So we have had an election, and many of us are dismayed at the result: a minority of voters (approximately 37% of a turnout of approximately 66%, i.e. roughly one quarter of the electorate) giving enough power to one party to form a government, to continue to pursue policies we voted against. ‘To finish the job they started’ some supporters say. That is, to impose more austerity on those already most deprived groups; to pursue ‘growth’ at all costs, to subsidise the fossil fuel industry, the frackers and co; to continue their attack on the NHS, enabling more privatisation and empowering corporations with instruments like the TTIP; to ‘crack down on extremism’ and seek to repeal the Human Rights Act….
In a really equal democracy, every or any section would be represented, not disproportionately, but proportionately. A majority of the electors would always have a majority of the representatives, but a minority of the electors would always have a minority of the representatives. Man for man, they would be as fully represented as the majority. Unless they are, there is not equal government … there is a part whose fair and equal share of influence in the representation is withheld from them, contrary to all just government, but, above all, contrary to the principle of democracy, which professes equality as its very root and foundation.
How far away from this ideal we are, when there is not even a correspondence between the majority of electors and the majority of representatives.
I should have been weeding not drawing I suppose, but they say the bees like dandelions and it’ll be cold tonight so they need the fuel. The sparrows were not so pleased though – they rushed back onto the birdfeeder when I came in and argued with each other over the seeds.
There was a life drawing day last Saturday – the long pose was set up by a member of the group who loves colour and it was inspired by Matisse apparently – lots of brightly coloured drapery and foliage around the model. Not my cup of tea, and the painting shows it – I even edited it at home, which I very rarely do. On the other hand, the quick poses were good fun – Indian ink and a dip pen somehow focus the mind and eye. Sometimes I think I should stick to drawing…
Life has been rather full lately, with work and Easter and getting things to exhibitions … but this morning was clear and calm with a thin frost quickly thawing, in the hedges nesting birds singing and squabbling. The hawthorn is in leaf, green in the sun and there are two swallows on the telegraph wires, newly returned from Africa or other points south. The lambs are getting bigger. Spring is sprung. Time to stop and breathe the clean air.
It is wonderful when heroes from childhood turn out to be even better than you knew. Vis. Ursula Le Guin – her Earthsea books and later, The Dispossessed and The Left Hand of Darkness, and later still, Always Coming Home – mind opening, beautifully written. And she is still an inspiration. Listen to this BBC Radio 4 interview.
And another influence that seems to have been more powerful than I realised: One of the books I looked at over and over again when I was at primary school was a Ladybird book, The Story of Joseph. I loved it mainly for the illustrations, and the colours and forms of the drapery stuck with me more than the story. They seemed so three-dimensional. The anatomy probably had an effect too.