Abuse that made me stronger
I'd had some pretty awful on-line abuse this week. This led me to screen-grab, report and block several people, who I’d challenged about their proven fake-news and misrepresentation. What became obvious was they were spewing out stuff they wanted to be true and were enraged when I pointed this out. I’ve been challenged, by a few, to state what I really think.... and spent far too much time writing separate replies.
So, I want my reasoning written down. Doing so I realised I wanted to explain to my 4 Grandchildren what I tried to do in 2019 when we were faced with such a big decision...A sort of "What did you do in the war Granda?" I wrote this first on Facebook and I have been warmed by the responses, on-line and directly....
Spot on John! - Magnificent effort John - Brilliant, so right and deep down honest. - I'll be holding my breath on the 12th.- Well said John, thoughtfully put together and yes, in agreement. Keep strong! - Well said John - I can't understand why so many people can't get some good common sense into their vision of Britain's future - Thanks for the honesty - Could have said all that myself but not as well - Thanks - Food for thought, thank you - I'm hoping I gain sufficient wisdom to do my bit to assist our region, our country and a brighter future.
an updated version....
What did you do in the Election Grandad?
I despaired but I acted..
I’ve been active on Social Media, Blogging, tweeting Facebooking and, as we get closer to #Election2019 I’ve been (increasingly desperately?) trying to encourage people, on-line, to look at the facts, the statements actually made, and at what proper arguments are being offered. A lot of my current work (ironically about encouraging Critical Thinking - more on that in 2020) has been put aside because I wanted to try and affect voting intentions. I can't understand why most of my fellow countrymen and women seem to be carrying on as if the election is not happening! We seem to sleepwalking into a potential disaster. Even worse many are not thinking critically, or deeply, or even at all about their vote. I’ve despaired, especially, about the amount of blunt opinion offered as fact, tribal labelling and band-wagoning, sharing of unproven posts and lies, in this campaign. This has been especially true of the Conservatives but other parties have been at it, albeit at a less blatent level.
Politics is not simple but we only have one cross.... this BLOG is about where my cross will go - some may be surprised....
First, I’m no longer a member of a political party. I left Labour years ago, at Corbyn’s unwillingness to work with all his MPs and his lack of leadership skills - yes he dithers. I often like his eventual landing places but he misses the bus far too often. I do flirt with LibDems but find the Revoke stance really problematic. I have rarely felt trust for the Conservatives since the damage done by Heath and Thatcher but I have warmed to some individual Conservatives...
I am attracted to straight, honest, liberal minded politicians and thinkers who want to build a more caring, inclusive and thoughtful society - one that looks after all our fellow citizens. So, I have come to realise I’m not a “party political” animal.
I see decent people in all parties, except the extreme right and far, far left. But we are all seeing fewer in the Conservatives, after Johnson’s bizarre, pique of a purge, of people like Dominic Greive and Sarah Wolstenholm. There are many good politicians in Labour, LibDems, Greens, SNP & Plaid and amongst the Independents.
I am sure I can judge the goodies - because I read and follow politics. Why can't more of us spot the best? I'd argue these best politicians can be defined as having ethics and values upheld by all the major religions (not the extreme wings) and by the sensible Humanists. The goodies are perhaps best described as believing (as I passionately do) in the UN Declaration of Human Rights and Rights of the Child. Read these and dare to disagree UN Rights If I’m pushed for a labels I’d say I'm a Liberal Socialists, a Christian Democrat....
3 Big policy areas will affect my vote
FIRST I’m convinced that our biggest threat to us all is the Climate Emergency - so that’s crucially important for my vote.
SECOND of course is Brexit BUT (and this is important) I do not think Brexit was, or is, actually about Brexit - it was about successive and recent (esp Tory) governments ignoring huge swathes of the population, largely the poor, for years. So, those disadvantaged by austerity, rebelled when they were offered a too simple a solution and told to how to vote. We all know, deep down, we were duped and lied to in the (advisory) referendum in 2016. I think and believe that Brexit would be a huge, mistake for, if nothing else, the spiritual truth that we are better off working with our neighbours - even though it’s tough and there are clearly issues to be put right in the EU.
I am not convinced, like so many seem to be, by the far too simplistic “Get it done” - it will not be done by the first act of withdrawing - read the words.... The trade deals will give us years of more wrangling... and I fear this could well herald to an even worse NoDeal in 2020.
