The House has already won

The British government have had a Cabinet reshuffle. They do this a lot, usually when it becomes blindingly obvious that the only way they’re going to win the next election is if they kill everyone else, and Britain becomes the dictatorship they secretly (and not-so-secretly) want it to be.

Now, I play a bit of poker, and I know for a fact that, if you’ve got a rigged deck, or the House is on the take, it doesn’t matter how many times you reshuffle that fucking deck; nothing’s going to change for you. You’re shit out of luck, because you’re being hustled by the very best in the business.

Politics is a lot like poker – everyone’s bluffing, everyone’s out for what they can get, it’s greed that’s brought them to the fucking table in the first place – and the House always, always wins. Even when it looks like they’re losing. Especially when it looks like they’re losing.

I remember when I was first shown what poker was. I didn’t get it. How the hell could people sit up all night – sometimes several nights in a row – just betting on whether the total of the cards they had was higher than everyone else’s?

I don’t get politics, for much the same reason. We all file out to vote, like good little citizens, never mentioning the fact that since we still have a ruling monarchy we’re technically ‘subjects’, and put a neat little tick in the ‘correct’ box. Tory if we went to the ‘right’ schools, if we believe that a couple of blokes getting married, or two women deciding to have a baby together using some anonymous guy’s spunk, is going to bring society crashing down around our ears; Labour if our family still talks about the miners’ strike, or burns effigies of Margaret Thatcher; Lib Dems if we’re not really sure what we think, but we’re certain everything’s lovely, really. Drop the fucking card in the slot, and head home, smiling the smug, self-satisfied smirk of someone who has ‘contributed’, who is a ‘functional member of society’, and all that crap. And just like the schmucks who sit there, hour after hour, staring at the cards in their hand, the baize on the table, we’re being laughed at: there’s no point in playing – the game’s been rigged from the start, and the House has already won.

At least in poker you can walk away when you feel you’ve wasted enough money – maybe go and waste a bit more at the bar, or on one of those too-pretty women who’ve been prowling around all night, trying to catch the attention that should’ve been on your cards – and you’ve only handed over a few hours of your life along with your money. When you walk out of that fucking polling station, you’ve handed over five years to people who don’t give a damn about you, people you maybe didn’t even vote for, and so who give even less of a damn about you.

I used to believe that, if I didn’t vote, I didn’t have a right to complain. Then, one day, I realised that it doesn’t matter if I vote or not – every MP is a lying cunt, every party says one thing to get elected, then does another once they’ve tasted the power they’ve been gagging for. I can’t change anything by voting, because the fix was in long before I reached voting age.

The game is rigged, the House will win, and the only option left to me to change things is to complain – to make it as clear as possible, to as many people as possible, that I’m not happy, that we’re being screwed over by the people who should be guiding us to a better place. And hope that, when enough people wake up and smell the stench of the dregs of the cheap, bitter, instant coffee that is life in 21st century Britain, the riot and the revolution that that awakening starts will be so fucking big and powerful that no-one can control, stop or ignore it.

Change won’t come through voting – voting is too fucking polite, too civilised, too pretty words and nice manners: too forgettable. Change will come with a rage that can’t be ignored, and won’t be forgotten.

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