X is for Art


Finally Polling Day has arrived. It is an election where lying appears to be de rigeur with the leader of the Conservative Party repeatedly called out for it and 88% of its Facebook adverts judged to be erroneous. Purely for the sake of my sanity, I confess that I have tried to ignore, so far as possible, the ongoing hype over the political debate. However, when Fridgegate, Floorgate and Punchgate dominate the airwaves, it is difficult not to get drawn into  the unreality of knowing that I have a big decision to make with the fate of the country hardly resting on my solitary X on a ballot paper in a safe Conservative seat.

With responsibility comes the need to consider and reflect (some might call it dithering). Even if all of those Labour ads have been regarded as essentially true, what about the rest of the noise?

It has hardly been an inspiring election campaign. When the party favoured by the wealthy and privileged lies about lying and blames others for its deeply destructive and divisive policies, I know I can't betray the habit of a lifetime and vote for it, but still I must worry about the future of the country and the polls that show it set for victory. 

The main opposition rants so much, it makes me feel somehow unworthy and guilty for identifying with the many and unjustifiably fearful that it views me as the few. I know that despite my great urge for a fairer, more equal society, this is a party that has failed to provide an effective stance on Brexit, which is of course still the key issue of the day and the reason for the election.

Living where I do, I could cast my vote for the Yorkshire Party. After all if Scotland, Wales and Ireland can have devolved powers, why not my own region? But then I consider the local councillor who changed parties to join up from UKIP and I realise that whilst they may claim to be social democrats, any form of nationalism can suffer from populist undertones and what if it made the big jump to independence? I'd be crossing the border just to go to the gym and that certainly puts the Northern Ireland border issues into context.

Next there's a Brexit Party member posing as an independent who dismisses environmental issues by stating simply that he likes to eat meat and travel. Or, what about the LibDem still tainted by the toxicity of a coalition with the Tories and its u-turn on student tuition fees? Finally there is a Green candidate with his devastating images of a post-apocalyptic world, designed surely to cause me untold anxiety.

Yes it has been a campaign of negativity and personal smears and attacks. Where are those unicorns when you want them? It's not tax perks or compensation for the loss of my state pension rights that I'm looking for but rather the assurance of a decent, properly funded, fair society, where everyone is respected. That is not a picture achieved by any of the candidates behaving shiftily, constantly deriding opponents, tolerating or even promulgating racism. If only the facts could be presented honestly, so that I don't have to work my way through the spin and fake news.

Yesterday I sought solace in art with a longstanding friend. We visited an exhibition entitled Slow Art in Leeds Art Gallery where pausing and taking our time, the content of the pictures gradually revealed themselves. Then we moved on to The Tetley where we experienced Untitled, a complex mix of old and new work including copies and forgeries as well as unintended relations that we sought to untangle.

Whilst art is often perceived as producing pieces of beauty, contemporary art is more often judged by its  raw honesty and powerful impact. Political policies and campaigns, rather than dumbed down slogans, should have the same effect. My day out helped me realise that I need to put that X against the box of a candidate for a party that can inspire and on which I can rely to deliver. I have until 10pm to decide who that will be. Does anyone know if Banksy is standing?


Comments

  1. While I was pleased to see a huge turnout at the polls I'm obviously disappointed with the result, and for those that claim that it is validation of the first referendum I think I see the result as more a "just get on with the bloody thing" knee jerk reaction to be honest. People are mightily sick to death of Brexit. But I did get a chuckle out of Boris' speech where he was "humbled"! Ha, Boris humble? Never in a million years!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, the new Christmas Party Game: listen to him speak and spot the porkies! Although more than 50% of votes cast were actually for non-Brexit/2nd referendum parties, it’s clear that because of the rules of the first past the post system the Conservatives have been given a clear mandate to ‘Get Brexit Done.’ Commentators are saying, however, it means the Government won’t be so reliant on its party’s extreme Brexiteers and there is, therefore, more scope for a Brexit with regulatory alignment etc.. Guess it comes down to what he perceives as necessary to be re-elected in 5 years.

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  2. I have been watching your Brexit soap opera from the other side of the Atlantic, wondering how and when it will all end. As an outsider and with my limited knowledge, it seems that leaving the EU, even with a solid plan, could be quite risky. The possibility of Scotland and Northern Ireland deciding to leave the U.K. at some point adds even more uncertainty.

    But, I can relate to so many people being so tired of all the political shenanigans and just wanting something, anything to happen.. We have our own drama in that department; I think most Americans just want all the noise, tweets, and upheaval to stop.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, we’ve never gone in for revolutions in this country particularly (English Civil War in the 1600’s excepted). Something about our psyche means those with the power have always stayed a few steps ahead and pragmatically given enough crumbs to the masses that they have shut up and put up in order to have the quiet life you allude to.

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