despairing of politics…

Look, at my age*, I know that my voice counts for nothing (oh, how I wish the same could have been said of all those other ‘old’ people who were allowed to significantly influence the outcome of the 2016 Referendum!).
I no longer matter (well, at least that’s how I feel)… in 10 years’ time I may no longer be around.
But, in 10 years’ time, all my six grandchildren will be eligible to vote.
Sadly, I fear for what our nation might have become by 2030.
Actually, it’s more than fear…
It’s despair.

We have become a nation dominated by bitterness and division (surely the most divided in my lifetime) – largely as a result of the farcical (in my view) decision to hold an ill-defined referendum on EU membership (to placate Mr Cameron's divided Conservative Party). Home Office figures show there has been a sharp increase in racially and religiously motivated hate crime since the 2016 EU referendum. Where the UK used to be regarded as a beacon for stability, we have now become something of a laughing stock around the world.

Two days from now, the UK electorate will have cast their votes and, as things stand (if you believe opinion polls – but, these days, who does?), it would appear that the Tories will be forming the next government with a parliamentary majority of perhaps anything from 20-70 seats?
They will be introducing (virtually unopposed) measures that will include a speedy no-deal Brexit (after going through vague motions of trying to negotiate a last-minute deal with the EU and, of course, failing) together with lots of policies that will benefit the ‘haves’ against the ‘have-nots’. The pre-election ‘promises’ will no doubt be ‘clarified’, but are unlikely to prevent the ongoing privatisation of the NHS, the continuing deterioration of public services and the like.
In Scotland, the SNP is likely to see that the only way for them to remain in the EU is to opt for independence. The Tory UK government will publicly wring its hands at such a prospect, but privately punch the air in celebration (because it will serve only to increase their own power in Westminster).

After nearly a decade in Opposition (and at a time when it should have been only too easy to win arguments against a succession of weak Tory governments), the Labour Party has abjectly failed in its task. There are lots of intelligent, gifted politicians (of all parties) who have the experience and desire to change things for the ‘common good’, but their voices are lost behind Political Party smokescreens. They count for nothing.
Sadly, our political system does not work. Democracy is something of a farce. As things stand, given our ridiculous first-past-the-post electoral process (and where I happen to live), my vote doesn’t count. And, of course, any Party in power certainly won’t want to change a system that ‘works for them’!
Sadly, there seems very little prospect of things changing over the next 5 (or even 10) years.

Even if my vote did count, any chance that my own MP would be able to influence her Party’s political stance on individual issues is something of a pipedream, so what chance do I have? At the same time, we have right-wing biased newspapers/media in this country (and, sadly, I now also feel unable to trust the impartiality of the BBC).
So, like many people, I’m left feeling utterly isolated… and as if I live in a separate ‘virtual’ world where 95% of all my friends have similar views to my own… and yet, there’s clearly another virtual world out there that thinks completely differently… and, frustratingly, that’s the one that counts.

So, at a time when the Climate Change Crisis should be at the very TOP of its agenda, we’re likely to have a new Tory government who will frankly be paying little more than ‘lip service’ to the environment and are far more focussed on cutting taxes (at a time, in my view, when we need to increase taxes to help pay for the NHS, education, mental health, welfare and other ailing public services). I could give you a long list of lies and concerns relating to statements from Tory ministers (although other Parties are hardly innocent bystanders)… but I won’t bother (unless pressed to do so!).
In a recent article in the New York Times (entitled “Britain’s Dirty Election”), one voter admitted that she “was voting for Boris Johnson precisely because he is a proven liar. It shows, she said, ‘he’s human’”.
THERE ARE NO WORDS.

So, yes, I despair. I despair for my lovely, intelligent, articulate children… and I despair for their children (and their children). In 10 years’ time, when my grandchildren can vote (some of them will actually be able to vote within the next 5 years… and who knows, the voting age might have even been reduced to 16 before then?), they will find that their opportunity to influence a world that they love and feel passionately about is in fact absolutely tiny. I can only hope that they will be able to find and encourage others who have similar passions and beliefs…
I live in hope. x
Photo: from Antony Gormley’s “Blind Light” exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, 2007.
PS: * I must stress that I have a number of very lovely friends who are ‘somewhat older than me’… and who remain VERY active and resourceful and who contribute brilliantly to making all our lives worth living… so apologies for the rather negative ‘spin’ regarding my own ‘aged’ status! They’ll probably never forgive me! 

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