As George Osborne’s first Conservative only Government budget was being delivered yesterday my Twitter and Facebook feeds began to be filled with anger, pain and scorn, with an undercurrent of a deep sense of helplessness.
And I agreed with everything people were saying. I agreed with the sentiments and my emotions resonated. There was not a single post in support of the budget, in support of the Government, in support of the direction this country is being led. It really got me wondering, why is it this way? If the Conservative Party were voted into power last year in such a huge swing where are all the Conservative supporters now? I pondered a few thoughts, maybe there is some truth in the 7 statements below:
Lots of people say they don’t like what is happening to the poor but when it comes down to it they will put their own interests first and vote for what they perceive will make them better off.
Lots of people like what the Government are doing but don’t feel confident to express this for fear of being heckled, or even abused, by others.
There are many who benefit a little from current Government policies. This means they enjoy a little extra comfort and security. In comparison to the significant life changes that are imposed on many of the most vulnerable this raises no emotional response and therefore there is no impulse to express anything on social media.
Nobody feels inclined to support the Government policies because they are self-seeking, income gap widening, dangerous and loathsome.
Those who feel upset by the political situation have got it wrong and are caught up in a deluded whirlwind of conspiratorial negativity.
It is cool to bash authority.
By my own conscious and sub-conscious choosing my Facebook friends and those I follow on Twitter are skewed towards my own fairly socialist, left leaning political views.
I asked my Facebook friends and Twitter followers if there were any views that supported Osborne or the Government. There was silence for quite a while and then a few people gave helpful responses. The comments ranged from factual to mildly pleased and were certainly void of any of the emotion that was featuring in my feeds. Also, I know that those who helpfully commented also have strong misgivings about other aspects of Government policy.
I am pondering all this because my thought processes always take me down the line of anger and a desire for action. Yet, I don’t want to indulge anger or take action for a meaningless cause. I want to ensure I am objective in what I expend my emotion, energy and time on.
However, nobody seems to be able to come up with a strong and passionate reason for supporting the Government. The budget and Government policies may offer small financial gains for many but these benefits are, in my opinion, woeful in comparison to the destruction that I see meted out on our communities.
I can only conclude that the anger is necessary and the need for change is critical. If we care about our communities, and especially those who are vulnerable, then we must spend ourselves to see justice. Action will look different for different people but I believe passively continuing with the status quo will lead to generations blighted by poverty and social exclusion.
Arguably the best book on leadership I have read is Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns; the Abraham Lincoln political biography. It masterfully depicts the challenge, heartache and passion that goes into leadership in the face of cruelly fierce opposition. Lincoln’s steady strength and fortitude became an inspiration for me and I can’t help but think of him as I observe Jeremy Corbyn approach his new task of leader of the Labour party.
I care nothing for political parties but care deeply about the outworking of politics. And so in Corbyn I see a man who’s policies resonate with me and who also appears to have been thrust into a position of power he never previously had ambition for. At this he already differs from Abraham Lincoln – who had longed for the office of president, in order to achieve the abolition of the slave trade, his entire political career.
The most intriguing part of Team of Rivals is where Lincoln is having to bring together the huge bruised egos of flawed characters to form a cabinet that can see his nation through civil war. The stakes are not quite as high for Corbyn – he is only leader of the opposition, the talent at his disposal is generally unproven, and the critical situation of the United Kingdom in 2015 cannot be compared to that of the United States in 1860. Nevertheless, Corbyn will need to employ all the guile, stubbornness, wisdom and resilience of Lincoln if he is to pull together an effective shadow cabinet that he can lead through to achieve some of the political goals that he has fought for his entire life.
I really wish Jeremy Corbyn every success. Certainly because I desire to see in this nation and world many of the same things he is working for, but also because he deserves it. He has brought a real honesty, vulnerability and humility to the messy and brutal world of 21st century politics. These are characteristics of a true leader and if he is able to persevere can only be a good thing for this nation and beyond.
With the majority of constituency results announced it is clear that we will be seeing a Conservative formed government. The polls leading up to yesterday’s election had the Tories and Labour neck and neck but I was expecting that many of our population would put an X by their Conservative candidate within the privacy of the voting booth. We’re a rich country which means those in work will always be fairly comfortable and it’s difficult for people to vote against that and to stick up for the vulnerable.
I’m disappointed. However, political involvement is not limited to voting in a General Election. We all have a new or a newly re-elected MP who is accountable to us, the same goes for our local Councillors. Engage with your MP and with your Councillors, get to know them and ensure they make your voice heard. Even if they don’t represent your political views they are still your public servant.
There are also opportunities for those who feel powerless in an election to come together and make a collected voice heard through marches, letter writing and other peaceful protests. If you feel helpless now then resolve to continue to campaign for the issues that are important to you.
Personally, I am most gutted for those who are more vulnerable for various reasons – the young, the elderly, the poor, the homeless, the unemployed, the disenfranchised, the asylum seeker, the looked after children, the disabled, those with mental illness, the addicts….. These categories don’t generally vote Conservative, if they vote at all, and will undoubtedly be further down trodden. If this bothers you then get ready to serve these people in your local community. They may not be able to rely on their government for support and empowerment but they must be able to rely on their neighbours.
We spend a lot of time talking about our politicians but even once elected they do not have to be the ones who direct and shape our country. Stand up and make a difference!
So Nigel Farage says that businesses should make up their own rules after a women in a posh hotel was asked to cover herself with a shroud whilst breastfeeding.
Farage defended his comments by stating that ‘some people are embarrassed by breastfeeding’. Apologies Nigel, but I’d be embarrassed by you if I saw you in public. Perhaps you’d be so kind as to cover yourself with a shroud?
It really is concerning how attractive UKIP sound to many people. They claim that the Tories have veered left and they are the only reasonable choice describing themselves as ‘centralist liberal’. This diagram and explanation from Another Angry Voice is really helpful in taking the shroud off of the real Nigel Farage and informing how far from the truth the UKIP spin is.
Another Angry Voice: A Lesson in Political Illiteracy
Voting is really important. The right to vote and opportunity to vote should not be taken for granted. Therefore, I will be voting gratefully in the morning.
However, I feel strongly that the leadership of our police forces should not be politicised and turned into party political games. I also feel that this whole venture is a massive waste of time and money.
For these reasons I was really tempted to spoil my ballot paper. But that’s not really going to help anything so I’ll be voting for an independent candidate who seemed to have a few good things about him.
What are other people’s thoughts? Anyone else voting?
So is it just like the general election last year when EVERYBODY was going on about voting Lib Dems and then bottled it and went for the usual left or right? Or is just that everyone I spoke to, or read on facebook, did vote YES but in reality just make up a tiny part of the voting public and the older non facebook using demograph are more likely to make the journey down to the polling station?
It’s not that I mind too much. I did vote YES but only because I want more fun on voting day. And it’d be nice to have a vote for some minor party but still feel like your vote could count in deciding between the big two or three. But I thought with all the ‘anti-Tory-no-to-AV-dirty-tactics’ stuff going round people would vote YES but I guess they didn’t and probably bottled it again.
It’s always an anti-climax getting in those little quarter booths things they have where anyone can see what you’re doing and just putting a little X in ONE box. Ah well too late now anyway.