Me and my vote: Fay Weldon and Will Self

Authors Fay Weldon and Will Self think politics has become boring - boring enough to stop them voting?

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill
chief political writer

Topics Politics

Fay Weldon: ‘Politicians should be heard and not seen’

‘The trouble with this government is that they want what’s good for the party, not what’s good for the country.’

Fay Weldon, a bestselling author across the globe, has traditionally voted Labour – but this time she’s in ‘a total tizz’.

‘Will I switch to Tory? Well if I did it would come as a great shock, not least to myself. But I simply don’t know what will happen – something like that would just be a negative vote, a negative vote against what the current government has done.

‘Under New Labour, we have lost lots of civil liberties. There has been over-interference by the government in nearly all areas of life.

‘We’ve had too much spin and not nearly enough substance. There is a huge gap between language and reality, with the government presenting itself in one way and acting in other. You end up completely dizzy and doubting everything you hear.

‘Politicians like Blair spend too much time honing their public personas – they’re like girls dressing up to impress the boys. But I’m not impressed. I know it’s dreadfully boring but I would just like to see them do some politics, if they haven’t forgotten what politics is. You see, politicians should be heard and not seen.

‘If only they spent less time spinning, and more time realising what’s important – and what’s not important.

‘I have no faith in the parties and I don’t know who I’m voting for. But I do know one thing: the country is better than its government. We may well have the government we deserve, but we’re better than it.’

Will Self: ‘Blair’s speeches are like an anaesthetic’

‘We are living through an exceptionally machined and uncontentious period in politics. There is no questioning of anything.’

Will Self, the deadpan author whose heroin habit got him chucked off John Major’s aeroplane during the last UK election campaign, is not looking forward to this year’s election.

‘We live in an electoral dictatorship. We have a deeply demographically gerrymandered electoral system in which your vote doesn’t count in so many ways. But it doesn’t really bother me.

‘I was never pro-Blair or pro-New Labour. I was very much an early whistleblower on Blair. I’m quite proud of the fact that he featured as a villain in the last of my series on villains for the Independent just after he became Labour leader. I beat a lot of people to that.

‘I was always quite disturbed by Blair. As a writer and someone interested in language, I was particularly disturbed. Some of Blair’s speeches would be suitable as anaesthetic for a major neurological operation.

‘I have traditionally voted Labour. But this time I’ll vote Green. I know votes don’t count for a great deal, yes, but I’m confident that we’ll have some system of proportional representation in the future which will give the individual vote greater weight, so one may as well start voting as one intends to vote in the future.

‘In the meantime, let’s hope a politician somewhere says something interesting or contrary. But I won’t hold my breath.’

Brendan O’Neill is coordinating the spiked-conference Panic attack: Interrogating our obsession with risk, on Friday 9 May 2003, at the Royal Institution in London.

Read on:

Me and my vote, by Brendan O’Neill

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Topics Politics


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