Fri. Jul 12th, 2024
The carved disc of Enheduanna

The Rise of the Nasty Party: How A “Beautiful Partnership” Turns Abusive.

An election is a sort of arranged marriage. Actually, I don’t want to disrespect genuine arranged marriages here, so maybe a better analogy would be a Tinder date that you accidentally end up on because you swiped right, they swiped right, it was a MATCH, and you fell for the cheesiest line of the cheesiest Pick Up Artist on the planet. You agreed to meet . . .

 . . . and when you did, they were sharp. (Yes, I’m using gender neutral pronouns. It’s easier.) Dressed to impress, flashed the cash, smooth talking, plausible, persuasive. Looked successful, had an air of being well off, a boyish – or girlish – neutral – depending on your persuasion – charm. That person you swiped left on, the one with the scruffy beard, the bald spot, the chewed nails, the bad breath (of any gender, any of them, let’s face it) aren’t you glad you’re not with them this evening? Look at the suavity of your right-swiped date, their effortless charm, their air of breeding! Why, you have risen in the world merely by associating with them! Surely this is a match made in heaven: your very own happily ever after . . .

And then you talk, over your date. They flatter you a little. Court you. Draw out your opinions, subtly encourage you to tell them your heart’s desire. (“I’m not racist but . . .” “Well, this Critical Race Theory, it’s gone a bit too far, hasn’t it?” “Of course, it’s much better to be with someone of your own kind.” “I’m not homophobic / a transphobe, but . . .) They sound the depth of your character. They assure you that you are understood, cherished, worthwhile, beloved. They promise you resolution, restitution – even revolution, if that is what you desire: out with the old, in with the new, and it will all be for the best for both of you in the best of all possible brave new worlds. (That hath SUCH people in it.)

Like C. S. Lewis’s senior Devil, Screwtape, they whittle away at your insecurities, undermine your conscience by pandering to your worse self – and, oh, we all have a worse self, don’t we? I’m sure even saints and martyrs have a worse self: “It’s so not fair that I was only broken on a wheel (St Catherine): SHE miraculously grew hair to cover her nakedness, AND the guy who tried to rape her dropped dead, AND the fire wouldn’t burn her, AND she had to be stabbed in the throat. (St Agnes.) See? Not fair?” – and then, when your worst self is sitting up and begging like a starving dog, they offer you the paper – the ineluctable deed that sells your soul –  hand you the pen and you sign. Of course you do. Who wouldn’t? It is all made so easy for you: soothed, vindicated, validated, you understand that you are not such a bad person after all for wanting to let immigrants drown at sea, for wishing death on young footballers who miss a penalty, for passing by the homeless and hungry, whatever side of the world they are on. You are not a nasty person, they assure you. You are fiscally prudent. Sensible. Pragmatic. Patriotic– or whatever other words they use to grease your slippery soul into their spiked grip.

But I digress, although the Deities bear witness to the inescapable fact that if one didn’t digress from time to time when writing these chronicles of political woe, it would be a poor and weary life. In any case, to cut a long story short, before you know where you are, beguiled, flattered, cheated, cozened, brought to it by lies, misinformation, specious charm and tendentious oratory, but brought to it, let us not forget, let us never forget, fully consenting, because they have promised that they can give you what you secretly, desperately, want – to be top dog, to be rich, to have power, to see the aliens depart, to see your enemy, whoever they may be, defeated –  you have handfasted yourself to your wretched rightwards swipe for an indefinite period . . . let us say five years, at least, and with no hope of reprieve.

But when they have you, safe in the toils, that is when the mask slips, and you begin to see them for the brute, the cheat, the liar and the abuser that they are. You were only useful to them until they had you trapped. They never valued you, never really wanted you, never respected you. You were a means to their end: their end was to achieve power – and to strip you of yours.

You were promised fair dealing. They do not know the meaning of the word “fair dealing.”

You were promised wealth. There is wealth abounding, but not for you. Never for you. Instead your substance is stripped to feed their friends.

You were promised honour. There is no honour in them. They have, to paraphrase the General Confession in the Book of Common Prayer, “done those things they ought not to have done and left undone those things they ought to have done, and there is no health in them.” (There is certainly no health in them. Tertiary syphilis is clean compared to their filth.)

There is no kindness in them, no compassion, no honour and no mercy. Motivated solely by greed, narcissism and self-interest, they lie, cheat, gaslight and abuse you at every turn.

They made you a promise? You were lesser in status, and so it was not binding: they will not keep it.

They offered you wealth? It was faerie gold: its coin had dwindled by the morning, dead leaves on the wind.

They vowed to keep you safe? They will rack your bones with plague, bemuse your mind with falsehood and break your spirit with poverty, and they will take every penny of the substance that remains to you if you want to be healed of the ills they have brought upon you.

You look for help? To whom will you turn? They have isolated you from your friends, who stood by you, who helped you, cared for you, welcomed you and nurtured you: isolated you because, if there is no one whom you believe stands with you, it is all the easier for them in the end, not only to break you to their wheel and turn you into their object, their plaything, their tool and their weapon, but, if you have yet the spirit to rebel, to crush you, and leave you with nothing – and nowhere to go.

And that, my friends, is because you swiped right on your Tinder date with Destiny, and ended up with the Nazi party. Oh, forgive me. Did I say Nazi? I meant “nasty”: that’s what the Tories are called isn’t it? The Nasty Party.

(But do not despair, because we WILL overcome.)

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