Without request I amongst roughly 45,775,800 others have received an early Christmas present. Nothing exciting or tangible even, nor was it really wanted (accept maybe by the most ardent of Brexiteer) but a general election we have been gifted. Why thank you Mr Johnson, I really wanted my final weeks in the UK to be dominated by false promises (on all sides I hasten to add) and endless newsreel of politicians holding babies or walking through factories, however glamorous the washing machine factory in Kettering may be.
I actually joked when I handed my notice in that I was leaving as there was a distinct possibility of an election and that my desire to travel was a direct result of plan to avoid the consequences of Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister. We will have to wait until December 12th to see if I’ve jumped the gun or got in early…
The above being said, I actually find politics incredibly interesting and this election intrigues me even more than usual. Largely because it is being held at a time when the two major parties couldn’t be further apart on most matters and are ran by controversial men who attract both fanatical followers and repel even the most loyal moderate in their respective wings. Mix in the two “wild card” parties, the Liberal Democrat’s led by Jo Swinson (who are at one end of the spectrum and advocating revoking Brexit entirely) and the Brexit Party led by British politics’ favourite lager lout Nigel Farage (who would like us to crash out of the EU with no deal) and you’ve got quite the melting pot.
Brexit is the spectre within which this election was called and will largely be fought, well certainly if Boris has his way, but it is not the only major issue of the day. I can’t help feeling this election would be a lot more positive if we were focusing on coming together to help tackle the climate crisis rather than arguing about leave, revoke or remain. I’ve actually been away for a large part of the early campaign stages (a blog on my extremely cultural… long weekends in Bucharest and Sofia to follow) but have been trying to keep abreast of the key issues and campaign promises. I’m even sad enough to have recorded and watched the first Johnson v Corbyn debate and watched it on my one day in the country between the two trips. That, I’m A Celebrity and RuPauls Drag Race UK were absolutely essential viewing. If you haven’t watched RuPauls Drag Race (I hadn’t until it landed on iPlayer and I was hungover and had nothing to watch) I beg you to. It is both hilarious and heart-warming and I defy anyone to watch the below clip and not find it at least a bit funny.
I digress. Politics is fascinating, the personalities, the policies and the promises. Whatever you believe (and those who know me well will know I do have some fairly strong beliefs) one thing stands out above the rest. Register to vote. I don’t care who for (well I do a bit but the less said about that the better) just register. I adopt the mantra of don’t vote, you can’t complain and for anyone who knows me I love to complain.
So in the spirit of the election I have decided to write my manifesto for travelling. You will all be very relieved that I am not setting out my vision for what life would be like if I was “world king” (to borrow from Boris) but more my personal promises and policies for what I hope to achieve in my time away. So here goes:-
NHS & Health Care
I pledge to avoid exposure to the various comparative health services of the world. As interesting as this research may prove, I think my mother might have kittens if I do, so I will try to avoid it if at all possible.
Prisons & Reform
My policy for prisons is to avoid at all costs. I don’t really fancy a stay at whoever’s pleasure and I don’t quite have the skills nor desire to tattoo my entire body a la Michael Scofield nor could I execute quite such an elaborate prison escape.
Culture, Media & Sport
A wide range of pledges for this department including great investment in extracurricular activities. Most importantly I pledge to blog as much as I can. I have no idea as to the feasibility of this and will not be setting any targets. Taking the lead from Boris’ position on immigration targets I don’t want to get bogged down in having to meet fixed parameters but do pledge to do it as much as possible.
I pledge money will be spent on dangerous activities such as sky dives, bungee jumping and the like. I appreciate this may be in contradiction with my NHS policy but much like Jeremy and Brexit I won’t elaborate on it.
I also promise to immerse myself in the local cuisine and attempt to keep a note of what new things I’ve tried so that I can get Phil to recreate them on my return. Good luck obtaining wallaby in Morrison’s Dad!
Sports – lots. I’d like to go to and partake in as many as possible.
I pledge to return once you’ve sorted it out. Thankfully I’ll be gone before the airports all change and Swinson for PM looks unlikely so I think I am quite safe in this manifesto pledge but ask me again on the 12th.
Taxation & Jobs
It’s said there are two certain things in life, death and taxes. Sorry Sajid, looks like you won’t be getting anything from me for your treasury kitty for a while.
I pledge to undertake research in to the various hostels of Asia and Australasia. I have no doubt that this research will be extensive and full of complaints on my behalf. I suspect you won’t hear the last of this one.
Home & Foreign
A key pillar of my manifesto. I pledge to travel to as many of UAE, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Fiji, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan. I reserve the right to add to this list. I promise not to cause a diplomatic incident in any of the aforementioned countries. Reasons for this are obvious but also mostly because regardless of whom wins the thought of any of Messrs Raab, Patel, Abbott or Thornberry dealing with my future makes me shiver. Although big props to Diane for drinking a G&T on tube, a woman after my own heart and that picture almost made me forget about her seeming inability to add up.
A vote for me is, well frankly a wasted vote, so don’t. The biggest date in British politics might be Thursday 12th December 2019 but in my life its January 8th 2020 when the adventure begins.
Songs Sound Tracking My Life Right Now
Frank Ocean – In My Room
Col3trane – Problems In Us (Yes still, because it is a bop)
Stormzy (feat. Ed Sheeran & Burna Boy) – Own It (The new album coming out in December cannot come soon enough)
What I Am Reading Right Now
Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken by The Secret Barrister – Still…
Things I’m Netflixing or Watching
The Crown – Season 3
RuPauls Drag Race UK
I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here