Monday, May 11, 2015

Charlotte Church

In this blog post, Charlotte Church responds to all those who accuse her of being a champagne Socialist, and who have effectively told her to shut up because "the people have spoken" by delivering us a majority government on 24% of the popular vote (or 37% if you want to ignore those who didn't turn out).

This brilliant post highlights two particular points for me:
1. The so-called "champagne socialist" tag is as low a blow as it's ever been. Why shouldn't someone who's done okay for themselves care about those less fortunate than them? Believe it or not, but you don't have to be poor to worry about the poor. It's to be expected that an ever increasing number of people aren't capable of expressing empathy for anyone other than themselves (and, if you're lucky, their nearest and dearest), but it also demonstrates a shocking lack of imagination. Can these people genuinely not envisage a series of events that puts them at the mercy of the welfare state? You'd think that if they had a scrap of intelligence they'd realise a functioning, caring safety net is a good insurance plan to have - just in case - but no.
2. More disturbing is the Welsh Tory leader's claim that - because "the people have spoken" - we should stop protesting. Thing is, Andrew Davies, the people did speak, but thanks to the ridiculous electoral system we have in place, only 24% of those eligible to vote were heard. Even if you ignore those who didn't vote - most of whom, I'm sorry to say, did their country and their forebears a great disservice by cheapening and weakening democracy in the process - then 37% is not a resounding mandate. It means the overwhelming majority of those who did cast a cross on their ballot paper did not vote for the government that's about to inflict its dogmatic policies on all of us for the next five years.

There's something else Ms Church's post does too: highlight that inaction is no longer an option for any of us. We've allowed this country to be subsumed by right-wing forces (including New Labour) for too long. It's been 36 years since Margaret Thatcher tried to destroy the concept of society by encouraging the worst in people. Rather than stand up for the rights and responsibilities bequeathed on us by previous generations, we've allowed ourselves to be bribed while turning a blind eye to successive governments squandering the country's resources to line the pockets of the rich. Our children are no longer taught to think, but merely to learn by rote in preparation for a life that sees us run on an ever quicker treadmill. We don't stop to enjoy life, or give a stuff about the damage we're doing to our family, friends and life itself with our wilful destruction of the environment. Yet all through this we live with an aching void that no amount of spending sprees or hours spent glued to our phones can ever fill.

I consider myself very lucky for my upbringing and my life so far. I owe it to those less fortunate than me to help where I can. It'll be small steps at first - donations to local foodbanks, moving some of my savings to a credit union so people near me have access to a safe form of credit if they need it - but I suspect as I feel myself giving something back, then something bigger will come from it. And God help you, Tory Party, because I sense that after being dormant for so long, a large section of society is waking up. And hell hath no fury like legions upon legions of ordinary people scorned.

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