Election Night All-nighter
I’m recovering from an all-nighter. Just me and my phone and the internet, watching the election results unfold. Now I’m a little weary, and in need of coffee and sweet things.
I’ve never been a member of a political party (unless you count 3 months in a one-horse dodgy Trotskyist outfit when I was 16). I’m your classic floating voter, albeit with definite left leanings. Over the years I’ve voted Labour, Green, Socialist. I’ve tactically voted Liberal Democrat, I’ve even protest-voted Liberal Democrat. And I’ve intentionally spoiled my ballot paper (I’m useless at being an anarchist – I worry about all the people who have died and continue to die for the right to vote).
I’m not that forthcoming about party politics on the internet. Being publicly partisan when you run a business can be great for your business and it can be lousy. It scares me if I’m honest. Also, I’m tired. Of party politics. Of putting myself on the line.
But then this:
It worries me, no it terrifies me, the idea of being poor (which I am) and chronically ill, (which I am), and disabled, (which I will be), in a country where health care is being sold off to the highest bidder. Not just the highest bidder. The bidder with the most friends in government. It terrifies me that one day, I might die, yes die, not of the disease that I have, but for lack of treatment and medication. It sickens me that ill and disabled people are already dying because they are being deserted by a system that should be supporting them. Demonised and punished for being unable to earn a living.
The idea that my son, born in 1997, a year of such hope, of Sure Start, and “Education Education Education”, has to worry about debt repayments if he decides to go to University, is heartbreaking. So is knowing that my nephews’ education will be severely hampered by underfunded, understaffed schools, and that if they have any special learning needs as they go through school, well, tough luck, on the rubbish heap with them.
If I do manage to get to a ripe old age, what then? What services will be left to support me? Will I be thrown in a substandard old people’s home, and left to rot in a chair?
And Everyone Else Too
And not just me and mine. I was brought up to care about others, not just myself. Isn’t that supposed to be how it is? What of the countless people who are already suffering, surviving below the breadline on food-bank handouts. Left in hospital corridors for hours waiting for a triage nurse. The people with mental illness, “cared for” in police station cells because there’s no beds for them in hospitals. The newborn babies and mothers unattended for days by midwives. What of the young people, and not so young people, and old people, who can’t afford a decent place to live? For whom there is no social housing, and no affordable private rentals. What of the carers who are at the end of their tether and ready to break? What of the nurses who give their all, and still can’t afford to feed their families? What of the countless more who will live difficult, strained, broken lives because collectively we couldn’t give a damn?
I don’t give a damn about the “magic money tree”. I don’t give a damn about national debt. I could write a blog on how the Tory economic model actually doesn’t stand up to scrutiny AT ALL, about how Keynesian economics actually works, but right now, I don’t give a damn. I give a damn about human beings. There’s always money to be found by governments, it’s just a question of what they have the will to spend it on. I do not want a government that spends it on giving handouts to their pals in the shape of tax breaks or nice little deals for bits of public assets, on weapons of mass destruction, on bailing out banks. I want a government that spends it on making life a little easier, a little fairer for everyone.
That’s what we were voting about yesterday. My vote wasn’t for a political party, my vote was for fairness, for compassion, and justice. I am hoping that the increased Labour seats will enable an effective opposition to the inhumanity of so-called austerity policy. I NEED it; lets face it, whether you know it or not, we all need it.
I finally got to sleep around 5am, after seeing that my constituency had been taken from the Lib Dems by Labour. By the time I got up, around 9, I found people arguing all over Social Media over whether it was a defeat or a victory and for whom, whether we should be devastated or elated. For me, I’m a lot less devastated than I thought I would be. But not as happy as I’d like to be. Lets call it Hopeful.
I wrote this early on Friday. Of course, here on Friday teatime, it’s not over. A Tory coalition with the DUP is quite terrifying. We’ll see.