Monday, 15 June 2015

Another 5 years gah! AKA what I'm doing about the UK election result

Hey ducks,

Just to give you the heads up there's no sewing in this post and it's of a political nature an I won't be offended if you don't read but I should let you know there will be probably be a lot more politics in my writing going forward. This is because as well as the many other things I am in my life I have discovered I am political.

How are we? I hope at nearly midway through the year your plans and schemes are coming good and that the sun is shining on you.  I'm happy to report in my tiny corner of the world the sun has firmly got his hat on after what has been an interminable winter.

I realise I often start with a little overview of the weather but I like to feel it sets the scene for you and it's a very British thing to do :)

Average British summer scene :)

Now that you've been advised of the meterological forecast for Brighton can I just say a huge, fat, loving, thank you for all your kind words about my post about mental health.  It was truly heart warming to have so many of you get in touch and share your own stories both publicly and privately.  I got very emotional reading your comments it was a beautiful reminder of how amazing people are. 

On that note let me get to what this post is all about, which is people.  It's just over a month now since I woke up and discovered to my horror that a lot of people had decided to vote a conservative government back into power in the UK.  I'd been very buoyed when I arrived at my polling station at 7.30am to find a queue round the block.  I've got suffragettes in my family tree and to see so many people keen to get make their views heard gets me emotional. My Nan always used to say women gave everything they could to give you choice even their lives and by voting you're saying thank you.  It was lovely to see people with their children on the way to school lining up outside and explaining what it was all about.

Through the immediacy of social media it seemed like this was the same story all over our little island.  People were turning up in droves to put crosses in the boxes and see the changes, that desperately needed making, happen.  By the time I got to my dears, the Prestonville Knitters, for stitch and bitch I was positively jubliant we would get the result we were all wanting - David (ham face) Cameron and his cronies out and a healthy mix of labour and green to attone both people and the planet.  Everyone that kept coming into the pub was saying they'd just voted and they couldn't get over the queues.  We felt assured we would get what we wanted.  My twitter timeline trended it, Facebook posted it, the media was awash with it and people in the street were certain it was done.  You can then only imagine my extreme disappointment when I went home at 10pm and turned on to the exit polls with a Tory majority.  My timeline was then awash with people absolutely shocked and horrified.  I decided that I wasn't going to stay up because I didn't want to go to bed crying and was instead going to believe that as is often true that it was all speculation and the next day we would wake up to a brave new world. 
Margaret Mead provides me with some great advice and I leaned on her quotes when I woke up on 8th May to the shocking news the UK had voted a conservative government into majority rule.
I did indeed rise to a brave new world but sadly not the one myself or anyone I know voted for.  Personally, I voted green and specifically for Caroline Lucas.  I think very highly of her as a consituency MP and having been fortunate enough to meet her I think she's also a wonderful human being who is willing to fight hard for all the things that I think matter.  In Brighton we were in the minority in that we were happy with our choices.  Our little city by the sea re-elected the first and only green MP and Hove voted to see get rid of the conservatives and install labour. 
Pictorial proof that my home is an island of sanity in a sea of insanity.  In the midst of the misery Jason Smart declared independence - the People's Republic of Brighton & Hove
It was a little ray of sunshine to have confirmed what I already knew that Brighton may not be where I'm from but it's where I'm meant to be :)  Though despite my own happiness I was heartbroken about the national result.  I was sorry to know that there were so many people who would choose to make things worse for the most worst off in our society.  During the 5 years of coalition rule I have worked in various roles alongside my self-employed work and these have included the NHS and the public sector. I've seen how awful ordinary people's lives are being made under austerity whilst the bankers that caused the financial crisis carry on getting bonuses, cooperations continue to dodge billions of pounds of tax whilst the poorest in society have their benefits cut without consequence and find themselves desperate and reliant on foodbanks or full prey to unscrupulous moneylenders.  It sounds Dickensian but sadly it's the situation in the UK right now.

As I walked into work on 8th May and saw the upset on people's faces I decided that I was going to choose hope over despair and give all I can to making a change.  They can't cut compassion and there's no tax on kindness.
Again I find myself saying I'm not an expert but I, you -  we still have a voice and the power to execute change. I thought what my Nan said about voting and choice and we still have that.  We don't have to make things easy for this government that we didn't choose.  It's a numbers game and there's a few hundred of them and gad knows how many of us. 
Specifically I am and you can:
  • Vote
  • Lobby things I don't agree with at every opportunity
  • Sign petitions that matter
  • Join a union
  • Give what I can to charity
  • Volunteer - I know we all have a great many skills that could be really put to good use
  • Donate to foodbanks
  • Join a political party
  • Get involved with  local community groups who are trying to make a difference
  • Patronise local businesses
  • Talk to my neighbours and improve my community
  • Stop spending money on corporations who are avoiding tax
  • Join the WI (or similar)
  • Support those taking strike action
  • Engage with like minded people
  • Engage with people who don't share my views in a positive mannrer and explain to them why I feel this government isn't good for any of us
  • Attend marches and rallies
  • Be kind and compassionate to those less fortunate than me
  • Never go quietly.
Since the result I've put a good few of these that I wasn't already doing into action.
Yesterday, I was one of 1000 cyclists that attended my local naked bike ride, which is part of National Bike Week  that runs from the 13th - 21st June
The world naked bike rides have been going on for a number of years and their aim is to create a "cleaner, safer, body postive world".  All things I thoroughly support and it also gave me the opportunity to air my political views clearly.  WARNING: There's a little nudity below and I've no desire to offend anyone but if you're not bothered by a touch of nipple then carry on reading :)
TITS NOT TORIES! - We need to get the message across with everything we've got and in my case that includes boobs :)
Yesterday, (14th June) at the bike ride was amazing.  It was so incredible to be surrounded by so many compassionate people that like me believe in their own power to bring about change. 
That's why I'll be attending the the march against austerity organised by the People's Assembly on 20th June at Midday. 
It will be a chance to make our voices heard and to quote Ghandi, "be the change you want to see".  I understand it's not possible for everyone that wants to attend to get there but if you check out the links above there will be something going on local to you.  I've got a huge gob though and I'll be using it to speak up for me, you and all those that can't. 
Right so that's me signing off for my last post of 34.  I promise there will be sewing in the next one because I think sewing in its way is a political act but hey that's a whole other post :)
Love, light and proud to still be Mis-Shapen
Miss D