I am sat writing this on the eve of polling day. I am writing in anticipation of waking up to the election result that I have been expecting for some time.
My expectation – in spite of much talk of the energy behind Jeremy Corbyn – is that not only will we not see a Labour Government, but we will not see a hung parliament or even a reduced majority for the Conservatives; we will wake up on Friday morning to news of an increased Conservative majority. We will unfortunately have to listen as May crows about how she has a mandate to deliver Brexit at any cost, scrap our human rights to “protect” us and no doubt she will be driveling some bullshit about creating a government for “everyone”.
We know it is all nonsense. We know it is all very bleak. And we know that ultimately our lives and our interests will be disregarded to protect a wealthy elite.
But what I want to say to you is; why are you surprised? Why are you disappointed? You knew this was going to happen too. Our latest swing in to elite protection started with Thatcherism in the 1970’s and today is but a small part in a swing to the political right and rampant individualism. Our history tells us that there has always been a ruling elite who exploit the great masses.
The great advances in democracy that have led to the sorry state of our electoral system were fought desperately hard for. Working men only received the vote around 200 years ago and women even more recently. What do we have to show for it? A system in which we all widely accept that our votes don’t count and where we are forced to vote against the party we like the least, rather than voting for the party that you want the most.
OK, it wasn’t quite the same as usual this year. Maybe you are feeling even more deflated – like I am – because this time there actually was a difference between the two main parties. The Labour Party manifesto was a hopeful and inspiring document. But that’s gone now.
So with hope seemingly lost, what can we do?
I am not convinced that parliamentary politics as we know will ever provide what we want from society; it is undoubtedly doomed to continue to provide only for the privileged few.
My advice is to begin today cultivating Islands of Safety. Go out in to your community and volunteer with your local charity shop. Get involved in a local community centre. Be a part of creating spaces which can become safe havens for the poorest and vulnerable people who will suffer most from a reanimated Conservative government.
Go and get involved in local campaign groups to protect your local services. Go join a community gardening project. Take a walk where you live and take in the beauty in the everyday. Meet people. Talk. Listen. Volunteer with your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
Tell your children what is important in life. Teach them about compassion, love and our intimate connection with each other. If one of us hurts, we all hurt.
It really isn’t that hard to jump on the internet and start searching for what is going on in your community. Or take a look at noticeboard and see what is happening.
The creation of a new and better society did not end today; it starts again today. It continues today.