If you’ve clicked through expecting to read insightful political comment written with searing clarity, clearly this is your first time here. Nothing quite says political expert like a second class honours degree from not Oxbridge. Truly you are privileged to engage with such a colossus.
Alas, I am writing this on polling day so I have no idea who has won. Either your party of choice has formed a government or they haven’t. Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn is Prime Minister and your party either formed a government, performed better or worse than expected, saw huge gains, losses or barely registered an impact and are now implementing their policies, fighting in opposition or trying to influence the conversation favourably in line with their own policies. You are either demob happy or utterly demoralised about the whole thing and are now joyfully celebrating or in the depths of despair. This, dear friends, is political analysis at its finest.
As you all almost certainly know (unless you belong to the aforementioned group of unfortunates expecting perceptive political comment), I voted Labour. Were I unaffiliated, I could have been persuaded to vote Green but, truth be told, their green credentials are the thing that mainly puts me off. Not that I’m against the environment at all, I mean, I like breathing but I also think such concerns rarely take account of the poor and expect them to take on huge burdens that they simply cannot bear. I sense there is a balance on the matter which they have yet to convince me they have found. I presume I’m allowed to say all this out loud now, even as a church leader, because my meagre – dare I say, laughably small and thus de facto non-existent – influence can affect the outcome of this election no more.
In the interest of full disclosure, one of my members stated on Facebook that they voted Labour. I do hope they weren’t unduly swayed by my colossal intellect and unassailable arguments. I’m sure all the Tory and UKIP voters in the congregation will not be able to look me in the eye on Sunday as I administer the sacraments. We are, indeed, all one in Christ Jesus (unless you voted wrongly in which case you have committed the unforgivable sin). Free thought is clearly the product of too much time on your hands, and we all know how the Devil likes to make work for those! Amen?
No doubt you’re thinking Oldham has no Tory voters. We may be poor but we’ve still got aspirations. We almost got an M&S and the Nandos lends an air of class which you simply don’t get at KFC. With Brexit pressing ahead under Theresa May, our small but vociferous brood of UKIP voters have to go somewhere. Perhaps with the anti-semitism emanating from certain quarters of the Labour Party they might return to their former home. But the Conservatives still offer, on the fringes of their party, that old fashioned brand of racism that Labour simply doesn’t offer. Not that I think all kippers are racist, I really don’t, but it is no coincidence that the BNP – who traditionally did very well in Oldham West & Royton – disintegrated locally as UKIP’s influence grew. It does seem some erstwhile BNP voters didn’t see enough fresh air between the two to trouble them.
What of the Liberals, I hear none of you cry. OK, some of you… probably from that Manchester or – if I can say it without getting a nose bleed – London. Not renowned for their popularity among the working class, and rather having besmirched whatever good will they might have engendered among some by jumping into bed with the hated Tories, the Lib Dem’s anti-Brexit stand in one of the hardest Brexit-voting areas of the country was always unlikely to play well. Maybe our particularly large Muslim contingent thought, ‘y’know what, I really think an Evangelical Christian who is doing all he can to avoid appearing to hold the beliefs he subscribes to is the guy for me’. Whatever Oldham is, liberal is not the first word that springs to mind. Even the 45% of pro-EU voters the liberals courted did little to save them nationally (yes, that is a confident prediction I’m prepared to make), given those people also subscribe to the democrat element the liberals appear to have forgotten about (I’ll recant if, by the time you’re reading this, the Lib Dems are the official opposition… yeah, I know).
Anyway, whatever I have awoken to this morning, I think we can all agree that the thought of either Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary or Diane Abbott as Home Secretary is a troubling prospect regardless of how you voted. At least, Abbott was a concern until she was taken ill (so I am choosing to believe) and replaced by someone none of us have heard of. And I think we all feel much better welcoming our Socialist overlords/opposition [delete per the result] knowing that the Home Secretary is someone we all had to google. It means Jeremy Corbyn is unlikely to ever send her out in his place so he can avoid a debate.
Viva la revolución.