The election is over, so I have taken time to reflect on my initial feelings, and get some sleep. By reflect, of course, I mean stand naked in front of the mirror reciting the Ancient Mariner in the voice of David Bowie. And by sleep I mean 14 hours in a bunker war room with a lit cigarette dangling from my lower lip, drawing arrows at pictures of Owen Jones and jabbing my finger at a map of Finland. Like everybody, this is how I behave under stress.
And like everybody, my knee jerk response was simply to accuse all the financially comfortable people who voted for this undeniably and openly racist government of being racist. But since then I have heard many nice people and also Piers Morgan saying that it’s very divisive to just say that people are racist. And it’s important that we listen to this, because basically everyone saying it has no lived experience of poverty or racism and therefore is more impartial.
So, I try to understand everyone’s concerns.
I mean, I can understand why some people don’t like those in government, but it is unfair to judge people just on how they look. Most of them can’t help it, they just have Resting Posh Face – you get it at public school, along with your first set of brogues and repressed emotions. It’s possible that they care deeply for the people who are dying as a result of 9 years of austerity, it’s just that they are unable to show it with their face, or their policies. School for them was like Harry Potter – it’s where you go to learn how to make things invisible. Like women! Or Northern Ireland. Or women in Northern Ireland.
Anyway, try not to be angry. White hot rage is only ok if you are a middle aged white lady receiving slow service while buying a Christmas themed rolling pin at Lakeland in a garden centre just outside Cirencester. This is no time to discuss the fate of pregnant migrants – it’s Christmas. So at this time of year, let’s all sit together and remember what Jesus said – ‘No politics at the supper table’ (Corinthians 6: 3-9)
Anger is unhelpful and it isn’t *persuading* anyone. if you are busy dealing with the effects of systemic inequality it’s very important that you persuade people to help you by always being nice and kind. If you don’t like it guys, it’s time to nicely and kindly dismantle it yourself, with a positive attitude, some inspirational memes on facebook and the sleigh you hijacked from Santa’s grotto at Lakeland, brandishing a Christmas themed rolling pin and a brick, while shouting ‘BIG BRICK ENERGY!’ It’s David Cameron’s Big Society! It’s finally here! Let the healing begin.
Send a message to the people you know who will be more directly affected by this government’s aggressive attacks on public services, and on those who are not UK citizens. Call them up. Invite them round. Let them know they are valued. Find out exactly what the risks are for their future. Prepare for the worst.
If you are impacted by the hostile environment, or if you know someone who is, then you know that the worst has already begun. If you don’t, and think this is hyperbole, educate yourself.
Save, stockpile, reflect on how far you will be willing to go to protect those who are having their rights removed. If you have ever wondered how it was that fascism took hold in Europe 80 years ago, while people went about their business and kept their heads down and looked out for their own interests, and if you have ever wondered what you would do if that happened now, then this is your chance to find out. Make a plan.
CASH TO SPARE
If you have spare cash and social capital connect with people who do not have those things. If you’ve never been politically active before, have hope and take action now. Set up groups, meet up, find out what’s already happening in your area. Who needs help to find work, who needs childcare funded, who needs a fridge, carpets, transport, funding for legal advice, funding for medical treatment, a home. These things should be provided by your government. They won’t be. Make a plan.
Don’t go shopping in garden centres containing a Lakeland, for a while, at least. Make some mince pies with your now slightly battered stolen Christmas themed rolling pin while singing ‘Get Into Christmas!’ Treat yourself.