in the last hour. Must dash, Shabbat shalom!