I have, of course, just one request this morning. It is that you please vote.
More especially it is that you please vote Anything But Conservative.
In many cases that will mean voting for your party of first preference.
But it can also mean holding one’s nose and voting for the party most likely to beat the Tories in a whole range of marginal sears. So please check the tactical voting websites. I have, although I suspect my seat is no longer marginal and it is one of the very rare cases where advice on tactical voting cannot be given because it’s simply not clear. In that case I am voting for the party who came second last time, and that's Labour. But, and I am quite happy to admit it, in the right place I can imagine voting for the Labour, Green, SNP, Plaid Cymru, Alliance, SDLP and LibDem (if I had to) parties today. I wish the parties would themselves realise that.
And there is good reason for me feeling like this. I am genuinely fearful today. I do not mean I am nervous with anticipation. I have done that with regard to election results since 1970, which was the first I campaigned in in some way (for Labour, because I was committed to comprehensive education despite, or because of, being at a grammar school). Instead, I mean I am fearful. It actually woke me last night, and I am blessed with an ability to sleep in almost any situation.
I have already described much of my reason for that fear. The Conservative Party standing for election today is nothing like that I have known for nearly fifty years. It is not about one nation. It is not conservative. It is not committed to democracy. Or the rule of law. Or good order. And the concept of justice is wholly alien to it. As are the most basic ideas of civility, ethics, honesty and simple good manners.
Instead this is a fascist party. It is willing to discuss civil unrest as a threat if Brexit is not delivered. And it is willing, as its shallow manifesto makes all too clear, to throw away constitutional checks and balances. And it is more than willing to be racist - casting people who have been our neighbours, who have been living, working and contributing in our communities as well as being our friends and in many cases our families - as the ‘other’ to be vilified to suit their own goal.
And what is that goal? Power, for a few. The few are mainly financial speculators. And power is to be used to increase their worth. That is what this is about. The only variation the modern Tory party offers to conventional fascism, which promotes the corporate state, is that it now promotes the rentier financial state. But the difference simply reflects the change in the dominant form of capitalism, and the rest of the ideology remains intact.
And I am genuinely fearful of this form of fascism.
For free speech. This is clearly threatened. Just look at the targeting of broadcasters.
For the future I’d democracy, which I suspect will be profoundly corrupted if the Tories win (watch fir 200 new peers and boundary changes in very short order, with more to follow).
Expect restrictions on unions too.
And then there will be the racist measures.
And the denial of freedoms at work.
And the blind-eye being turned to actual violence that will start in action against the likes of Extinctuon Rebelluon, but then spread rapidly.
Deportation as a punishment will become commonplace.
And the attacks on public services and those who work in them will grow. The argument will be they are failing so they must go.
And there will be indifference to poverty, and inequality, which is seen as necessary.
Fear too for our defenceless planet. Just when it needs us most there will be utter indifference.
I wish I felt I was over stating my case. My fear is I remain too much an optimist. It could be much worse than this.
In fact, very much worse than this.
So please vote.
It has never mattered more. We have to stop this fascist takeover. Or it will consume us for years to come.