Since May 7th 2015, I have found myself more focused than ever before. I made the decision to leap from the ‘Someone really should do something about that’ camp, to the ‘I am going to try and do something about that’, collective of like minded souls. It has been a fun journey so far, and I can’t remember ever feeling so instantly accepted for ‘me’.
Passionate and semi informed, exhausted and fighting, no one even blinked when I joined their number, but to me, after months of feeling like one of the few. I felt strong.
It has been incredible to see people suddenly getting so active: organising, sharing ideas, protesting, petitioning and holding their local MP accountable by writing and tweeting them (ok that last one was mainly for pleasure but hey!) . It has blown my mind just how many people there are out there, that think like me, and want to act.
I called for the uniting of the left in one of my early posts, and I still really hold onto that ideal. I am a member of multiple groups locally and nationally, focused on a variety of agendas. Some are devoted to the NHS, electoral reform, disability, austerity or the food bank crisis solely, whilst others are attempting to start a more generalised revolution. All of them are worthy.
Together they could be epic.
We have already seen a variety of protests around the county, in London, Sheffield and Bristol to name but a few, and I hope there can be multiagency cooperation to unite on June 6th. It’s interesting how little coverage these substantial protests have had, with positive publicity only occurring via social media.
In the days after London, a number of disturbing videos were released, depicting a tale quite different to that of the mass media. I see social media playing a bigger part than ever in the next five years. People are often accessing their news via their Facebook timelines or Twitter feeds. This was highlighted locally when our much loved beat Bobby suddenly passed away. The whole of our town knew within hours, and within days huge marches and memorial funds had been organised, always a few steps ahead of the local press.
I wonder if the age of propaganda is drawing to a close?
It is indisputable, the power of the media, but much more important is collective consciousness. Ideas are travelling faster than ever. Information is instantly accessible in most cases, and shared in less than a blink of an eye. The power is right there, ready to be grasped back into the hands of the mass population, if only we could unite and stop dwelling on our differences.
The one part of this process I find it hard to fathom is this. The use of language. Us. Them. Rich. Poor. I wonder if we are dividing ourselves further in someway, by being ‘the left’. At its core, the left is simply people that share collective ideas and beliefs relating to the common good, but we are all guilty of assuming that a specific identity relates to ‘left’ or ‘right’, wherever we stand. Even within that left, we are labour, liberal, green, independent. We make assumptions based on class, money, education and power all the time, without questioning them.
I do. I’ll admit it.
This weekend was my friends birthday, and we were invited to his parents home to celebrate, with a variety of other people. He and his fiancée are biologists, liberal, smart, kind and funny. We had met their families fleetingly on ‘home turf’ but I’d never really considered where they came from to be honest. If I wrote a list of words related to my time away, I guarantee a certain image would be created. Croquet lawn. Double height Library. Science. History. Hot tub. High tea. Oxford. Private school. Enormous house and sprawling gardens. Eton. Oil painting. Books. More Books. Studies larger than my home. So what do you see?
I’ll tell you what I saw. Kindness. Genuine interest. Equality. Inclusion. Fun. Liberal minds. Honesty. Compassion.
It said more about me, than them, that I was loathed to show how much pain I was in until I left. I didn’t want to talk about me! These were on paper, high target Tories, but I heard only people that cared about our planet and fellow man. I hadn’t even realised I’d come into the experience with a set of expectations until I left, being surprised that with Oxford graduates and ‘rich’ people, I had so much in common.
My challenge to you is this. Class prejudice works both ways, question your judgements and the associated language you use. Don’t write off a whole class based on (as always) a corrupt few. I will definitely be trying to think a little more before I accidentally dismiss a whole swathe of society with my use of language. Our constant need to define and box people off, only serves to isolate when we should be uniting.
The lib dems this week started their #libdemfightback; call me a utopia aspiring fool, but what I want to see is #everyonefightback. Unite people, no matter their class, race, religion, education, gender, be open to new people and new ideas.
Find the common ground not the differences between us.
united we stand, divided we fall.