Whats going to happen next? Who knows. The world waits with baited breath to see how things will pan out in the Trump versus Clinton saga.
Not so long ago it was Brexit. Will they, won’t they? Then when they did, we were all shocked. We are still shocked.
When it comes to the big stuff, stuff that is going to impact on all of us, we feel a need to predict outcomes. Uncertainty makes us uncomfortable.
In the past, it was customary to follow political parties in the way you might follow a religion. Party allegiance was central to who you were. Frequently we followed the same parties our parents and grandparents followed. EASY PEASY.
It’s not so easy now. Somewhere along the path to shiny modernity, the cord has raveled, the anchor chain slipped. A lot of us are now adrift on a sea of uncertainty.
Maybe the political arena is too vast, too confusing? Maybe we have lost faith in leadership? Maybe we never bought into it in the first place?
For whatever reason, when it comes to exercising our democratic rights, many of us fall into that big camp of unpredictables known as ‘floating voters.’
And the floating voter is a very slippery goldfish. How s/he will vote is the subject of much speculation.
So the POLSTERS enter the fray- armed with statistical software and social science in an attempt to gauge the pulse of the people- see into their heads.
At best the polls offers some sense of normalcy, some degree of predictability but never certainty. Despite the best statistical software, they don’t always get it right.
Having always favoured shades of grey to black and white, I completely get indecision. I also have to stick my hand up and say that compared to my parents, I am a current affairs dunce, a disaster zone. A lot of it bores me silly.
But, hey- when it comes to something as concrete as our futures and those of our children, it seems to me that there is a responsibility to take a stance; to decide which side of the fence we stand on.
FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED!
We need to do something to prevent lunatics and nutters ruling the proverbial roost.
And so, a heartfelt message to potential floaters and slippery fish- Go on. Inform yourself, read the papers, watch those boring current affairs programmes, make up your mind. Don’t be swayed by last minute hype. At the very least, ask your mother!
But enough of heartfelt pleas. Let’s digress.
It was with some surprise that I learned the phenomenon of political last minute-ism- is not altogether new.
Take Merry Olde England back in 1485-Richard III is happily ruling the country when along comes Henry Tudor (all the way from France) to challenge his title.
Richard is not overly bothered as he knows his army is far superior to Henry’s. He has also been promised more men in arms, from his nobles, should he need them.
In the ensuing battle Henry wins. Why? Largely, I would say because of ‘last minute-ism.’
Some of Richard’s most powerful nobles (who really deserved to be knocked off the christmas card list) held back, gauged which way the wind was blowing- then threw in their lot with Henry, who appeared to be winning. With the help of their private armies, he did win.
And so the Battle of Bosworth began early in the morning of the 22 August 1485 and was over by noon. In those few hours the Plantagenet dynasty was defeated, leaving Britain poised to enter a new era under the House of Tudor.
Momentous, ground breaking stuff.
The point I am making is that neither soothsayer, necromancer nor opinion poll analyst could have predicted that one.
Then, as now, it seems that in the domain of politics, the only certainty is UNCERTAINTY.