I have received a message from Jason Cridland, co producer of Dorset Eye:
“We must have a plan for both a win and a defeat mate. Many, many people will be distraught if Tories get a majority so we must prepare for it now. Many will need a vanguard and we must be part of it. Whatever happens the next stage is vital. xxx”
He’s right, whatever happens on the 8th, we must go on, either into a new beginning or dealing with what, for me right now (or up till now), is the unthinkable.
I’ve been intensely campaigning for a long time, beginning on March 17th 2012 with ‘A Letter a Day to Number 10’, since then I have gained a modest following and become a part of citizen media though Jason and Debbie, who are now personal friends, and Dorset Eye.
Unlike the mainstream media, we have a moral and ethical care for what we do. Call it conviction politics, or something wider like social responsibility, but whatever we might call it, it comes from a profound personal inner conviction in social justice in which politics plays a central role.
Media outlets are in the vanguard of news and public debate and none more so now than citizen media, which plays a vital role in the furtherance of democracy and democratic engagement and, for want of a better term, social ethics.
So what’s going to happen?
Personally, June 9th is either going to be agony or ecstasy, celebration or profound pain and despair. I’ve pinned my colours to the mast, a nautical term for a determination to fight on even if half your rigging is blown away: to keep going until the end becomes inescapable reality. No one enters a fight to lose, not if they have half a grain of sense, but, and it’s a biggy, losing is therefore all the more devastating for the conviction that preceded it.
I have deliberately not thought about losing, I can’t function as a writer or as an activist by borrowing trouble from tomorrow. I can’t deal in ‘What if’s?’ Conviction is in the now, and conviction also determines my future, which conviction must survive under the best and worst conditions.
So here it is, if we lose I am going to be flat on my arse! Mentally, physically, emotionally and in any other way you can think of. I remember how I felt in 2015 with the awful knowledge that we had another five years of Cameron. This is going to be much worse than that.
The first day will be when the shock hits and the next day(s) may be even worse as the realisation really sinks in. That is not the time to do anything precipitous, like killing ourselves. That’s the time to let it out, scream and shout, break stuff, get help, have someone hold you, phone Samaritans (116 123 on any phone, at any time, in the UK) maybe more than once, or rest, curl up, hug yourself, read a book, watch a film if you can, do something to get your attention away from the distress and the pain, walk, stomp, run, garden, swim, whatever it takes.
Believe this, you and I and millions of others will be going through it. Put something on social media or just browse social media, it’s going to be full of it, you won’t miss it, but as the saying goes, ‘This too shall pass’.
But what if we win after seven long gruelling years of oppression? I am not sure how I am going to react although there will be tears. It will feel like I’ve been holding my breath for seven years and suddenly I can dare to breath again. The feelings I will have will be just as dramatic but in a very different way, they’ll be a cathartic expression of hope held and suddenly realised and that’s going to take a great deal of adjusting to.
I have thought about this, if we have a Labour government on June 9th, ‘What will I do now?’ I am not sure how to describe it, but I guess it’ll feel like I’ve lost my job overnight, just like that. I’ll need an adjustment period at least as long as if we lose.
I’d like to think that there might be a spontaneous mass street party to give us all a chance to give vent to a great collective sigh of relief, not to mention cheers.
Whatever the result there’s no escaping that either way it’s a big deal. Winning will mean, at some point, knuckling down to rebuilding what the Conservatives have so determinedly torn apart. That’s not going to happen overnight, they planned too well and oh too deceitfully to inflict as must damage as they possibly could in their filthy greed for privatisation. The wounds to us, our NHS, education, housing, welfare, front line services, earnings, personal financial security, care services in the widest sense, alienation and divisions are deep.
Whatever happens, we’ll need to pull together. watch out for the vulnerable, those on the sharpest end of society. Life will go on, that’s not so obvious today, but it will and must and every lesson learnt, applied, to fight on or heal and grow. Are we not people, in all our wonderful diversity?
In the end, nothing changes in the need for kindness, care, consideration, love and togetherness. Despite their best efforts, the Conservatives, and the wider neoliberal agenda, have failed to kill those essential human qualities off and always will fail because those are the very same qualities we’ve been using all along to resist abuse and oppression and to fight for the better life we all so very richly deserve.
KOG. 06 June 2017