Some post-election thoughts.

Have waited a couple of days for the news to sink in. If you don’t live in the UK, you may or may not know that a Tory (Conservative, right-wing) government was elected with a majority.

The vitriol on social media has been astounding. I am very, very disappointed, but am not comfortable with insulting people who voted/think Tory. I do find it hard to understand though, but that doesn’t mean I’m right and they’re wrong, just that I feel very differently about life.

It was a democratic election. Nobody rigged any votes (that I’m aware of, it tends not to happen here). Nobody got threatened, hurt, or killed because of their point of view. I accept that.This is what the majority of the UK want. And that’s the trouble with democracy, really. An awful lot of people have to put up with what even more people choose. But the alternatives are worse.

I do think a different voting system would be fairer. Proportional representation, for example. (see this page from the BBC). Scroll down that page to see how many votes it took to elect each MP. There is a huge, ridiculous differential.

The resignation of the leaders of three parties, one major and two minor, is also very sad. On a personal level, it will free all three of them (Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage) to get some sleep and spend some time with their families. On a political/professional level, it’s a disaster. Nigel Farage’s politics I find particularly repellent, but nonetheless he is a human being and deserves compassion, if not my vote.

What’s worrying now is that with a clear, if small, majority, the Tories now have a mandate. Not just permission, a mandate. To do what? to continue taking money off the most vulnerable in our society. There are thousands and thousands of people who have to go to food banks. You can’t just turn up at a food bank because you fancy some free food. You have to be assessed by the state machinery, then, if you qualify, you receive vouchers which the food bank will exchange for food.

I would just like to live in a kinder, safer society. A society where people who need help aren’t demonised as “shirkers” or “scroungers”. (As in “workers vs shirkers”). I would like to live in a country where there aren’t any “zero hour” contracts. How can you possibly plan a budget when you don’t know if you’re going to get work each day until you actually get up in the morning? I’d like every person in the country to feel valued, and necessary, and part of the whole. Instead of which, we have a huge sub-culture where people are just so ground down and feel so hopeless, they don’t even bother to vote. Even though they are the people whose vote would make so much difference to us all, and especially to them. I actually think we should have compulsory voting, like in Australia. With a choice on the ballot paper “None of the above”.

And the injustice of it all makes me very angry and sad. Sad enough to actually cry about it. If tax were properly collected from everybody, including big business, and the bank CEOs didn’t award themselves huge bonuses, the deficit and the debt would be easily sorted out, without punishing the needy.

There is a view held among some of the upper classes which is that rich people are rich because they are inherently superior to the rest of us, and that poor people are poor because they’re just stupid. There are other nasty little tentacles to this sort of thinking: eg prostitutes do their work because they like lots of sex, and are therefore just sluts, homeless people deserve to be homeless, and so on and so on. Now. The Tories won’t actually admit this, but their coded soundbites (eg workers vs shirkers) show that this must be how they think. Why else would the rich continue to become richer, while the poorer become poorer? It’s a form of eugenics. Repellent.

Enough for now. I need to come to terms with what’s happened. That we’re in a minority now. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still continue the struggle for a fairer, more decent society.

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