138: It's not the despair, it's the hope.


No books out this week, but some things to say. Swiftly, as I have to meet someone in – oooh – half an hour.



I was out with an activist journalist friend of mine last night. She’s been out canvassing for Labour over the UK. She’s actually optimistic. I’m less so, but that’s me. As Clockwise once put it, It’s not the despair, it’s the hope.

To speak broadly, this is an election with a lot riding on it. I’d say more than has been painfully obvious.

I have spent a lot of the decade thinking about the nature of democracy and the Internet age, and what is possible and what makes things impossible. To speak broadly, there are so many bad actors, concentrated power and concentrated power in bad actors that I’m unsure how it can continue as an exercise as it is. Democracy works on the idea that you can educate a population and provide them with sufficient information to make an educated decision. I think it’s clear this is being undermined.

This is where the cynical truisms will come back to haunt us. Dismissing all politicians as liars means that those who seem actively allergic to truth are free to act freely, viewed as no different to anyone else.

The Tory party has collapsed into an absolute moral black hole, at every level. One of the worst thing about watching old documentaries about the 80s was being struck by how the politicians I despised at least believed in something. The Tory party at the moment doesn’t. I believe the people funding it believe in things (mostly profit) but I don’t believe the politicians do.

I don’t believe Johnson believes in anything other than he should be Prime Minister. I believe the only actions he will take will be to maintain that position. That’s all he’s done.

That he’s a liar seems a small thing, and to list the compounded deceit would turn this small newsletter into a huge one. I cannot believe some of the things which have been just accepted. The Conservative Party are the party of the status quo, and he’s been found in court to have deceived the fucking queen. He does that to the queen, what the fuck do you think he’s going to do with five more years?

I’m unsure he will get Brexit done. He will certainly get you done.

To return to the thesis: the election is important as I’m unsure that any future government will be able to change how democracy works? When all the present conservative tactics are to abuse this system, why would they do any of the necessary work? Johnson will only be in power because of the current system.

There’s other reasons to run away from them and do anything to stop them having another years to erode this country’s existence. If you want, you could question whether 130,000 people dead from austerity if you want, but whatever figure you end up on, it is still a figure. Do not vote for more corpses. Do not vote for tax-paying people who’ve lived here for years being made afraid of treating a country like their home. Do not vote for a country that is visibly more cruel on every street corner.

Of course, purely negative campaigning is not great. I am aware I am likely preaching to the choir. It’s not enough to simply hate the Tories… but it’s not a bad start, right?

What to do: you know my politics. I would vote tactically – especially in Scotland, but look at where you are and make choices in the area. I would look at the Labour Manifesto, and think about how transformative this could be. If you don’t agree, question why you think it’s unrealistic. It’s more realistic that what Johnson has promised, and you can google how each has been costed. Why do you think it’s unrealistic? Because we have been sung this this song so long that we believe it, and think hope is impossible.

That’s the thing. They don’t want to hope. They’re afraid for you to hope. And it’s understandable – we hope, they lose.

I write this in hope and I hope the next time I write to you, it’s in a better country



Been writing comics and things which are not comics. More next week, when Once & Future 6 will appearing in fine comic shops.

Kieron Gillen