Probably like many, I went to sleep the other night with the radio on so that I could follow the progress of the American presidential election through the night. Only, what actually happened was what happens every time I fall asleep with the radio on: I had a restless night’s sleep.
Each time I woke I also reached for my mobile phone which was lying face down on my bedside table, I turned it over, brushed my finger across the fingerprint reader to unlock it and tapped at the BBC News app as my face lit up from its feint glow. One question: who is winning? Please let it be Biden.
Of course, two days later and we’re still waiting.
Every election night I am reminded of that general election night in 1997, the one where Labour overturned the Conservative government and put Tony Blair into Number 10.
WARNING: There are some sweary words in the following post. They are not my sweary words—obviously, I never swear (ahem!). I’m just quoting them.
Without a shadow of a doubt Lamb of God are one of my favourite bands. Their new album Resolution is scheduled to be released in approx. 18 days’ time. I’m very excited.
Well, their vocalist, D. Randall (Randy) Blythe has announced that he is standing for US President in 2012.
“It’s 2012 now, the year some are saying the Mayan calendar predicts a cataclysmic upheaval across the board for our planet, perhaps even the end of the world as we know it. I don’t know if these doomsday predictions have any validity, but I do know one thing: the potential candidates in the race to decide who will be elected President of the United States look like pure shit.
“I’m not particularly stoked on any of the candidates. In a massive blow to our civil rights, Obama quietly signed the NDAA for the fiscal year 2012 into law while Americans drank in their party hats on New Year’s Eve. The GOP is parading around a bunch of ass-clowns in what has got to be the most embarrassing primary season in the history of their party. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse than Sarah Palin, they bust out that lunatic Michele Bachmann. I have no clue what the Libertarians are up to now that Ron Paul is gunning for the Republican nomination. Probably loading their guns and preparing for the worst.
“Don’t even get me started on our current Congress, THE WORST CONGRESS I HAVE EVER SEEN OR HEARD OF IN THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES. It’s a relentless bipartisan pissing contest in Washington where not only is nothing getting done, nothing is ALLOWED to get done. There’s a bunch of squabbling children in Washington in charge of the business of running our country. These baboons are stopping any useful litigation from occurring by engaging in an endless game of “I know you are, but what am I?”. There is very little compromise happening in DC, and there is very little regard for the welfare of the American people. It’s PATHETIC.
“Something has got to change. America is falling to pieces around us and we are sitting back and letting it happen. We need someone to come in and REALLY take charge, someone who can’t be bought by corporate dollars because he doesn’t need or want ‘em. Someone who is not going to bullshit the country or the rest of the world about what’s going to go down when he steps into office, because he LIKES pissing people off and doesn’t give a shit about hurting anyone’s feelings. We need a man who is not afraid to stick his neck out and risk embarrassing himself while doing the right thing, a man, in fact, INCAPABLE of embarrassment anymore PERIOD because he’s ALREADY done almost every stupid WRONG thing you can think of at one time or the other. We need a hard-boiled, no-nonsense, mean son-of-a-bitch with a bad reputation who ain’t afraid to cock-whip the shit out of some randomly selected pussy-ass billionaire on live tv during his annual State of the Union Address just to make a point and let the mega-rich know that NO ONE is above the law here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. In short, we need a man who just DOES NOT GIVE A FUCK.
“America, that man is me.”
So, lets just assume that all goes to plan and Uncle Randy gets elected. What would be his first act as the 45th President of the United States of America?
“My first act as President of the United States will [be] to be shot. That’s right, SHOT. With a high-powered assault rifle. Immediately after taking the oath of office, I will be escorted about twenty yards away and be shot publicly in a non-lethal area of my body by a highly trained Navy SEAL sniper. It will hurt like fuck.”
Blythe says he will do this because he doesn’t expect anyone in the armed forces to do anything he wouldn’t.
“Me being shot will be broadcast live world-wide via satellite, with no bleeping out of the incredible string of curse words I will undoubtedly let fly with. I will be required to walk/limp/crawl on my own power a minimum of 50 yards through the mud to an ambulance that will take me away to patch me up. If I can’t make it on my own, I’m not tough enough to be your President.
“After all the nations in the entire world witness America’s new President, an insane looking heavily tattooed freak, getting shot ON HIS OWN ORDER as soon as he takes office, then crawling all bloody to an ambulance, cussing the whole way and screaming pure hate in a monstrous voice tortured by years of touring and Marlboro Reds, they will think twice before fucking with us,” he adds.
“Among his impressive list of promises are to:
Take 13 weeks of Marine Corps training.
Kill an enemy prisoners in hand-to-hand combat.
Kill the first enemy of any war.
Change the rules of engagement so troops can shoot before the enemy strikes.
Kick some ass.
Blythe appears to focus on foreign policy rather than discuss economic issues, suggesting he may be better suited for the role of Secretary of State.
His slogan? “Fuck the dumb shit. Let’s get real here.”
Still not 100% decided on who I’ll vote for tomorrow—having voted for the Liberal Democrats in every election since I’ve been eligible to vote; voting for David Steel, Simon Hughes, Charles Kennedy, some-bloke-in-Edinburgh-who-wasn’t-that-famous, and Sir Menzies Campbell… and yes, I do know those were for Westminster seats—I do feel a little uneasy about voting for the LibDems because of the Conservative-LibDem alliance in London.
That said, and as Fr Kelvin pointed out in a blog post today, I should be voting on policies not personalities or to ‘punish’ Nick Clegg for a decision with which I disagree.
So I turned to Scottish Vote Compass to see what it could discern about me. And surprisingly it just about got it right:
Scottish Liberal Democrats
Scottish National Party
That’s a pretty close result with the top three there: 23%, 22% and 20%, which I guess is why I am in favour of the Alternative Vote system.
Someone at church yesterday morning asked for my opinion on the General Election. “I’m not referring to it as a General Election,” I said. “I’m calling it a Non-specific Election!”
I remember the enormous excitement of Labour coming to power in 1997, having brought the Conservative Party’s 18 years of government to an end. I was living in London at the time, and I remember walking to work the following morning, the sky was blue, the sun was shining and it felt like a brave new world. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning.
Last Friday, on the morning after this most recent election, I also felt like a kid on Christmas morning. Except this time someone had removed the labels from all of the presents and nobody knew what they were getting!
It’s an exciting time in British politics. I’m not surprised that parliament in hung, although to be honest following the recent MPs’ expenses scandal I’m a little surprised that it didn’t end up as a hanged parliament!
That no party has an overall majority seems to me to be in keeping with a fragility in our confidence in politicians at the moment. What was it, 65% of the British population turned out to vote? Presumably the other 35% were still queuing in the rain at 22:00 when the polls closed. Or perhaps they’d just given up hope in politics altogether.
But to my mind what doesn’t seem fair is that while Labour received 29% of the vote and won 258 seats, the Liberal Democrats received 23% of the vote and won only 57 seats. It would appear that that extra 6% of the vote somehow translates to 201 seats. How does that work, then? Maybe we do need political reform after all.