Thursday, 30 April 2009

Gone Is the Romance That Once Was Divine

Today I saw the first poster exhorting me to vote in the forthcoming elections to the European Parliament - and realised, for the first time in my adult life, that I really don’t know whether I ought to vote or not.

It certainly isn’t a question of convenience. My local polling station is virtually across the street. Just going in and voting as of yore would be far cheaper, both in time and angst, than even thinking about playing democratic hooky. But I'm sore divided in my mind as to whether voting, especially in this game, remains the right thing for me to do. I may explore my reasons in some future posts before E-day.

But... how we change! A bare third of my life ago, I was a committed party activist. I ran for my Borough Council seat, and slogged out a due portion of my guts as Parliamentary Election Agent to a local Green candidate who has since gone on to bigger things. (Yes, I have walked a strange road since then. The actual distance travelled has been a shorter one than may appear.)

I believed in the democratic process, in those heady days. Not, look you, as a religious person believes in God; but at least as an ardent and active lover believes in Bed. Now I believe in it only in the humbler sense that I believe in beds, as also in chairs and tomatoes and integral calculus and aardvarks. And whilst I still believe in employing democracy rather than its rougher rivals, this is now only to say that I believe in sleeping on futons in preference to beds of nails. Free futons for all or no, I cannot help but dream seditious dreams of being able to afford a swanky feather-bed to snore in - or perchance instead to sneak off with some sweet companion, and sport beneath the clement summer stars.

Excuse me. The instability of my metaphor has just dumped my arse out of my hammock. But to hasten to my conclusion:

The abstinence I’m contemplating is one which many people I respect will, for good and honourable reasons, find shameful. Now, I am a goat and proud of it, and I accept no blame for escaping my old pen when I no longer see the good in it. And, yet, a melancholy overtook me as I passed that poster and thought these thoughts: they smack of a last farewell.

Oh, fair Una, in whom I no longer believe! I did love you so dear, and so long.

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