Lucy Mangan

“In these uncertain times we all need to steady each other”: Lucy Mangan is exasperated by the election

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Lucy Mangan
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Why? Why now? I mean, for the love of God, Theresa, why call a general election now? I mean – I know why. The Conservatives are miles ahead in the polls (because Labour is currently headed by some old geography teacher offcuts from the Seventies that someone thought would be lolz to put a baseball cap on and have stand for the leadership two years ago) and want to turn that into a massive parliamentary majority.

So, I’m not really asking “Why now?” I’m just letting out a howl of agony and wishing things were otherwise. Wishing that the selfish, venal, power-hungry loons in charge would give us all just one tiny bit of a f**king break.

I feel, as I suspect many of us do, like a boxer on the ropes. Every day I wake to another body blow. First there was the stunning uppercut of Brexit (and even the people I know who voted to leave are still feeling something of the toll being taken by the sheer seismic scale of the whole thing). Then the smash to the solar plexus that was Trump’s election (and again, even the non-fans of Hillary among my acquaintance have been fairly WTF? about that little turn of events). The rest of me feels like it has been methodically worked over by an expert in soft tissue damage ever since. Cudgelled by reports from Syria, left dazed and reeling by smaller but still disorientating jabs like news that a man who hit his wife with a cricket bat and forced her to drink bleach can evade jail by claiming he has a contract with a cricket club, or the footage of innocent passengers being bloodied and dragged off airlines who have overbooked their flights.

And then all-but-knockout punches that come as you watch a superpower drop the mother of all bombs that inflicts indiscriminate death on suffering regions, and elsewhere engage in nuclear brinksmanship that brings the world to the edge of Armageddon within 100 days of its new, Putin-affiliated president’s election.

I suck down tiny scraps of good news as if it’s water from my coach during a time-out between rounds. Book publishing behemoth Penguin is abolishing unpaid internships – hurrah! Swill that refreshingly round your swollen gums! Friends is being made into an off-Broadway musical! And spit – don’t worry about the teeth still wobbling! Those edible water ball Ooho thingies could spell the end of plastic pollution! Ding-ding, and back into the ring we go…

I don’t know how much more of this onslaught I can take. I’m running on pure fury these days. If I stop for a moment, my legs will buckle and I will collapse in a battered heap on the floor.

But while there’s any strength at all left in us, we must use it.

Whatever your politics, register to vote and have your voice heard. Donate to a party or an underfunded cause you believe in. If your emotional resources have been less depleted than others’ by recent events, support a friend who isn’t feeling quite so sanguine about the next two months of political campaigning/exiting the EU/surviving a nuclear winter. There seem to be lamentably fewer and fewer people out there protecting our interests. Now, we must try and protect each other.

Image: Rex Features