Maud shares her personal reflection on the 2019 UK general election.
I didn’t stay up last night, the eve of election results, I was tired and I went to bed. What would staying up achieve other than to make me exhausted? But shortly after 4 am I woke naturally. I went down to watch the television to find a very clear result; a win for the Conservative Party and a mandate to see us through the EU exit.
So what are my reflections; well I am wearing the most makeup I have worn for a while including some very silvery eyeshadow and I’ve got my big hoop earrings in. I have gone to school to watch my daughter receive a certificate in assembly and now am at work. For me, life has started today almost the same as yesterday. But I am not reliant on foodbanks, I am not an EU citizen living in this country anxious about my future status, my children’s school is able to stay open for 5 days a week and manages to offer nurture as well as education to the children, I am not fleeing my country because of the climate emergency or because of war and I have received excellent care and oversight for my health condition.
I can understand why many are fearful, we have not heard much in recent months to be anything but. I can understand why if you are facing any of the situations I have listed above you might be fearful. I can also understand why friends of mine were worried about security, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and what various tax promises would mean for their family. Fear was definitely at play in this election.
Life is almost the same as it was yesterday, but it’s not. I am living in a country with an election result that makes me feel detached, makes me feel like I am for the most only speaking to, working with and friends with people who share my political perspectives. One comment I saw on facebook yesterday was ‘if my newsfeed is anything to go by, we are in for a socialist revolution’ we aren’t (but you don’t need me to tell you that). How many of us could say the same, that we spend too long on social media sharing articles to the same group of people who in turn share articles to the same group of people and so on and so on?
Then I come to consider the theme of Yearly Meeting Gathering 2020, in which it speaks to allyship. A word that already is causing confusion; perhaps because allyship will require us to move beyond our circles; will require us to work with others rather than assume we know what’s best and what people want and act from that place of surety.
‘Allyship is not an identity; it is a lifelong process of building relationships based on trust, consistency, and accountability with marginalized individuals and/or groups’
In terms of where I go to next, I will step forward in faith and I will work with those elected to ensure that voices are heard and pray that as a country we begin to heal the divisions that have only risen in recent times. But I won’t be doing this on social media, because I want to be out there talking and learning and listening from everyone – not just people like me.
We can be drawn into; this party is good, this party is bad; we are right, they are wrong; we are caring, they aren’t. I don’t think this is true or helpful. I don’t think it will help us move forward and it’s not a narrative I want to engage with.
A friend sent me a meme this morning, in which Pooh asks Piglet who they voted for. ‘Labour’ replies Piglet. ‘I voted Conservative’ says Pooh.
‘Are we still friends?’ asks Piglet ‘Yes yes, we’re still friends’ Pooh replies
Allyship definition: www.peernetbc.com/what-is-allyship
Maud Grainger is Faith in Action Programmes Coordinator for Woodbrooke. She has experience of and passion for environmental, social justice and interfaith work. She is interested in how we live our witness in the world and community activism.