The Bleak Midwinter

wp-1579016105960.jpgIt is January 14th, 2020 and I have just taken our Christmas tree from the living room to the garden. It is a real tree, so it can come in again next year, but even this is too annoying for me – I wanted a plastic one we could keep by the telly with a tea towel over it till December. Across England, from the mid Victorian country estate of Runton, where Joe is mending llama chewed and goat rammed petting zoo fences, to the Leeds side streets where ‘Anton’ is fixing the faulty wiring of his elderly and distrusting Asian customer base, to the obscure Norfolk council department where I have found employment for the winter months, tinsel has come down, Rudolph and his very shiny clothes are sound asleep, and bopping desktop Santas have had the last tango in Briston. For now, Christmas is old news, and the bleakest part of the bleak midwinter is upon us.

On the subject of old news, imagine if, as a Christmas present, the Labour Party had given us something to vote for. That would’ve been lovely. Unlikely, of course, because it is little more than a masturbatory aid for the woke middle class, and therefore exists only in gentrified London boroughs, Twitter, and Brighton, but a nice gesture nonetheless.  Instead, Labour’s ‘Youth Quake’, promised to use righteous paranoia to save us from ourselves by shaking up the social order good and proper, but couldn’t even kick the Tories off its own campus doorsteps, which it puts down to the Many being too stupid to vote for a bunch of semi-posh anti Semites who hate them. The Tories aren’t fond of us either, but they aren’t pretending to be our big mates, and while I’m sure there are Tories with, among other things, anti-Semitic views, they aren’twp-1579015273974.jpg using them as a vote winner, are they. Incidentally, in case you’re concerned that you might have voted for a racist party – anti-Semitism and racism are completely different things, like twins, so there’s no need to worry.

I was the first into work on the morning after the election. Shortly after I had made my two flasks of Gold Blend for the day, Liz, who is responsible for the beach huts at Overstrand, turned up, and we discussed the previous nights’ events. Norfolk born and bred, a husband working as an agricultural haulage contractor and three children in local state schools, Liz is one of the Many, and had rooted for Labour all the way. Ghost faced and barely coherent, she whispered about where all this would leave the people of Palestine, and how her children would cope without compulsory transgender education in state primary schools. How can we call ourselves a modern society when our internet remains unnationalised? she continued, staring straight ahead at an invisible, but infinitely more welcoming, other horizon. I put my coat around her shoulders and she sobbed quietly. Oh hang on. No, now I come to think of it, it was nothing like that at all. Liz bounced in, said ‘I’m glad Labour lost, they are a bunch of twats’ then sat down, looked at her phone, said ‘Buble’s at Blickling*! Shall we all go for a larf?’ and spent the next forty minutes sorting out tickets.

Upon reflection, I think it would be better for everyone if the middle class left politics alone. They’re always going to be alright whatever happens anyway, and they’ve got the Extinction Rebellion when they want to shout at people for being stupid and what not. wp-1579015152030.jpgThis is imporant, because shouting at people for being stupid literally is middle class politics. Also, they already have enough to keep them busy, what with the Winter Olympics, hummus, transgenderism, picnics, yoga, food intolerances, pop up bakeries and telling us how to be working class properly, so it’s not like they won’t have anything to Tweet about. Instead of going to festivals to wave rainbow flags about and leave litter everywhere, they should use them as an inspiration to get into music, where they have a solid track record – my own beloved Beatles are built upon the most middle class musical partnership in history, after all. This became apparant when half of it starting singing about being a Working Class Hero from a recording studio in his stately home, which also featured seventy two acres of grounds, a herd of deer, a lake specially dug so it was visible from the master bedroom and a purpose built heated room for his conceptual artist wife to keep her fur coats in. That said, he did strike a blow for the Many by having his chauffer return his MBE to Buckingham Palace in a Rolls Royce, so there’s that. Then again, he also wrote Imagine, the most patronising song in the history of popular music. I mean, it’s a lovely tune and as a sentiment it’s difficult to argue with, but it assumes, as all middle class people do, that no one except them has ever thought about how nice it would be if everything was marvellous. For all this, though, I remain an enthusiastic supporter of the middle class, because a middle class is how you know you live in a democracy, but they have got to know their limits. These people meddling in things is why it costs fifty quid to see West Ham, why gluten free batter is making fish and chips more and more expensive, why the Labour party wouldn’t save you even if it could and, understandably, why the aliens won’t fucking talk to us.

*Michael Buble, performing at Blickling Hall in north Norfolk.



Main photard: Red sky in the morning – can’t stop yawning, as the old country saying goes. Still, the cows don’t seem to mind. NB I’m pretty sure the sky won’t be visible on most devices, but it really is a lovely deep shade of red.

The other screenshots are all from the night before the 2017 election, when I was being pestered by some Labour person while walking the dog. The next day saw them losing yet again, but as ever claiming, somehow, to have won. They’re always doing this. The exchange went on for ages in this vein, until they ended it with the classic ‘elderly relative who, with his dying breath, urged people to vote Labour to save the NHS’ fib.

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