First things first, well played to those of you who have been campaigning efficiently over the last month – actually engaging in curious discourse with your political opposites about why you think you’re right and they’re wrong when it comes to which party would form a better government. The majority, of course, have campaigned predominantly over social media and to people who already believe in what they believe in. But I can’t really knock that because getting loads of likes for a political tweet feels nice, and most of our friends do have similar political views to us.
I unfortunately have not enjoyed the build-up to this election at all and am surprised even to find myself writing about it. Just two years ago the night before the election I was pretty psyched and well up-to-date with what was going on. Now though I am envious of anyone who is completely politically oblivious. It is continuously depressing and very bad for ones mental health to be politically aware. For my own wellbeing I’ve been keeping away from the news as desperately as I can, but here is what I know:
Since 2010 homelessness has risen by 160% (by 300% in some cities), 4 million children are now living in poverty (and this cannot be blamed on bad parenting – 2/3 of that 4 million have at least one working parent), 1 in 5 adults have experienced some kind of depression due to housing problems, every health expert in the country says that the NHS needs more funding but Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt (not a health expert) disagrees, the President of the US has tried to ban all Muslims and doesn’t really believe in global warming (Theresa May doesn’t condemn)…and all the real problems that need addressing are not being addressed because instead we’ve spent the last year trying to define something we voted for without knowing what it meant (Brexit) – and we will be for the next two years.
Obviously I am angry and bitter about how bad things have become…but who isn’t? Tories who want hard Brexit are angry because the unelected House of Lords are staggering their attempts to essentially rewind the clocks as if globalisation never happened, Tories that don’t want hard Brexit are angry because the whole government does, UKIPers are angry because their party is probably about to diminish entirely (which shouldn’t come as a surprise – they never really thought further than leaving the EU), Corbyn’s Labour are angry because they’ve been out of government for 40 years and cannot believe the damage being done by the Tories to equality, the other side of Labour is angry because they’re not fully sure they’re in the right party, Greens are angry because the environment is finished unless things change soon, the Lib Dems are angry because they still don’t understand how more people voted to leave the EU than remain, and people who don’t affiliate with any party are angry because they don’t know who to believe and can’t believe the bitterness of whole thing.
Despite my frustrations, though, I am happy that today we have an opportunity to at least let the decision makers know that we are not happy. The path we’re on is not easy regardless of who wins – the unfortunate truth is that we’ve been a rich and greedy nation for so many years and now the standards of living we set ourselves are too high compared to the rest of the world. However, under the Tories the path only gets dirtier and division will continue to be the theme of politics – more austerity, more poverty, and a growing equality gap. I voted Labour because Corbyn at least wants to bridge the gap. Please just don’t vote for more of the same.