I keep on hearing the phrase – the next five years. And wondering why it resonates in a somewhat apocalyptic way.
Pushing through the market square
So many mothers crying
News had just come over
We had five years left to cry in.
Yup, that was it. Five years, what a surprise…
And I did cry. But enough of the despair and the ranting and the doomsday scenarios. Not that it isn’t bad, I truly believe it is, and I’m not ashamed of my grief. But I’m not going to spend the next five years bemoaning the failure of the parties I supported, to various degrees, to persuade enough of the electorate to vote for them, and the inadequacy of our electoral system to represent the views of that electorate.
Because in those five years, if we don’t keep arguing, protesting, challenging, petitioning, lobbying, then we really will be screwed.
So, on this blog, what I want to do is to take the manifesto that we have to assume our new government will be aiming to deliver – without the restraining hand of a coalition partner – and look at why some of its promises seem to me, to us, like threats. I want to pull together what I know, and what I can find out, to counter those threats, whether it is by identifying misinformation, or linking to the charities and pressure groups that are already working in those areas, building up a picture of the resistance.
I’m not starting a political movement here. This isn’t about Labour, or the Greens, or the Lib Dems. It isn’t even about socialism or any particular ‘ism. If you want to know, and don’t already, I’m a humanist, a feminist, a bit green (but nothing like enough), pretty much on the left (but not subscribing to any particular ideology). Also, to pre-empt some possible sniping, I’m middle-class, University educated, in full employment and in good health, living in a pleasant and leafy part of town, in my own home. I’m bloody lucky, in other words. And so the rage I felt, the fear I felt, at the outcome of this election was not for me. I may never have been poor, or unemployed, or had to claim benefits to survive, but I’m not so devoid of imagination, or so ignorant of reality that I can’t see how easy it would be to find oneself there, and how hellishly hard to get out of that trap once in it. There are things in the manifesto that will piss me off – but what I fear is what will happen to the people who have to fight already for things I take for granted, who are already on the edge, who have already fallen through our inadequate safety nets, or who will fall through in the years to come.
If I’m right in judging, from my Facebook and Twitter feeds, that there is a community out there, disparate perhaps in its voting loyalties, in its allegiance to particular ‘isms, but of similar mind in relation to our opposition to this Conservative government and its plans for our society, then I hope this blog can be a useful resource. I hope some people will contribute comments or articles, suggestions and information. It may or may not take wings, but I need to do something, and for now, at least, this is it.
Join the conversation, please. Because, to go back to Bowie, as I so often do:
‘I never thought I’d need / So many people’