Thursday, 30 June 2016

It’s easy to bash out Facebook posts and bash each other

I was heartened by the above video link today. If more of us (on all sides, and I am challenged too) focussed on actually doing something about the injustices in our societies instead of just ranting, the world would be a better place. I'm finding the smug 'we were right' rhetoric (and no you are not necessarily ‘right’ yet) of much (not all) of the remain moral high ground headache-inducing (I know, I’m trying to avoid at least some of it! I know where not to look but it is prevalent and I don’t want to be uninformed) although there seems to be less classist, bigoted, intolerant language proliferating as far as I can tell - I have said plenty about the ironic nature of this one dimensional way of speaking about brexiters, so I won't be tempted to wax on, but I am so challenged about the way I use language at the moment; as I believe we all should be. I am also aware of just how much we dwell on the negatives rather than getting out and doing something positive to create meaningful change. I don’t think brexiters should be smug either – they too have not yet been proved ‘right.' We do need to be more considerate of others who have different points of view. If we all just sit in our camps how are we going to ever make peace? Can we be hopeful about the future? If not, for goodness sake, let’s get out there and create some hope.

I also wish Farage would shut up, but we need to all try to begin working towards a better and more inclusive society. I am wary of coming across as lofty myself, but can't we start focussing on more positive things? There is a gaping chasm between rich and poor. Perhaps we need to think more radically about how we share wealth and success? Do we need that spare room? That extra house even - could you let it rent free or for a subsidised rent to a homeless/hostel dwelling family? A struggling student? How can we reach out to new members of our society? Tutor their children - music, extra language tuition? Or better, trade: Teach me how to cook your cuisine or sew or accountancy/economics/maths – I am particularly rubbish at those last three - and I will teach whatever skills I have, should you need some of them? Have a family for dinner once a week, or even once in a while? Collect and share stories - put on more community arts events? Or just have a street party! The referendum just may be the society quake we all need so we can start putting our money where our let's face it, rather large mouths are. And yes, I am the first to admit I have a big mouth! Let's be big in the right way, though.

Personally I think it's better that racists are exposed and dealt with. Cancers breed in the dark. We need to bring everything into the light and begin to tackle things. Racism is an evil that exists in the hearts of men and women - the referendum simply emboldened them. Well, lets be bolder still. Let's tackle it, but in the opposite spirit. We have to model the right way to behave. We have to model love. I challenge us all to go out and do something other than throw stones. For those remainers who are trying to engage in meaningful debate rather than just derision, I salute you. As for the racist brexiters whomever, wherever they are, if I was to meet one, I would say this: "I understand you may feel disenfranchised in some way, but there are plenty of rehab groups out there that will help you deal with the root issues in your life. You need help. Access it. Start at the CAB. Can I help at all?" (this last question requires Mandela-like great character and strength, but we may as well aim high). I don't believe people set out to become racists, they become like this because of what they have been taught or experienced - can we be challenged to engage in some way? If we don't, the problem will get worse.

On this note, please like the page we have set up to tackle racism and share ideas/personal experiences, here:

Don't let's be victims. Let’s not be passive. Engage. It’s easy to bash out Facebook posts and bash each other. But we can get on with things ourselves, we don't need men (and women) in suits to dictate how we live our lives. Let's start a revolution in our own backyard. Whilst the politicians squabble, let's get on with things. Then we can post about them. Instead of causing further division, your sparkling social action might inspire people instead.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Happy Referendum Day!

Happy referendum day! I'm voting for change; freedom and democracy. I believe the decision we make today has the potential to shape our nation in a life altering way. I hope people will vote to have more of a say in that future than we currently do. We are a island nation and there are benefits to being an island. I find the 'no man is an island,' (worn by some of the celebrities) rhetoric particularly lame. To vote to leave is not to vote for isolation; neither is it a cry for war if some of the nonsense that is being espoused is to be believed. I vote not to be subsumed by Europe, though I love our European cousins. Before the EU we got along just fine, and I believe we can again. No relationship should be forged on the threat of what could happen were that relationship not to continue. I vote for independence. I vote for democracy. I vote to have a say in the major decisions that affect the world. I vote, in short, for as much freedom as can currently be mustered and then (if we are able to come out), hopefully we can vote for more, not less!

I also vote as a Christ follower and as someone who despises slavery in every form, bureaucratic or otherwise. Don't forget, this is the country that has given us Wilberforce and many other abolitionists, philanthropists and reformers - look how we influences America to abolish slavery then - and without Europe Mr Obama! And how hard America fought for independence from Britain. It really is a grave thing to give up sovereignty, I believe. As a woman, I would never give up my hard won vote, to give up sovereignty is in the same bracket only worse so. We have a chance to get our sovereignty back before it is too late; if we do not, I believe we will see our best values eroded in the name of liberalism as we know it today.

Unity does not need to mean uniformity; let us cut the ties that bind and forge new ones: with Europe and the world. It concerns me that the time may come where the decisions we make regarding the Middle East will be out of our hands. It is important that Israel remains stable in the Middle East and Britain has always recognised this. I am not sure that our European neighbours will feel the same. This to me, is a terrifying prospect.

Let us take the opportunity to lead (or continue to do so) in the areas of compassion, reaching out to the world and beyond. A vote to leave should not be governed by the fear of the other; our country thrives on inclusion; nor of the fear of being out of pocket: we have, as a nation, always had finer qualities than the focusing on our own pockets: surely, qualities that have always reached out to the world in every sense. Let's exercise them! In the spirit of Wilberforce, let us do something radical and 'dangerous.' Let us go it alone and continue to affect the world as a force for good.