It’s less than half an hour to go until the polls close on the 2017 UK General Election, as I begin to write this piece.
I am exhausted. Feel deflated. The tank’s empty and I’ve been running on fumes for some time. I get the feeling that there are plenty of others who are experiencing the same thing as I, all over the country. People have mustered their all to do what they can to bring about positive change in this country, by getting the Jeremy Corbyn led Labour party into government. Many of these people had precious little to give. Financially, mentally, physically and in spirit, we are already at the harsh end of Tory Britain and debilitated by the harsh conditions that we are made to exist in. We’ve dragged ourselves up and screamed in every way we can. Online activism has gone through the roof. Volunteers out door knocking in numbers not seen for years.
It’s not just us who are fighting for our very existence who have been promoting the Labour cause. People with no other reason to connect with politics have become engaged and have learned the truth about how our society and economy is operating. They’re not happy with what they finding out. So many people have woken up in recent years, to how tightly controlled our lives are by a very select few, to our detriment and their financial advantage. People are getting angry.
The question is, are there enough people in this country who have actually woken up? How many are still in the semi-conscious state that our mainstream media have carefully held us in for decades? Are we ready to see the real world, as a populace?
These questions will be answered over the coming hours. Anxiety and uncertainty is at dangerous levels, both for individuals and whole demographics in this country. We can only wait.
My own experience of this campaign has been hugely significant in my life. Some will have read about my own hellish journey through mental health and emergency housing services, both in Labour Bristol and Tory Wiltshire. On the flipside to this, which has been circumstantial and only coincidental to the politics of the time, I have also seen a side of humanity that I thought was becoming extinct.
I started making use of my long dormant twitter account again, in early February 2017. If memory serves correctly, I had around 70-80 followers and had tweeted a few hundred times, maybe. As I write this, those figure have risen to over 3,100 and over 32,000 respectively. The growth has been purely organic, no attempts to buy or use apps or follow groups and hashtags to artificially grow. Connections with genuine, decent people have been plenty and I’ve seen genuine concern and thoughtfulness from like-minded people. When I first became homeless and before I was getting benefits, I received a total of £500 from online donations. This enabled me to eat and keep my phone going, for the all important mental health crisis team and benefits related calls that needed to be made and received. For a few days, while in Wiltshire, it enabled me to eat and also got me the train fare back from Chippenham to Bristol when Tory Wiltshire County Council sent me packing, mental health issues and all.
I’ve seen people devote themselves to promoting the Labour cause in highly innovative, creative and passionate ways. People have shone online in their determination to get the truth out there. To educate people. Then we see the huge crowd that are attending the Labour and Jeremy Corbyn rallies around the country. It is breathtaking. The efforts of volunteers in all areas of the campaign has been inspirational and the learn on the job, campaign work performed by the various Momentum groups has been heartening, to say the least.
People power has brought people together and I hope that those connections endure whatever is to come. We have become a family of sorts. Let’s keep it that way. We could well be needing it. Thank you people. Thank you the whole Labour team, supporters, friends. You have all been amazing! I have been inspired and utterly blown away by you people. My faith in humanity has gone up a few notches, even as times have become darker.
I can’t even bring myself to do any more than wish us all luck. Let’s hope for the result that we’ve all worked to very hard for.