Choose love not hate, choose hope not fear

What an unbelievable election this has turned out to be! It’s been the most important and exciting election in my lifetime, and as much as I despaired when Theresa May U-turned into it, I’m incredibly proud of the positive reaction from the people of the UK.

Regardless of the outcome, a movement is happening, people are demanding change. Many people have taken an interest in politics for the first time in their lives, especially  young people,  and millions have registered to vote . People are actively questioning the inequalities in the UK and talking about the issues that matter in the country, such as the failings of austerity and the disastrous consequences of cuts to the public sector. People are realising that despite what everyone keeps telling them, there is another more equal and fair way to run the economy.

And whats more, these newly active young voters and activists will continue to have a positive impact on the future of the country long after all the old Tory die-hards have died off.

Jeremy Corbyn has had an amazing campaign, and has been greeted like a pop star wherever he has spoken. Audiences thousands strong have clamoured to shake his hand and chant his name. I’ve never seen anything  like it.

JC gateshead.jpg

Theresa May has sulked about in the shadows, manipulating press conferences, staging speeches in deserted warehouses to a handful of carefully selected supporters, and generally done her best to avoid any meaningful form of debate.

TM warehouse

The Labour manifesto is one of the most inclusive, forward thinking and wide reaching economic strategies the UK has ever seen. One that is realistic,  fully costed and one that addresses poverty,  inequality, the environment, health,  education,  security and everything else. The Tory’s presented a lame document, which led to a series of U-turns, and offers no solutions to address any of these problems faced by the majority in our society. Their uncosted manifesto won’t shelter the homeless (who have more than  doubled since 2010) or feed those dependent on food banks (which has increased by nearly 3000% in seven years) and despite being the 5th richest country in the world it will do nothing to alleviate the circumstances of poverty that 5 million of our children live in.

The two dreadful terrorist incidents are probably what this election will be most remembered for, but also for the way that the country came together in unity to promote peace and love in the aftermath. The fundraising, the concerts, the poetry,  the stories of great bravery, free taxi rides and people holding onto their pints will be what binds us together as a country goes forwards.

The difficult truths of her failings as Home Secretary that have been unearthed through these two devastating attacks will haunt Theresa May for the rest of her short career as PM. And we are now more aware than ever that dealing with terrorism is a complex process, and that our Government is in part responsible for enabling the environment in which terrorist attacks can occur. The indiscriminate bombing of countries without a care for the humanitarian ramifications of that slaughter, and then systematically turning our backs on the very people we have made homeless, and stateless is every much as relative as slashing the number of police on the streets in the UK.

The funding and support of terrorist organisations, encouraging  them to fight as proxies for the British state is as responsible for terrorism, as the selling of arms to Islamist jihadi supporting Saudi Arabia is.

And the post Brexit increase in hate crime and racist abuse facilitated and supported by the xenophobic ranting of hate preachers like Katie Hopkins also contributes to a widening of the cultural divide in our society. A large number of people are in danger of being disenfranchised simply because of the religion that they  happened to be born into.

These problems are far too complex to be dealt with in sound bites; the solutions are long and difficult and require a collective global effort towards peace, not a knee-jerk reaction to scrap human rights laws and regulate the Internet.

We’ve come a long way in a few short weeks, and we’ve got a lot further to go, but we can change all this, we have the power to change all of this.

Change can and does happen.

We need to be engaged and we need to hold the people in power to account.

We need to vote the Tory’s out.

We all need to vote, and we all need to encourage everyone we know to vote.

Never mind the weather – 30 minutes getting rained on, or another 5 years of being shit on, the choice is ours, it is in our hands.

Regardless of the result on June 8th the movement is happening, we can create a fairer society for all, no matter who is in power, and and we need to keep that momentum going.

But most of all…

We need to choose love not hate, and we need to choose hope not fear.

Peace.

Cliff

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