Politics

In The Wake of the General Election. #GE2015

It’s been a funny old weekend. I woke up on Friday morning before 5, feeling like I’d had concrete poured into my stomach and couldn’t get back to sleep again because my brain was racing. HOW could this have happened? How could the country have voted the Conservatives in again for another 5 years? Over the course of the morning, my fear turned to anger. I couldn’t see how a vote for Blue was anything other than self-serving and utterly lacking compassion and social conscience and so I made a declaration. I took to Facebook and wrote this:

Capture12

Yeah. I know. Pretty divisive.

My reasoning behind such a statement was that I genuinely cannot see how I have a single thing in common with someone who would willingly vote the Conservatives back into government. I can’t get my head around real, actual people thinking that the Tories can do anything but serious harm to this country. Anyone who can look at how ill and disabled people have been forced back into work, how the NHS is desperately over stretched, how the rich have been given tax cuts while the poorest of us are being fined for having too many bedrooms in our homes, are not people I’m happy to call my friends.

In the following hours, I had a lot of backlash. I had people calling me names, suggesting that I was ‘pathetic’ and ‘small-minded’, I had people outright challenging me to stand by my statement and then having tantrums when I did. I had another blogger (who, I must say, I really barely know) start a whole new thread on her own Facebook page, inviting people to agree with her on how despicable I was for removing her as a friend because of our conflicting views.

All in all, I’ve now got 20 less friends through Facebook than I had this time on Thursday. I know because before I posted the status above I took a note of my numbers, just for the sake of science. Many of them are people I’ve known since school, girls who’ve known me since I was 11 years old, and some are other bloggers. People were really quick to tell me that I was wrong and a few tried to defend their reasons for voting Tory, saying that they thought the Tories represented what was best for them and their families. Hardly anyone tried to engage me in a reasonable debate, rather choosing to call me a bigot and an idiot.

I’ve got to say, I don’t think I’ve ever been more disillusioned than I am now. For me, the Conservatives represent everything that is wrong with this country. I simply cannot get my head and my heart to reconcile the fact that so many people are willing to see the death of the NHS, the repeal of the Human Rights Act and so many other key tenets of what makes this country great. All I can see is that the people who have voted Tory have happily taken from the state, in the form of healthcare, emergency services, education and cushy Government funded jobs, and then pulled the ladder up behind them. What’s that old phrase? Oh yeah…”I’m alright, Jack”.

One person, someone I’d previously liked and respected, told me she’d voted Tory because if Labour had got in, the proposed Mansion Tax would have prevented her and her Husband from buying the lavish new property they’d had their eye on, while another said that, because her Husband was a Letting Agent, the Labour proposal to cap letting agent fees (fees which have got so high as to be utterly prohibitive in recent years, forcing families into unregulated slum housing) would mean they could no longer afford their lifestyle. If that’s not a massive “FUCK YOU” to the rest of our country, I don’t know what is.

Being willing to watch families stand in queues at food banks because they can’t afford to eat and old ladies dying of hypothermia because they can’t afford to heat their homes, for the sake of your own prosperity, shows a complete lack of humanity.

I’ve done a lot of soul-searching over the past few days to try to work out how seemingly decent people can so happily drop the axe on everyone else for their own gain. My poor Husband (a paid-up member of The Green Party) has been a sounding board for most of it, and although his politics are in line with my own, he’s able to be a little less ‘black and white’ about things than I am. He’s of the opinion that good people can still vote Tory and that there’s been too much misinformation by the press, manipulating the moderate middle to believe that the Tories have their best interests at heart. Hard working people who don’t have time to research policies, people who come home and read the Murdoch-poisoned rags and believe what they’re seeing.

I can’t say that I’m entirely buoyed by the thought that, of the people who voted Tory, half of them did so out of selfishness and greed and the other half did so because of their utter lack of research. I’ve only been on this planet for 30 short years, but I think it’s safe to say that this has been the most information-rich General Election to ever have been run. There have been websites inviting people to test their opinions against policies to see where their actual values should lead their affiliations and yet people are still voting blindly. I’ve heard untold people say that they voted for the Tories because their parents did, or because their Husbands did. Sister Suffragette, I think not…Mrs. Banks

I’m not suggesting that every single person who voted Tory did so out of either stupidity or selfishness, but not one person yet has managed to give me a reason for their vote which I’ve been able to get my head around, or reconcile with them also being a good person.

The one good thing that’s come of this is that I’ve sorted my own political affiliations in my head. In the run up, I was wavering between Labour and Green, but ultimately went for Labour as I had strong faith in Milliband and his genuine socialist views. In the wake of him leaving the party, I’ve come to the conclusion that New Labour isn’t quite the socialist party across the board that I had hoped it was, and as of this week will be a paid up member of the Green Party. There’s a meeting in a coffee shop locally next week which Husband and I are hoping to attend as I’m done with being an keyboard warrior, I want to get out and actually act. I’m also now part of a few online groups of women who are banding together as a sisterhood against Conservative rule. I genuinely think we’ve got the power to make a huge change.

I was also hugely relieved to see the protests in London, despite ALL of the major news sources refusing to give it coverage. In the run-up to the election, I actually said to Husband “there’ll be riots if the Tories get in”, and then had to face the sinking realisation that if they DID get in it would be because the majority of people wanted them in power and therefore probably wouldn’t be unhappy about it. So to see that there were plenty of others as unhappy as me has given me hope, albeit small in the face of another 5 years of right-wing oppression.

