It was around 2012 when I first read Suzanne Collins’s Trilogy. I found their message gnawing at my subconscious already, but I was reassured by those close to me that, surely, we wouldn’t ever get this far in our Country…?
Fast forward to May the 7th, 2015; I am sure some (possibly naïve) first- or second-time voters like me had gotten used to the idea that our voice would be listened to. I was actually excited for the Election, and proud to be a part of it. I thought that, even if Conservatives were re-elected in some way, that it would be from the standpoint of a minority of a bigger, more balanced picture.
What I didn’t think would happen is that so many could turn a blind eye to the suffering that does exist close to home, vote for some more; how can we ignore the rise in numbers of people – whole families – flocking to the food-banks
(the Hunger Games get ever closer… remember?); how can we forget about the foul treatment of those who made and still make a genuine and needed claim for help from the state; how can we just stand by and allow to the inaction against corporations who avoid paying billions of pounds worth of tax, and get away scott-FUCKING-free, while the rest of the country flounders?
Cameron is clever, I’ll give him that; his tactic, divide and conquer, really does work to win votes…
… that said, winning votes in this way from of a Nation who has truly lost its way might be considered to be like shooting fish in a barrel. Britain long ago lost its confidence in both its systems, and itself as a People.
We needed someone to blame, minorities, immigrants, supporters of other parties… whatever…. and that’ll make things OK, right?
As I’m sure happened to you, reader, my Facebook feed went berserk at the result; as you can probably guess, a lot (though not all) of my friends were of a Green/Labour/Plaid Cymru, i.e. of a general leftie, persuasion; however, no matter who supported whom, many a clean, mature debate quickly descended into bitching and finger pointing.
It quickly became apparent that, whatever policies we’d voted for, whatever personalities we had put our faith into, the voice of the Common People had been reduced screams of “us and them” with the fingers pointed at each other.
As I said, Cameron is clever.
I wept. I actually. Fucking. Wept.
I wept for myself so many of my colleagues who may end up losing jobs in the arts due to cut in arts education, that is on top of having one of the least-respected and worst-paid industries in existence; more and more of us will be fighting for these pathetic, diminishing scraps.
I wept for so many of my friends who, like me (until very recently that is) suffer from ill health, or other conditions which prevent them from working (single mothers, families who have hit hard times, and so on) and earning a minimum wage which does not come close to paying soaring energy prices and Council Tax.
I wept for the fact that in the end, it felt like my voice and the voices of countless others, did not seem to matter in their views and sentiments. By the end of the day, they didn’t even matter to each other, when the social-media shouting started…
Your Communities Need You.
We need to stop shouting at each other and build our country from the bottom-up; we need to rebuild Communities.
Community is powerful, whether it comprises a group of colleagues in a workplace, or a group of tenants in a block of flats, or a whole town. Regardless of their political leaning.
Build that power back up – I feel like we barely trust one another at the moment, and that’s not what is needed right now. If you see someone struggling, think how you may be able to help, instead of just thinking “well, thank goodness that isn’t me!”.
Only once our communities are re-established and strengthened, only then can we hope to survive as individuals and as a people.
Only then can we turn the “Us” and “Them” game into something better: a functional, if not fair, way of life.
 Please can someone explain to me why we cannot have proportional representation? First Past the Post is ludicrous and monstrously complex