Whether you are feeling overjoyed or disillusioned following Boris Johnson’s landslide victory in yesterday’s General Election, there are many things to consider about the future of the United Kingdom.
Although he may be our prime minister for the foreseeable future, you do not have to follow in his footsteps. It is up to you how you steer many elements of your future. Choose your own path in life and base it on your own moral being, not someone so disconnected from the majority.
As someone who cried when the exit polls showed such a disregard for so many people within our society, I’d like to offer a few suggestions. These are things that I will be trying to do over the coming days, weeks, months and years. Some, I am already doing; others, I must consider.
Consider others in difficult situations
That is such a broad statement. We are living in a society where it seems that the poor just keep getting poorer. The gap between rich and poor appears to be enormous. Food bank usage is at an all-time high. Any number of us are just one step away from being in poverty and needing to rely on others’ help to survive. So, how can we consider others?
Really easy things to do:
- When you go shopping and see a 3 for 2 offer, buy them and add the third (the free one) to the Food Bank collection area. If there isn’t one in your supermarket, head over to the Trussel Trust website for details of where to drop your things off to.
- Buying a new outfit? Grab a pair of gloves, a wooly hat or some thermal socks. Give them to a homeless charity.
- Staying in a hotel, but not using the complimentary toiletries? Scoop them up and donate them to a homeless charity too.
- If you have unwanted clothes, toys, toiletries etc, that are still in good condition, consider getting in touch with a local refuge, hostel or shelter as they are crying out for donations.
- Have you or your child been given too many Christmas presents? Are there other parents in your area who would benefit from some extra toys? Perhaps the local nursing home could make use of some boxes of biscuits. If you do not require something, pass it on.
- When you are in a local café, ask if they take part in a pay it forward scheme. This is where you would buy an extra cup of tea or coffee, perhaps even a bacon sandwich, which can then be used for someone vulnerable at a future date (it won’t have been prepared when your order was placed – don’t panic!).
- If you have a local friend who is struggling to make ends meet or finding it hard to make time for preparing meals, why not offer to support him/her and cook an extra lasagne for their family? A simple gesture like that can mean so much and does not cost you much in terms of time or money.
Do not give up
Although it may seem as though the battle has been lost and that we must succumb to the same way of thinking as a bigot*, it is not time to give up.
What can you do to keep fighting for justice and ensuring equality for all? Whether your local MP is Tory, Labour, Lib Dem, Green, SNP etc, make sure that you write to them and tell them if you feel strongly about certain issues.
A local Lib Dem councillor organised a protest at the railway station because disabled access is impossible to one platform. She urged others to join her. Making noise can make a difference and lead to positive change. Being disappointed in the man at the top does not mean that we cannot force positive change lower down the ranks.
Signing petitions may seem like a pointless thing to some people, but if the result of one makes just one person sit back and think, ‘He has a valid point,’ then it is absolutely worth doing.
Do not abuse the system
If the leaked NHS files are correct, then we will be in for a bumpy ride when it comes to healthcare. However, we have already been struggling to make doctors’ appointments, get the right meds and operations being cancelled left, right and centre. Ensuring we do not abuse the system by heading to A&E for a cold or getting paracetamol on prescription are really easy things to do to support the NHS to stay on its feet. If you don’t need an appointment that you have booked, cancel it. Someone else may have been waiting weeks for one. Just being thoughtful and showing consideration to a system that has looked after us, most of us since birth, is vital.
Now, you may well be sitting there thinking, “Oh, shut up!” and that’s your right to think that. However, I endure endless sharing of tiresome Love Island stories, news and gossip, without telling the people doing it to stop. Politics is not just a topic for discussion in the run up to and the immediate aftermath of an election. It impacts our everyday life. Imagine being dictated to that you could only discuss food during the showing of MasterChef. How about only talking about football during the world cup? If I had an endless supply of money and no financial concerns, as well as a cold heart when it comes to the rest of society, perhaps I could sit back and not be concerned with what is happening in our country. However, this is not the case for me and never will be.
*Boris Johnson’s track record includes: referring to Muslim women as ‘letterboxes’; calling gay men ‘bumboys’ and numerous other disgusting and derogatory things.