3 April 2015

Dear Westminster (part one)

Seven dwarves, seven kingdoms, seven Harry Potter books - seven happens to be my lucky number, too. The debate thus had a certain serendipity to it. Perhaps that's the real reason poor Northern Ireland wasn't given a golden ticket. I can't really thing of a more logical one. 

I, for one, was excited for the debate last night. This was a solitary view in my household. My sister wants to scream at them all, a stance my dad shares. Mum is similarly disillusioned and Millie… well just as long as the Greens don't get in and raise the price of poultry, she's happy as Larry. Then there is me, trying to maintain the level of optimism a first-time voter should. This open-minded approach has seen me, at various points, reason with Cameron, Clegg, Miliband and Farage. Yes, I went there… Farage Miliband.

Photo credit: ITV

This will be an opportune moment to state, from the outset, that my views are my own and do not reflect the impartial stance of Exeposé - as Features Editor I will always remain neutral. Nonetheless, my personal views stand on a rebelliously un-green Exeter hill. 

I watched, I listened, I responded - though Not quite in the way I expected. There were surprises and agreements. There were also disappointments and contentions. I debated with presenting my response as satire, but then another idea came to me. 

I might not have the credentials to grant me a real audience with the sacred seven - I'm no Joey Essex - but I can write. Without further ado, here is my open letter to Westminster.

*The impending Game of Thrones references stem from a brilliant Independent article

Dear Natalie Bennett

I am writing my first letter to you as, to be completely truthful, I was worried I might forget otherwise. You spoke at Exeter, and came across as quite the 'it' girl. Then again, your forum was one where there are more trees than people, so perhaps the accolades were not surprising. 

Here, however, you became quite lost. I had high hopes you would be the leading voice for minority parties, but the female with a capital N last night wasn't Green. 

Quantitative (tr)easing
The issue I have, Natalie, which I elaborated on in my Exeposé piece The Green Light Sees Red, is quite simple. The Greens are a case in point for untested idealism. The beauty of being without a bench to hold your views accountable. 

In a perfect world, spending would rise, public services would be efficient and jobs would be created. Food banks wouldn't exist, because they wouldn't be needed. Isn't this what we all want? Isn't this what Labour and Lib Dems, the more socialist parties, would also want? Yes. So why don't they hold the same views as you? They cannot follow through. 

The truth is Natalie, as wonderful as trees are, they do not grow money. Maybe you've spent too much time on The Sims, as preparation. A world where cheat codes exist and walls can be removed with a swipe of a mouse.  A utopia. Your call for a "stable world", coming together and promoting a fairer society, is that. A utopian dream. It is commendable, as I acknowledged in my Exeposé article, but it remains an ideal. 

With these views, however, you should be able to garner support. As it is, your left hand was outplayed, and this has shown in the post-debate polls. No doubt you will be somewhat green with envy today.

Ps: This envy is likely not just towards Sturgeon. Leanne the-home-of-trees performed pretty well too. 

Dear Leanne Wood

Dear Leanne. My adopted daughter is from the valleys too, so you would have her vote. Sadly she lacks the opposable thumbs by which to do so. To some extent, though, you got mine too. Yes, you were the complete underdog. Yes, some people derided your presence there. However, I think the post-debate articles have overlooked you slightly, quite in the same way people of Westeros dismissed the other Mother of Dragons. I wouldn't go as far as to hail you the next Denearys, but you did present yourself as a compassionate and protective voice for Wales.  

Squint and this could be Wales

You want to break the chains on the NHS, and I agree with your argument. Wales has had a hard deal, in comparison to the Kingdom beyond (Hadrian's) wall. A couple of years ago the waiting list for Insulin Pump therapy for Welsh Children made headline news, while the Mental Health services are possibly in more dire straits than England. I know of people, through blogging, whose only choice for treatment would require relocation to England. It is not right and you, Leanne, stood your ground. 

You came into the debate with no expectation, and exceeded them. In my eyes you outshone Natalie (right down to your surname) and possibly Ed, too. You came there to speak for Wales, and you did that. I hope Plaid Cymru does get some seats, especially given the prospective rise in SNP MPs. You were not pushing for independence, but fairness. Challenging Ed - "do you accept you have failed the people in Wales?" - was the cherry on top. Thank-you. 

Ps: Quentin Letts is a fascist bully, ignore him. Sing from the Valleys as much as you want to. 

Dear Nicola Sturgeon 

Credit to you, it was a winning performance. Probably because it wasn't a performance. In terms of conviction in your views, I would say you were second only to Nigel.  If I were Scottish, I would likely vote for you. After all, that is what you were there to do. Leanne may be the mother of Dragons, but you are Queen of the North. You did what you set out to do, and with impeccable style. 

I'm not sure how true this is. If anything, the SNP could be Labour's barrier to Downing Street.

You were one of the strongest orators, you held your ground against the old-boys of Westminster, and you had a nice rapport with Leanne. You outshone Natalie, you objected to Nigel. You held the left and reduced Miliband to a bean. I agree with you on some points. Trident, for one. NHS you have the right idea. Tuition fees… well I do take issue with free fees in scotland, solely for Scottish students. What is United there? 

On balance though, Nicola, you nailed it. The polls love you; YouGov put you top with 28%… and that is what worries me. People are so enamoured by you - "I agree with Nic… ola" (poor Cleggers) - that they seem to be forgetting the SNP's primary mandate. Independence. You don't just want devolution, you want independence.  

Nigel may want to leave Europe. You want to leave English. So before the politics of the person completely enchants English voters, remember the politics of the party. SNP. Independence. On the other hand, if more SNP seats stops a Labour majority, then perhaps I too will agree with you Nicola. 

Ps: I don't know if you saw Question Time last night, but I wouldn't be inviting Michael Gove round for tea anytime soon. 


One concluding note - these letters are addressed to Party Leaders. Not three women, three Party Leaders. This debate was not about the triumph of one gender or another, as many of the national papers are making out. It was never the battle of the sexes, only the standpoints of the seven people standing on stage. 

The remaining letters will be posted tomorrow; I reasoned these ones had further to travel. Yet while I am sure the mailman can find Wales and Scotland, the location of Idealand might be more obtuse. Let us just hope he has some sensitivity, and doesn't burn too many carbon emissions trying to find it. 

1 comment

  1. Although I acknowledge that the debate wasn't a battle of the sexes, I do think it's important to acknowledge that women's weight in politics was portrayed really positively through the three excellent women on that stage. I am most definitely looking for an outsider to back in this election and, although I love the Greens' principles, I am also worried that they can't hope to achieve everything they want to do. You got it spot on! I'm more confused than ever haha.


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