I am now represented in the European Parliament by Nick Griffin. That's not a good feeling. But like it or not, the BNP now has as many MEPs for the North West as the Liberal Democrats. Over in Yorkshire, the former leader of the National Front was elected, giving the BNP the same number of MEPs in that region as Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
The various talking heads have said how awful this is, how the BNP will claim this gives them and their views legitimacy. And, well, the BNP will claim that. And, well, they'll be right.
We are living through momentous times. In the US, $700bn of taxpayer's money has been made available to buy bank assets no-one wants. In the UK, £500bn is being made available to provide short term loans to banks, to guarantee loans between banks, and even to buy into banks. The ideas of Thatcherism and Reaganomics that arose on either side of the Atlantic in the 1980s have reached their inevitable conclusion, with the era of individual greed collapsing into the era of shared debts. The profits were privatised, and the debts are being nationalised.
Well, there is the question. But first of all, I'm going to bring it down to a very personal question - the one that set me off writing this (now you know who to blame). Can I bring myself to vote for Labour again at the next general election?
This is a personal view of the past year, coloured by emotion. This is from memory, so the timelines may be mixed and confused, and facts may be completely wrong. I don't care. This one is about the visceral side of politics, about my emotional response to all this.
A year ago, I wrote a lament for socialism. Brown had secured the leadership of the Labour Party without an election, and so became Prime Minister. I predicted he would be the same as Blair, only with different presentation skills. Well, I suppose he tried to be the same as Blair, but his lack of presentation skills of any sort scuppered that.
Socialism died in England today, after a long illness. There were no celebrations, there were no mourners. Its passing will excite no tearful column inches, and only a few mocking ones. It passes not with a bang, not with a whimper, only in silence. No flowers.
I have a black notebook. It's about A5 size. It has a hardback cover, bound in a soft fabric. It's pretty thick, an inch or so, about the size of a novel. It has nothing to tell which is the front and the back since I took the barcode sticker off it. It has plain white pages inside it.
You know, this article started out as a calm scholarly examination of the nature of belief and religions. But then the vodka came out, so you get a bit more of a rollicking rant. Forgive me...
So, anyway. Here's the thing - we're living in a world which is becoming increasingly obsessed with certainty. This obsession is manifested in a number of ways, but the one thing they all have in common is an almost evangelical zeal around them - because it is a certainty, anyone who disagrees is wrong, is foolish, is evil. For someone to know that their certainty is, well, certain, different views cannot be allowed.
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