Thinking Your Way Through a Labyrinth of Contemporary Issues
The general election is over. The people of Britain have voted. They voted for a Tory majority. All around the result was one of shock, from Tories who didn’t expect so complete a victory or from Labour who didn’t expect to be so far adrift or even from the Liberal Democrats who didn’t expect to be decimated or from the SNP who didn’t think they’d take so many seats or from UKIP who didn’t think they wouldn’t have so many. For better, or for worse, we’ve got a Tory majority.
Many of you, on all sides of the ideological divide have made it clear you don’t want to hear about either side insulting the other, no matter how dumbstruck that person may be about the result and that is also true. That’s democracy and people don’t need to be subjected to abuse for whom they voted.
What they do need to hear is the effect of what they’ve voted for. This isn’t shouting abuse at someone; this is making a person aware. Votes do not happen in isolation. It might be a high-minded ideal of mine, but you vote for a cause, an ideal and a set of policies. I think it’s only reasonable that you consider the implications of those policies.
It’s fair to say I’m distraught at the result; I’ve got many friends who will suffer, many acquaintances who will struggle. I could talk for days on the way the coalition government treated the disabled, from the travesty of ATOS healthcare to the bedroom tax. I could talk of the devastating impact those things have had. I could talk about the million people using foodbanks.
But I’m not. It’s not an election anymore, the Conservatives have won. Now according to some, I’m being dramatic, according to others it’s not going to be that bad.
I suppose we’ll see. But what you’ll also see is hope, hope that next time we’ll vote different, hope that we can ride out the troubles we anticipate, hope that the suffering will not be too that.
You’ll also see people band together, as individuals, as groups, as communities and hope to help those worst affected by what we think are going to be brutal cuts. You’ll see communities create food banks, volunteer, protest and push for change.
Amongst all that bad, the revival of community action is a startling positive. I think it’s going to be a rough five years for many people. There’s every chance I might be wrong. The Tories might have it right. All I know is the human cost of the last 5 years do not need to be swept under the carpet, nor can they be repeated.
So where does that leave us? It leaves us looking forward to a future of uncertainty, of doubt and fear. It also leaves us looking forward to a future of community, of hope and of pushing relentlessly to protect the most vulnerable. It might not be the vision of the future the Tories envisage or even one the voter envisaged but it’s one you’re going to see across the towns and cities of Britain.
This result isn’t the end of the world, life for many of us, does go on. And many people will find a way to cope, humans are like that, we’re resilient. But never forget those that cannot and don’t hesitate to help out those people, to stop and look and help. Don’t just walk past uncaring in your certainty that tomorrow will be okay for you. Join in, donate, volunteer, just join in and add your voice, your presence to what will be a number of people that will not, cannot accept the human cost of what is likely to come.
(Fazial Patel, 2015)