I feel devastated that the Tories have won an overall majority in the UK General Election, meaning that we are in for five more years of their callous, uncaring policies, cuts to the social welfare system, to the Arts and to public services. Usually, when I’m feeling down, I try to pull myself together by telling myself there’s always someone worse off than me but, in this case, that’s the whole point, they’re the ones I’m most upset for: the poor, the ill, the disabled, carers, the unemployed. These are the people who are going to be punished by a Government which is hell-bent on making a further £12bn of welfare cuts by 2018 even though so many thinkers, including economists at the IMF , have written about Austerity policies not working.
Not 48 hours after the Tory election victory, there were strong shows of protest on the streets of London and Cardiff, played down or completely ignored by mainstream British media. There have also been rumours of tweets and YouTube footage of the protests being mysteriously deleted. It’s as if someone wants to hide the fact that all is not well in our land…..
On Friday, the day after the election, I made sandwiches for our church ‘soup and sandwich run’ for people in need. It’s an initiative that all churches work on together in our town (as in many towns, I’m sure) taking turns and ensuring that soup and sandwiches are given out to anyone who needs them every night of the week. Churches here also organise collections to our local food bank, of which there are now about 450 in the UK, used by over 500,000 people , and set to rise.
Doing something practical at least helped me feel less useless and helpless about the election result and it’s one of the suggestions in this excellent article by Rebecca Winson: ‘Five ways to deal with a full blown Conservative Government’.
As for poetry, well, since the election, it feels like a far away place. Trying to write about how angry and upset I am would just result in a rant, something best left for my personal journal. Reading and writing about sunsets, marriages, houses, memories, whatever, feels unimportant and frivolous when I consider the pain that’s going to be inflicted on people who’ve fallen on hard times or, through no fault of their own, are simply not rich enough.
Sorry if this post is a downer. I know I will bounce back because I’m not one of the most vulnerable but knowing that sends me into a spiral of guilt and gloom. Some time away from the news, away from the internet, and with books and pen and paper will help. But, please, whatever you do, don’t feel sorry for me because I’m not the one who needs any help.