When Brexit happened, I was in Mozambique. That day I woke ominously at 5am, checking the results before my eyes were fully open. I managed to wait for an hour (a bad hour) before waking F to tell him. We got up and watched BBC News 24 in a naively stunned silence that would become all too familiar as the year wore on. When Cameron resigned I gasped, I grabbed F’s leg. I thought, I’ll always remember this moment when we left the EU, when I was on a tiny island off the coast of Africa.
As the states started turning red in November 2016, I thought the impossible might happen and when the New York Times predictor slowly ticked over from 80% Hillary to 95% Trump, I knew. We all knew, even if we couldn’t believe it. I met F at a bar and we got drunk and commiserated with bartenders we’d never met before. The next day I read Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche in the bath and when Hillary gave her someday, someone speech, I cried.
I’m telling you this because a hung parliament is just so much less emotive.
I think I’m probably pretty clever, but on Saturday I sat down to lunch with F and asked him to explain the election to me. I had started a 12 hour shift as the final seats were called so as Saturday morning rolled round and my opinion piece tabs remained unread I knew Labour had lost. But I also knew my friends on Facebook were celebrating. What’s going on? I said. So he told me while I ate lasagne and afterwards I felt better on multiple levels.
One of the things I’ve learned from writing is that you can’t waste time being embarrassed about typos. And I’m going to say the same is true of not quite understanding politics. I mean, if we can’t have the primary satisfaction of blue always meaning bad and red always meaning good (because America missed the memo again) then what certainty even is there?
But I hope we can still try. I hope you can stare at some red and blue graphs and try to extrapolate meaning. I hope you have time to read some articles or watch some videos. I hope if you’re British, you voted. I hope you have options available to you. I hope you don’t feel embarrassed. I hope you feel ok today. I hope you can just order a lasagne and grab someone you love and say, Hey, what the fuck’s going on?
A version of this post was sent by email on the 11th June 2017 after a British General Election that ended in a hung parliament, as part of Internet Care Package.
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