THIRD (and linked to BREXIT) is Austerity. This has been a massive body blow to our communities up and down the UK. I have spent two decades working, professionally, in over 80 Local Authorities in England, Wales and Ireland - stemming the decline of Education and Community Services and helping build new strategies and sole-trader businesses to try and cpe with demand. I have seen how austerity has hits schools and services for young people hard, really hard. It must be stopped and reversed.
Ask me which politicians will act to deal with my BIG THREE and you’ll get a long list of names. To repeat I see them in almost all parties (except the extreme right and far right) but fewer in the Conservatives after Johnson’s purge. There are many good politicians in Labour, LibDems, Greens, SNP, Plaid...
The main task is Rebuilding a divided UK
My careful reading, discussing and critical thinking led me, in 2016, to what I think is a sensible “rebuilding the country policy” of putting any actual deal to leave the EU in a People’s Vote against "Remain". I argued this for Theresa May's 2018 deal, Boris Johnson's 2019 deal and would do for Jeremy Corbyn's 2020 deal. This is the only way I can see we, as UK citizens, having a chance to vote on a reality and not on a travesty of lies, false facts, conjecture, opinion and unclear outcomes . That's why, I've been on all 4 of the People's Vote Marches. I cannot see why more of us can't see the logic here.... Yes let's Get it Done but for, all our sakes and especially the poor, the vulnerable and the young -let's take time to do it properly.
BUT the BIG issue is now Boris Johnson
BUT as the electioneering draws to a close I’m increasingly appalled at the idea of having Boris Johnson as our Prime Minister! I dread it happening. It literally keeps me awake at night. He is a proven liar and racist - check the facts in my last BLOG below or click on this LINK. He has dubious morals and many who know him well describe him as having huge character faults. He is running, or rather being run, as a cowardly, bumbling, hearty fool, who means no wrong.... He’s a better educated Trump and so more dangerous (follow the money). I fear he might win if my fellow countrymen and women continue to fall for this pantomime of a politician and are duped into voting Conservative.
My local constituencies
Johnson’s base, the equivalent to Trump's “rustbelt”, could well become the Leave voting Old Labour areas like Mansfield, Ashfield and Bolsover. I know all 3 constituencies very well - I have lived, taught and worked in them since 1970. There are many people: family friends, colleagues and students I know very well indeed. I know and fear too many of these are not thinking deeply, or much at all, about politics. I also know they are prey to fake-news and that they are being agitated to vote tribally. The Conservatives are targeting these areas and I can hear those I know mutely mouthing the slogans.... "Take back control, Get it Done," Local Facebook groups are rife with the lies and awful slurs of the right with racism, supremacy and jingoism being celebrated. There is so little proper detail and argument. That makes me despair. So, I fear many will vote for Boris Johnson and it was challenging posts on these sites that led to the worst abuse I have ever received last week. I have accepted I have lost and will lose "friends" and sense, I am seen as a radical in my own country - that's sad but to be seen as a traitor, idiot, enemy of the country - all surrounded by the worst abuse they can muster up. It would be funny if it wasn't so stupid and thank you friends who have messaged support.
So what will I vote?
My constituency is Bolsover - I really like the Liberal Democrat candidate Mark Fletcher but I can’t afford to split the anti-Tory vote.... sorry Mark. So, I’ll be voting for Dennis Skinner Labour, as I always have done before. Yes, I know he's a Brexiteer but, as I sadi, this isn;t simple. He’s been a brilliant constituency MP but he is being targeted by the Tories and I do believe and respect so his "sea green incorruptability"
My ideal outcome for this election?
I’d want a hung parliament with a high Labour, LibDem, SNP, Plaid, Green, Independent number of MPs who would (have to) form a coalition, with, eventually, a statesman/woman as PM. I could name a few. And, sadly, on present performance, Jeremy Corbyn would not be one of these - he does not naturally and quickly enough think strategically as a leader.
And what about your vote?
Well, I'd argue my main point - ANYONE but Boris Johnson as our leader and so a vote for the Conservatives (however good the individual candidate is) is a vote for an educated fool as PM.
Your only way of being sure that doesn't happen is to be practical and vote tactical. Remember, splitting the anti Johnson vote might mean he gets in with fewer votes that those against him.
Check out these sites and weigh in what you know about local circumstances.
May the force of thought be with you.