WORDS: Lee Higgins
At the time I started writing this article, I was sitting at my computer at around 10am on 8th May 2015 nursing the biggest and strongest cup of coffee I could possibly make, having sat up until 3:30am the previous night following the election results on the BBC and Facebook. I sat, staring in utter disbelief as my computer monitor filled up with blue and the words “CONSERVATIVE VICTORY” flashed across the BBC iPlayer window. The Tories had won a majority.
How could this have happened? After five brutal years of NHS cuts, false austerity, food banks, ATOS assessments, the bedroom tax, David Cameron’s massive forehead blocking out the sun, how could Britain possibly be coming back for five more years of being curb stomped by a shit-kicking blue boot, à la American History X?
Like many people, I was angry. I was upset. I was absolutely foaming at my fellow man for condemning our nation. I took to Facebook and bashed out several ranting posts on my timeline and in a few different groups. I took to Google and started searching for cheap flights. I fired up the Dutch edition of Rosetta Stone. This is it, I thought. I’ve finally had all I can take of this country. So long Britain, and thanks for all the fish. Hey Nederland, leuk om je weer te zien. Kan ik verblijf in uw plaats voor een tijdje?
But then a post on Facebook caught my eye. And the impending doom I felt in my bones began to ease. Over the course of an hour or so, it was gone. And what replaced it was hope.
I caught sight of how many people had voted Green.
OVER ONE MILLION.
Over one million people tired of the lie that is austerity. Over one million people choosing love over fear. Over one million people voting for electoral reform. Over one million people choosing to back a party that truly does have the interests of the people at its heart. Over one million people with the faith that together, we can really change things.
See, many politicians in the major parties have talked about hope. But what they want from us is not hope in the conventional sense, not in the way that you or I would understand it. What they want is closer to compliance with a smile than it is to hope.
Hopeful people don’t cabbage in front of the television every night to distract themselves from what is going on in the world.
Hopeful people don’t accept things because “That’s just the way it is”.
Hopeful people don’t vote out of fear.
Hopeful people don’t vote for a party they hate to block another party.
Hopeful people aren’t afraid to connect with their neighbours.
Hopeful people will get off their arses and force change.
Hopeful people don’t consume, comply and die.
Hopeful people find reasons to smile where others don’t.
Hopeful people can be knocked down time and time again, but their spirits will never be crushed.
Hopeful people will work tirelessly and fight tooth and nail for a better world.
Yes, we have a long five years ahead of us. Yes, it’s going to be a difficult fight. But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and change won’t happen in one election. Right now, we have a fantastic foothold, better than we could have dreamed, and we must build on this in the coming months and years. It is imperative that we fight for electoral reform so that we cannot be silenced by the Tories, Labour and their ilk. I cannot stress that point enough. WE NEED ELECTORAL REFORM.
Each and every single one of those one million people has shouted into the void. Many would not have expected to hear anything in return. But they have. A million other voices have shouted back a message. And that message is “I see you”.
For the people who rely on food banks. For the memory of our brothers and sisters murdered by ATOS. For those living below the poverty line. For everyone who has ever been burned by these horrible bastards: WE WILL TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY.
We exist. There is a way. Fear is over. Why don’t you join us?