To the 20 friends I’ve lost in the wake of this election: I’m sorry that things had to be this way. I’m sure you did what you thought was right for YOU. Unfortunately, I’m more interested in what’s right for everybody and I just cannot carry on pretending that it’s okay to screw everyone else over for your own gain.

If you’re interested, there’s a list below of posts and articles that I’ve found really interesting and informative over the past few days. Please also link me to anything you’ve found useful in the comments below:

Chrisopher Everard: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200525108166139&set=a.1179223136677.19518.1711111543&type=1

Dissapointed Idealist: https://disidealist.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/that-wasnt-an-election-result-it-was-a-5-year-prison-sentence/

Douglas Hine: http://dougald.nu/the-only-way-is-down-18-notes-on-the-uk-election/

Green Party Women: http://greenpartywomen.org.uk/news/2015/04/10/green-party-candidates-campaign-to-lift-ban-on-job-share-mps-begins/

The Independant: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/every-major-british-political-party–except-the-conservatives–currently-led-by-a-woman-10238390.html

The Ramblings of a Formerly Rock and Roll Mum:  http://www.rocknrollmum.com/2015/05/general-election-outcome-my-dads-thoughts.html

Bright Green: http://bright-green.org/2015/05/09/ge2015-left-you-feeling-1-dejected-and-disappointed-2-exhausted-3-relieved-read-on/

Another Angry Voice: http://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/asset-stripping-bankrupt-britain.html and http://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/austerity-is-con.html

8 thoughts on “In The Wake of the General Election. #GE2015

  1. I too feel despondent in the wake of the General Election. I voted Green and I felt (almost) hopeless knowing that the Tories have hold of this country for the next 5 years. The speed at which they have pushed forward with their plans to abolish the HRA and to launch Universal Credit also tells us that it will be hard for any future party to undo this mess quickly.
    I will also be getting more involved in the Green Party. I want to teach my children that we must always fight for humanity.
    People aren’t ready to burn their copies of the Daily Mail YET – but I believe change is coming! The next 5 years are going to be hard, but we must push forward. Don’t lose hope.

  2. Jayne. No one suggests you don’t have a right to vote for who you want, or be gutted because Labour didn’t win. I voted Labour, I know for the right reasons. But its just as easy to say the same if you voted anyone else, including Tories.
    I think it’s sad you unfreinded people for using their democratic right to vote. As you say here, votes for women and all that. But by unfriending people or inviting other’s to unfriend you, you kind of make a mockery of that.
    Yes, some of us questioned you for doing so- possibly you took offence to the way that was done. But I was baffled by that. I think in time you may feel a little silly for flouncing the way you did. I haven’t unfriended anyone for voting the other way, we are lucky that no one makes us go to the polls and vote a certain way with a gun to our backs (I’m thinking of the likes of Mugabe here).
    If I caused offense than sorry, but I did feel it was perhaps childish to make a bold statement like that and drop people, and in the defence of the blogger mentioned, she did it publicly and gave you right of reply. Your page on there is private so she wasn’t in the same situation if you had of voiced something similar.
    I think this has gone far enough now, whatever happens, right or wrong way of voting, time will tell, but losing friendships, well, that’s just daft. I personally hope the SNP gets in there on there very small majority and messes their ideas of voting in things they couldn’t. As I say, time will tell.

  3. The reason the Tory’s won is that the UK’s debt is about £1.56 trillion. Labour didn’t reduce the debt during the good times when they were in power, and sold half of our gold reserves (about 350 tonnes) at $250 per ounce, the lowest price it’s been for years! (Thanks Gordon Brown!) If that was sold now, we would get $15 billion instead of the $£3.5 billion we did get, and where did that go? Oh, he used it to buy Euros!!! *doh*
    Another reason they won was the SNP. God knows how £1.5 million votes gets you that many seats! A lot of people I know (including a die-hard Labour person from the Valleys) didn’t vote Labour because they didn’t want the “Evil Scottish Witch” holding the balance of power….

  4. Only blog. I think by now though you will be feeling reassured that the Tory vote is a mere 24% of the electorate. Like you I was horrified to think that most people could think in the ways you describe, but it isn’t the case. The faultless with our eklectuon system. I have also come to terms with the ukip vote which I believe not to be the right wing vote as I had thought, but a disenfranchised left wing vote for whom Greens are hippies, and they don’t live in Scotland. I was the agent for my Greem MP and proud to be part of what I would describe as a party that stands for for environmental and social justice, neither left or right, just humane.

  5. The worry is the 3 million people who voted UKIP. like a comment above some of the votes could have been a tactical rather the tories than UKIP.but i like you am worried about the next 5 years.

  6. Most of the shift was in Tory-LibDem marginals (not counting Scotland of course) where there almost seems to have been “a “**** you, if we have to vote for full fat evil or evil-lite we’re going with full fat” response. If they hadn’t we’d be in a different place today and I’m fairly sure they’ll come to regret it, but it’s a very human response. (And after Rachel Reeves faux pas about Labour not being the party for those on Benefits and the Immigration mug debacle I’m not sure that it didn’t happen between Labour and the Tories as well).

    And in South Thanet, Rochester and Strood and a few other places I imagine some people voted Tory to block UKIP (and much as I disdain tactical voting I can understand that if the Tories are full fat evil then UKIP are the Gold Top).

    Me? I voted Green because they are best match for me but I’m still left of them and south of them on the political compass.

  7. Well done you, for standing up for your principles – I have to say I don’t know of a single person who will admit to voting for the tories, but if I did I would do the same. Joy

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