Bensoir! It's me, Benjamin. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You may have read stuff I've written elsewhere, but here on my own blog as Ben Viveur I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others, so pretty much anything goes.

BV is about enjoying real food and drink in the real world. I showcase recipes that taste awesome, but which can be created by mere mortals without the need for tons of specialist equipment and a doctorate in food science. And as a critic I tend to review relaxed establishments that you might visit on a whim without having to sell your first-born, rather than hugely expensive restaurants and style bars in the middle of nowhere with a velvet rope barrier, a stringent dress code and a six-month waiting list!

There's plenty of robust opinion, commentary on the world of food and drink, and lots of swearing, so look away now if you're easily offended. Otherwise, tuck your bib in, fill your glass and turbo-charge your tastebuds. We're going for a ride... Ben Appetit!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Election 2019: Maybe go for a pint instead of voting?

Tomorrow's General Election is the first in over 22 years that I won't be personally involved in.

Yep, I'll probably go out to vote, but I haven't been doing any campaigning, apart from possibly the occasional Like or Retweet, and I mean very occasional.

I did attend the Conservatives East Surrey candidate selection meeting a few weeks ago and wish Claire Coutinho all the best tomorrow. But I just can't bring myself to do any more than that.

Many readers will be aware that I'm normally quite politically active, but this campaign has been depressingly, disappointingly, dispiritingly, despairingly dreadful and, while I'm still a party member, the way that politics in this country has shifted as a whole towards Authoritarian and cheap, lazy populism has left me pretty much alienated.

Fuck this shit

I'm sick of hearing the same retarded stock phrases over and over. (No I'm not going to quote them here - we've all had enough already!) I'm sick of seeing the same lame memes and GIFs. I'm sick of everything being presented as fact vs fake without a shred of nuance. I'm sick of reading for the 83rd time about something party leaders said or did decades ago when they had no idea they would ever become party leaders and when it was actually still allowable to express the full spectrum of possible opinions.

Cynicism. Half-truths. Hypocrisy. Gaslighting. False equivalency. Dog whistles. If you thought politics was in the gutter a few years ago, it has dripped like a slimey mess into the sewer below now. No-one comes out of this campaign looking good.

Yes, I hope we'll see a Tory majority, because all the conceivable alternatives are utterly beyond the pale, but I'm far from happy with what the party has become. The slightly less unpalatable option.

I'm unhappy that so many good Conservative parliamentarians I admired are retiring or, more accurately, have been forced out. I'm concerned that forcing unanimity behind a party line on Brexit has forced out free thought in favour of groupthink.

I'm unhappy that the Libertarian wing of the party has been suppressed, at a time when there is literally nowhere else for us to go.

And I'm unhappy that possibly the one opportunity I shall get in my adult life to witness a Tory landslide, or a least a decent sized win, will be corrupted; Pyrrhic at best. 


You'll have heard a lot of people saying things like 'Go out and vote!111one11', 'make your vote count!111democracy11'. This too, is just another of the cynical ploys that passes for 21st century campaigning.

They only want you to vote - and they'll only tell you to do so - if they have calculated that it's a better than average chance you'll vote for their guy. It's not about universally increasing engagement or democratic legitimacy at all, just improving the odds slightly in their favour.

And that's why, my official advice for tomorrow is:

Don't vote. Seriously, don't bother. Go out for some beers or a nice meal instead. Yes, even if you're a Tory voter in a marginal seat. Politics is shit right now. Food and drink are more important.

Good night.

1 comment:

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