The Brexit soap opera has broken my lifelong love-affair with politics

It won’t come as a surprise to anybody who has met me, or read this column on at least one occasion, to learn that I was an unusual child.

Monday, 15th April 2019, 7:59 am
Updated Monday, 15th April 2019, 8:17 am
British Prime Minister Theresa May is depicted with a Pinocchio nose reading 'Brexit' piercing a representative of the British economy on a carnival float at the Rose Monday carnival street parade in Duesseldorf, western Germany, on March 4, 2019. Photo credit INA FASSBENDER/AFP/Getty Images

I think eccentric is the word most long standing pals and family members would use as I wasn’t the average kid. Yes, I collected football stickers, recorded the weekly top 40 countdown directly from the radio and held an inordinate number of schoolboy crushes - all of which were, naturally, unrequited - but I was also a bit of a nerd.

As well as being able to name the grounds of all 92 professional English football clubs I was also, from a young age, obsessed with politics.

Maybe it was the discussions around the kitchen table or possibly Sunday nights spent watching Spitting Image, the daddy of satirical television programmes, but whatever the reason, I was hooked early on.

That obsession has endured the last throes of Thatcherism, the grey days of Major, Blair mania, the grim Brown years and the unlikely love-in that was Cameron and Clegg. During that time I have soaked up most scandals, crises and major party conference keynote speeches like they were a Coronation Street love triangle plot.

Since I was old enough I have also exercised my democratic right to vote in every election and I have done it enthusiastically, going out of my way to put my cross next to the name of the local candidate who has impressed me the most, rather than doggedly voting along party lines.

This year, however, I find myself in a quandary because, as much as I cherish the fact I have a right to a vote, I am genuinely not sure whether I will be able to make the effort to get to the polling station this year.

This year could see us go to the polls three times as, along with Town Hall elections next month, there is still a very real possibility that we will be asked to cast a vote for a European representative and nobody can rule out a General Election happening between now and Christmas.

Any self respecting political junkie should be positively giddy at the prospect of a trio of elections but not this one as my enthusiasm for the ritual of exercising democracy has been eaten away by the current tragicomedy which is being played out on a daily basis in Westminster and Brussels.

Although Brexit is largely the reason our political turmoil is major news the world over, my disillusionment with the system goes way beyond our bungled efforts to leave the European Union. And I speak as a Remainer.

What we have witnessed in recent months is a full scale malfunction of our once respected democratic process with the main protagonists forgetting what their core purpose is - to serve the people. For a significant number of our elected representatives the party, regardless of its colour, has become more important than the country.

There was a time when I would shout from the rooftops about the importance of everybody exercising their right to vote but I can’t do that. Maybe when election day comes I may feel differently about it all but the shenanigans of many of our national politicians over the past couple of years has made this nerd fall out of love with politics.