Challenge The Man! Change The System! 

ON Thursday I had a husband with a passing interest in politics.

By Friday morning he’d been replaced by a one-man crusade to ‘Challenge The Man’ and ‘Change The System’.

“I want to Challenge The Man and Change The System!” he has said hundreds of times since. “The system is broken! Down with the system!”

His Russell Brand impersonation is coming along a treat.

Now, his favourite topic of conversation is why the current make-up of parliament does not ‘accurately reflect’ the wishes of the people – and he has memorised hundreds of statistics to back this up.

“The SNP got 1.4 million votes and more than 50 MPs while the Lib Dems got 2.4 million votes but only eight MPs,” he tells anybody who will listen. 

“It’s just wrong! WRONG! Tell me you can see it’s wrong!”

I take a lot of deep breaths these days.

“Alright, alright, we all know it’s wrong,” I soothe. “But can you stop shouting at my grandma on her 92nd birthday, please?”

He says – and I agree with him – that this is the first general election to really highlight how outdated First Past the Post voting is.

Almost every party gained (or lost) a number of seats which was disproportionate to the number of votes the public gave them.

And a general disillusionment with the result was reflected on my Twitter feed on Friday morning.

“Pack your bags and make sure you’ve got a woolly hat, because we’re moving to Scotland!” was the cry.

With its nationalist-controlled parliament and SNP-domination, Scotland must seem a far cry from the English south and Midlands which voted almost unilaterally for Cameron et al.

Now, if social media is to be believed, you can forget about migrants crossing the Mediterranean – it’s the Solway Firth that will suddenly be full of hoards of disillusioned English voters.

Pedaloes last seen on the shore at Bowness will suddenly be changing hands on the black market, while in seedy pubs you’ll see people taking backhanders from desperate families keen to get a passage on a giant plastic swan.

Personally I don’t disagree with them and I’m concerned to say the least about another five years of Tory rule.

However, if I hear the words ‘proportional representation’ one more time I may be forced to take action myself, possibly by hitting Smithy over the head with the petition he’s taking to carrying around with him.

“Challenge The Man!” he starts up again, in a brief moment of silence. “Change The…”

“Yes, yes, the system!” I snap. “The system needs to change! 

“But it’s 3am and the baby has finally nodded off. Can we please change the world in the morning?”

Article first published in The Westmorland Gazette on May 14, 2015


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