I have been thinking a lot about the future, and my place in the world. and while looking back at previous blogs, I realised that I've been thinking about this for a lot longer than I initially realised! Last year I had a very honest moment, thinking about my passions, my skills, and how I could combine them and make use of them. I realised that I was deeply passionate about theatre and the arts (obviously) but also empowerment and helping others. I had always drifted in and out of charity involvement in the past, but this epiphany helped me to recognise that this was something that made me happy beyond monetary recompense.
It may seem strange, but it was the shocking murder of MP Jo Cox that led me to my most recent epiphany; the details that came out about her life, her work and the type of person she was - I was looking at the type of person I wanted to be. I made a tentative decision then that if Jo Cox, with all of her empathy and talent, decided that politics was the way for her, then maybe it could be the way for me as well?
Image Source: picturequotes.com
But then the referendum happened, and suddenly politics was everywhere. It started as easily dismissed newspaper articles, snippets on the ten o'clock news, and clickbait that was quickly scrolled past on social media. It grew and became grotesque; something that reached its tentacles into almost every home in the country, sometimes tearing that home apart before slithering onward. And everyone became a politician. I initially accepted this with a dismissive eyeroll, but it sucked me in too, and soon I was watching every debate, reading every article, researching facts and figures to see whether claims from both sides stacked up, talking with friends to gauge opinion and find out more. I was hooked. It was like a damned drug.
And then Jo Cox. Someone who had done so much good, and had so much good left to do. I am slowly but steadily coming to the realisation that in order to get your voice heard and, by proxy, enable others to be heard as well, is through politics. A friend who runs a charity reluctantly agreed with me, in that even the most well-meaning of charity organisations often find themselves aligning with political lobbies and pressure groups in order to project their messages.
@neilslorance on Twitter
I want to be the one to help. I want to be the one to make that change and be that good in the world.
So, in the first of the baby steps I'm taking, I joined the Liberal Democrats. Yes, I know it sounds like I would have joined Labour, and maybe, given my roots I should have, but I didn't.
Image Source: libdems.org
This is why:
Read that paragraph from the LibDem website. Tell me that's not the kind of society you want to live in. It seems almost Utopian, I know, but surely working together for something better is the best thing you can do when things seem bleak? Most especially when things seem bleak. Seriously, read the rest of the Preamble to the Constitution - it's a manifesto for a better world. At least in my view.
I accept that during the coalition the Lib Dems got things wrong, but they got a lot right as well, and they restrained the worst excesses of a Conservative government - for example, no, they didn't abolish university fees, but they did manage to get a cap, against the Tory objective of unrestricted charges. Sometimes you have to hedge your bets, and who can honestly say that they've never got something wrong? (It's just that most of us don't get things wrong on a national or international stage!)
Image Source: libdems.org.uk
It's my feeling that the two main parties, Conservative and Labour, have become ossified through so many years see-sawing in and out of power. Both parties tore themselves apart in the aftermath of the referendum - although the Tories have, T1000-like, coalesced once more. The Liberal Democrats are the only party that have remained strong and united. I read the Preamble and found that my personal values align with the Party values, I spoke to 'Lib Dem Newbies' on Facebook and found the community welcoming, diverse and accepting. I did look at the other party websites, and I also spoke with my local party representative before making the decision to join. It was a considered, thought out choice.
In the aftermath of Jo Cox's murder, all MPs made a solemn pledge to moderate their language, and be more respectful, as it was accepted that perhaps their 'charged' speech could have contributed to the atmosphere which fostered conditions that made the man feel compelled to act. I estimate that this pledge lasted all of about two hours and forty-three minutes before it was business as usual. I find it sickening. It's repulsive to watch grown adults hiss, and boo, and jeer at one another, forcing the speaker to shout over the din. Maybe I'm wrong, but I have yet to see a mud-slinging article from the Lib Dems, hurling derogatory comments left, right and centre (pun intended). This kind of juvenile behaviour across the board is degrading and disrespectful and I can't fathom how these people are leading our country - although it certainly explains a lot...
Confucian political theory
On June 24th the country announced that change was wanted and needed. I feel that the direction of this 'change' was mismanaged and unnecessary, but it has brought to the surface a lot of things that many were content to ignore as they simmered away, waiting for a time to boil over. Change is needed, it is vital now, and I don't think that our current government or opposition can provide that, because they are too afraid of their pinkie-fingers slipping off the precipice of power.
It has been said that the vote to Leave was more a vote against the establishment rather than a vote against Europe, per se, Well I am not the 'establishment', I am not from a privileged, sheltered background; I didn't go to private schools or posh universities and only made the decision to complete my degree when I was nearly 30.
But I have a voice and I want to use it for good. This is why I joined the #LibDemFightback
** Also, if you have the time, please check out Jo Cox's Fund on Go Fund Me **