[Forgive what will of course be only a slightly frazzled snapshot of the broader picture--I'm so exhausted, heartbroken and shocked. But I hope I've captured a few important points.]
Anger, frustration, hurt, fear. So much anger that I can't look at a news website without swearing, or watch a video of the results without shouting.
The pundits and the websites talk and will talk about the personalities involved--the re-election of Johnson, the failure of Jo Swinson and the eventual stepping down of Corbyn.
But it's about so much more than that.
It's about the people that will feel the sting more than anyone else. The ones below the poverty line, the ones on zero hours contracts. The ones without a hope of saving enough for a deposit on a house, or the slightest hint at job security or psychological wellbeing.
It's the people that will suffer and die because they couldn't be treated fast enough on the overworked and underfinanced NHS; it's the people that got kicked out of their housing and ended up on the streets because they couldn't make the exorbitant prices their landlords ask for, not out of need but because they could.
It's an awful, tragic, heartbreaking result...
BUT! There have been some amazing positives from the last few weeks.
The message from the doorstep is that the manifesto is popular. Properly funding our NHS, bringing key utilities back into public ownership, a Green Industrial Revolution and a genuine living wage. We have to move past Brexit and continue fighting for these things.
I have been so genuinely touched by the many warm and receptive people I have spoken to on the doorstep. Even those with whom I did not see eye to eye, we still walked away shaking hands and with mutual respect.
To the person whom I persuaded to vote an hour and a half before the polling stations closed, who was swayed by my heartfelt plea to vote against austerity. To the person who had already voted and who took me inside his block of flats to thank me for working so hard and to shake my hand and tell me how much it meant to him and how much he was praying for a change of government. To the people I persuaded in the first few days of campaigning that if they didn't like the status quo, they had to vote to change it. To the person who told me to bugger off, you remainer. It's been a pleasure and privilege to talk to you all.
To the many people with whom I have spent long nights in the cold, wet and dark, traipsing up streets and down alleys, knocking on doors and having conversations. You have been amazing. I will never forget the togetherness and dedication with which you fought for a better world. It really has been overwhelming. I have cemented old friendships and made many new ones. There is no glory, there is no thanks, there is only the hope for a brighter tomorrow--one in which fairness, kindness, and diversity are things to be celebrated, championed and defended. It is to this we cling.
These are only small pricks of light in a vast darkness, but in these chinks of hope, there is the future--there is the way to keep on fighting, to come together and work towards a narrative of restoration.
"Yes, it’s dark. Darker, arguably, than at any point since the second world war. We have a government not of conservatives but of the radical right, who will now seek to smash the remaining restraints on capital and those who accumulate it. They will take their sledgehammers to our public services and our public protections. They cheated and lied to assist their victory; they will cheat and lie even more to implement their programme."
There are lots of things we can do to resist but underlying them all is solidarity.
"First, we must park the recriminations and blame. We need to be fully occupied fighting the government and its backers, not fighting each other. Solidarity is going to be crucial over the coming months. We should seek, wherever possible, to put loyalty to party and faction aside, and work on common resolutions to a crisis afflicting everyone who wants a kinder, fairer, greener nation."
Through the anger, through the disappointment, through the heartache, there is love, there is solidarity and there is hope. 🌹🔥✊🥰
Copyright © Jack Threlfall Hartley 2019