What else

IssueJune - July 2024
Comment by Rebecca Elson-Watkins

Well, it wasn’t a May election. Given that I’m writing this on 20 May, I can say this with some certainty!

Another six weeks of this end-stage-capitalism, this dystopian nightmare that Britain has become under the Tories.

We have patients in hospital corridors. We have people drowning in the Channel. We have profoundly disabled people being told they are ‘fit for work’. We have little kids, barely more than babies, dying in mould-infested flats that are not fit to house sewer rats. Councils are on their knees. There is a crisis in the care sector.

We have a PM and a foreign secretary who knowingly supply weapons to be used in war crimes. Streets aren’t being swept. Bins aren’t being collected. Energy bills and the cost of a weekly shop have doubled, almost overnight. The last scraps of industry are drying up and closing down. Landlords, supermarket bosses and energy CEOs are pissing themselves laughing as they spend our hard-earned money on one lunch and call us plebs.

Did I rant a bit there? Good. I meant to rant a bit there.

I love London, I love my maternal hometown of Port Talbot and the rest of Swansea Bay. I love the people of the UK.

We’ve done some cool shit over the years. We’ve also done terrible things throughout history in the name of religion and Empire but, by and large, folx are good at heart.

Which is what makes it so painful to watch what the Tories are doing to this country, because this country is, more than anything, the people.

Not to gloss over Tory environmental destruction (which is devastatingly significant), but the majority of The Nasty Party’s policies are ones which attack human beings.

These policies often choose to fuck with people who are at their most vulnerable, and their most desperate. You might be a child in care or with special educational needs. You might be a pensioner. You might be in a care home, or need care to safely remain in your own home.

You might be disabled, homeless, or fleeing domestic violence. You might have been made redundant. You might be a student. You might be an immigrant. You might be an addict trying to get clean.

You might be stuck in the limbo of an overloaded criminal justice system. You might be living with cancer. You might rent your home, or have a mortgage, like most people. You might be LGBTQ+, especially if you are trans.

If you fit into any of these groups, and many, many more, then the ugly truth is that at some stage in the past 14 years, the Tories have fucked you.

So, with an election coming, what do we do to unfuck ourselves, our fellow Brits, our environment and our national reputation on the international stage?

We campaign. We get busy.

It is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea to get out there and knock on doors and staff stalls and speak to the general public.

I’m autistic, I totally get it. Some days I will talk the legs off the figurative donkey. Some days speaking is a colossal effort.

Which is why it’s important to know that there are more things to do than knocking on doors. I’ve designed and proofread flyers. Stuffed envelopes. Arranged lifts to polling stations for people with mobility difficulties.

Whatever your political flavour, there are a huge variety of things that need doing and never enough people to get it all done in time.

It’s not enough to get out and vote any more.

For those of us who are long-term sick and disabled, our lives are literally on the line. The NHS simply will not survive another Tory government; not as a decent service, free at the point of use for all in need.

For those of us who have kids and grandkids, it’s about having a decent place for them to grow up in, and a decent education. It’s about childcare, and work-life balance.

For those of us assigned female at birth, it’s about not dying in childbirth, or being prosecuted for ending our pregnancies. It’s about our rapists and abusers being held accountable for their actions. It’s about having a safe place.

For those of us who are LGBTQ+, it’s about supporting our trans siblings. It’s about not enduring cuts to hard-won services. It’s about not returning to the dark days of Thatcherism and Section 28.

Please, get out there and campaign. Build those networks and make those plans now. When the election is called, we have to be ready.

Solidarity, comrades. I’ll see you on the doorsteps.

See more of: What else