At 4am this morning I was cleaning up shit. Because that’s my job. (Except, as a carer it’s a job I’m expected to to do for nothing. Nothing being very slightly less than the insulting carers’ allowance that those who can’t work alongside caring get. Which is slightly less again than the pitiful minimum wage we are allowed to pay our wonderful employed carers who literally keep us afloat).
But I digress. When I had finished cleaning up the shit and settled my beautiful boy back in bed, I thought I might as well switch on my phone to see the full horror that this Friday the 13th had brought – for him, and for all of us, but particularly my friends across the border in England who have none of the protection of a devolved power.
It will bring the breakup of the UK;
It will bring deaths from shortages of medicines such as anti-epileptics;
It will bring despair on disabled people;
It will bring starvation to children;
It will bring runaway climate change and all the torment that will come with it;
It will bring more disrespect for women and other groups with protected characteristics;
Let’s just say I couldn’t go back to sleep…
A few hours later I walked out into the pouring rain to take my daughter to swimming (oh, the irony) and the world seemed surprisingly little changed. Nothing was on fire. There were no riots. No screams of anguish. Just a gentle, dripping, sadness. We had known all along that this would happen. Now we just know the scale. We know that there are even fewer people who care than we thought. We know that those of us who do have a conscience will have more to do.
When I was sixteen I helped my parents deliver leaflets and knock on doors for the Conservative Party. I did it because I was selfish, stupid, possibly indoctrinated. I did it because I was a looked-down upon, picked-on, no-one amongst my schoolmates and I wanted to be different – how fucked-up is that! I did it because they were my parents and I WAS SIXTEEN. There was little to lose, wasn’t much to choose, between centre-left and centre-right – it was just a game. When we lost I felt desolated. Because we’d lost both the election and the argument. We’d lost the game.
Now I’m forty and I’ve lost again. But I don’t feel like a loser. This time I feel strangely at peace and strangely energised. At peace because I know I did the right thing. Energised because now we have a real battle to fight. Gone is the weakened hung parliament. We have a fully-fledged occupying enemy to fight. This is not a game. We have vulnerable people to protect, voiceless souls to speak up for, injustices to right, a planet to save.
Politics is not a game. It doesn’t matter which way I voted or whether I won or lost. What matters is what we do about it. More shit is going to happen. Let’s roll up our sleeves and clean up the shit.