Once every five years – or, apparently, "whenever the government feels like it" – we're treated to a jamboree of sketchy promises, stump speeches in empty out-of-town warehouses and rosette-wearing nerds knocking on your door attempting to make some sort of connection. It falls to political journalists to whip the public into a frenzy, or at least make the people give a shit.
Who will the people choose? It's up to you!
The purveyors of this staggeringly unimaginative political discourse invite you to indulge in the fantasy that on the 8th of June you'll be well and truly in the driving seat. Then, come the 9th, it's back to being a passenger: shut up, sit down, tweet about Question Time if you like.
Having repeatedly lied about whether it would even happen, Theresa May has at least been honest enough not to pretend that this election is anything other than a piece of manoeuvring. With a recession on the way and a doomed Brexit in the post, she wants a mandate to ignore any opposition (including her own Tory awkward squad) – and you are going to give it to her, thanks. The depressing mood music soundtracking the whole thing is a Brexit that seems determined to drown out all meaning, simply there to provide a stupid reason for every bad thing.
This charisma free conversation has been called by someone who seems to hate disagreement. "At this moment of enormous national significance there should be unity here in Westminster, but instead there is division," she said in her kick-off speech. Luckily, we have the Daily Mail on hand to erase any doubt about what she meant: "CRUSH THE SABOTEURS". Democracy – do I love it? Just a bloody bit!
In a prediction that feels self-fulfilling, pollsters are calling the result already: a Conservative victory is "a foregone conclusion". Talk of tactical voting seems unlikely to stave off the inevitable. Is this our lives now? Rubber-stamping our own demise as often as we're told to?
In a cruel irony, this toxic election seems to offer at least the appearance of an actual choice for once. Jeremy Corbyn's first campaign speech set out the "clear dividing lines" of the campaign. And to see a Labour leader saying big business should be "worried" suggests something other than the battle between ideologically anaemic neo-liberal tinkermen we've become used to. The Conservatives, he said, are "drunk on a failed ideology". Labour's radical break is accompanied by promises of an army of new police officers prowling the streets and and end to over free movement of people within the EU.
The Conservatives are cruising, but fragile change is apparently in sight. To help us understand this we've got a media menu that reeks of haughty establishment dismissal cloaked in superficial combativeness, seasoned with a kind of hopey-changey, head-in-the-sand bullshit that tries to browbeat you into feeling empowered.
At VICE we're not treating this election as a six-week special period – a desperate all-you-can-stomach democracy buffet that's about to slam shut for the foreseeable future. As you'd expect, we'll be on the streets, drawing our own electoral map that focuses on the front line of a country that's becoming a basket case for many, rather than on narrow percentage points in a basket case democracy. The context of the last few years shows us that this is just another act in a slow slide into dread. We need to arrest that and turn it around – the world doesn't right itself in six weeks, but nor can hope die in that time.
Our future is unravelling at a panic-inducing pace and everything feels pretty fucked. Until the 8th of June we'll be trying to understand and deal with that – and hey, trying to have a bit of a laugh with it, because why not? ;-)
But importantly, when you wake up on the 9th to a living room full of takeaway packets, dead tinnies and rolling news reports about how the next few years of your life are looking, whatever the result, we're not going to shut up and sit back down.
Dive into Oh, Snap! VICE's coverage of the 2017 General Election:
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Top image: Photo of Theresa May by Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/PA Images, Protester by Oscar Webb, Jeremy Corbyn by Jane Barlow/PA Wire/PA Images, Tim Farron by Danny Lawson/PA Wire/PA Images