The UK General Election takes place on 8th June 2017. It’s everywhere and it can’t be ignored so it makes sense that I highlight it in this month’s article.
I am frustrated that we are here again so soon and I am disappointed that the Prime Minister, Theresa May didn’t want to do a live Q&A with the opposition because she didn’t think it would be helpful due to the likelihood that everyone would be “squabbling”. However, squabbling, bickering, insults and deflection of answers, appears to be a regular occurrence in the House of Commons, so I don’t understand what the difference is. Oh, is it because we (the electorate) are all watching? The reality is I/we don’t know Theresa May. We didn’t vote for her, she became PM through the side door and so yes, Theresa you STILL need to prove yourself.
I was disappointed with Jeremy Corbyn as he also didn’t want to take part in the live debates, due to his “If she isn’t going to do it, then neither will I” stance. However, he changed his mind at the last-minute (or did he?). He made a “U-turn” to appear in a seven-way TV debate, whilst May was not for turning. She may wear playful kitten shoes, but she comes across as a steely, hard woman, with no warmth within her eyes or speeches. Her stand in Amber Rudd, Home Secretary, did her no favours. She came across as ‘shouty: too forceful and not very likeable. There were a couple of moments where it seemed as though she forgot that she wasn’t the PM; enjoying centre stage, like the understudy who never gets the spotlight, until now. As a representative, she may have done more harm than good.
Jeremy came across really well, so did Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats and Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party. Paul Nutall, of UKIP, in general, comes across as a bull in a china shop. To me, his energy is exactly like Nigel Farage and full of Trump-like rhetoric.
Each person’s opening and closing statements were very telling as they all attacked May for not being there. Whilst yes she should have been, I really wish they had viewed this platform like a job interview. They had a limited amount of time to tell us why they are the best person for the job, what they will bring to the table and potential suggestions on how things can be improved. Their expressions, coupled with experience and what resonates with us, should be what inspires us to vote.
Society is the way it is because it has been designed and structured this way. It is effectively an institution of people divided into ‘Race’ and Class (society), created in an institution (Parliament), that has an institution (Schools) that prepares us for work in numerous institutions (work). I am “in the valley”, the place of frustration and disappointment. These are general life occurrences but as you can hear, the elections, lack of faith in leaders coupled with Brexit and current terror attacks are at the heart of my moaning and I know I am not alone.
History has taught us that things could be different and if we want it to be different, we have to come up with new ideas. These are important notions to remember whilst I/we are “in the Valley” because even though it is a tough place to be, there is value here.
The term “The value in the Valley” was coined by Iyanla Vanzant and is a reference to her book of the same name. I invite you to hear your frustrations, sense your disappointment and feel your anger. Rather than bathing in it and projecting it onto others, we have to become skilled at transformative anger; using what we feel to drive us to create new possibilities, alternative and better outcomes. History has shown us what this looks like when this hasn’t been mastered and we cannot afford to keep repeating what we know doesn’t
Journalist Rutger Bregman shows what transformative anger looks like through his brilliant Ted Talk Poverty isn’t a lack of character; it’s a lack of cash. He said;
“Martin Luther King didn’t say I have a nightmare, he said I have a dream so here is my dream, I believe in a future where the value of your work is not determined by the size of your pay check, but by the amount of happiness you spend and the meaning you give.
I believe in a future where the point of education is not to prepare you for another useless job but a life well lived.
I believe in a future where an existence without poverty is not a privilege but a right we all deserve…Poverty is not a lack of character (referring to Margaret Thatcher who said Poverty is a personality defect), poverty is a lack of cash”.
As a result, Bregman believes Basic Guaranteed Income, also known as Universal Income could be a viable answer. Finland is currently trialling this idea through a social experiment running for two years, whereby unemployed citizens receive an unconditional monthly sum. Other countries are watching and the idea is gaining momentum.
Voting is a privilege, we have what many are still fighting for, so don’t let a lack of faith in leaders be your excuse not to vote. If you don’t like the options, vote with your heart and perhaps consider standing, forming a new party or creating a service that solves a need. Sow the seeds now, you never know what can come to fruition in four years. Donald Trump is the President of the United States, so was Ronald Reagan and he was an actor first, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was the Governor of California.
As we will be moving away from the European Union, this country needs to let go of the old ways and individualistic views and think about what would make this country work better as a collective, so we can all thrive. There is enough for everyone, but first, everyone has to believe this.
This article began as a moan to highlight current thoughts and feelings as we head towards the general election and by the end of it, here and right now, I hope you can be willing to transform this energy to produce something positive and make considered decisions for you and with everyone else in mind.
We may all be ‘deep in the valley’, but there is value here and we need to step up to get out of it. We need to think bigger, better and make each PM and MP accountable to do what they said they would do. Their job is to serve the public and they need to be reminded of this. To serve they have to listen, present new ideas and take action. To contribute we have to share ideas, think outside the box, take action, show up and be heard.
We have the power and we can make a difference, but you have to show up. Vote.