So on Saturday I got up at 4.30am to get a bus to take me to London for the Put it to the People march. Considering my Saturday’s normally consist of getting some jobs done and then relaxing on the sofa listening to my team get beat this was no small effort. I finally got home just after 10.30pm!
But the UK remaining in the EU is important to me. I hate what’s happened to the country over the last 3 years or so with the levels of hate crime rising and people from other countries treated with more suspicion and made to feel less welcome. We’re not this big country that can get by on it’s own. We’re stronger when we work in partnership with other countries. I want my children to be able to freely travel, work and study in other European countries. I know people who have already lost their jobs as a result of Brexit and I know people who’s vital supplies of medication have already been affected.
Saturday was a reminder of just how brilliant this country can be. I don’t know how many people were there but a million is probably an under estimate. There was people of all ages, all faiths, from all parts of the country. We didn’t come close to seeing any sign of trouble. Strangers came together and sang, dance made new friendships looked out for one another. It made me proud to be British again and that is not a feeling I have had in a very long time.
So what did it achieve? Only time will tell I suppose. Whilst that many people taking to the streets cannot be ignored I’m not naive enough to think that our PM is suddenly going to change her mind or her so called deal!
What I do know is that if things do go badly wrong I want to be able to look my children, friends, family, colleges in the eye and say “i tried to stop it”.
I’ve got to admit it – I’m worried, and I’m not the type to get easily worried. I’m worried about what will happen to the UK at the end of March if we leave the EU. I’m worried about what kind of country we are becoming and what values we are attaching importance to. I worry about my kids future, what kind of world are we leaving for them and future generations, are they going to be able to get jobs, are they going to be able to get their own property (I bloody hope so)? I worry about the rise in knife crime and so many young lives being lost as a result. Then I worry about me – am I doing the best I can, have I reached my potential, could I be doing more?
It’s so easy for these thought and feelings to become overwhelming. I’ve been in that place where I think the answer is to block everything out, to switch off, to not care. It’s not a good place – and the thing is, I do care, I care deeply. I worry about the state of the country but I also get angry and motivated to do something about it. There are lots of causes that I’m passionate about and want to raise awareness of.
I’ve always found it difficult to give my opinion and to say what I want to say. I’m a classic introvert and that’s fine, I’m comfortable with who I am and I’m not going to change to fit someone else’s perception of how I should be. Social media has given me a voice and the confidence to say what I want to say and to give my opinion. If you follow me on Twitter (@jimbobity hint hint) I will give my opinion on a range of subjects and topics. At first I hated being challenged but now I have the confidence to know that there are other people who will agree with me and back me up. I don’t mind getting into a debate with people who disagree, you quickly find out who you can have a healthy discussion with and who is so entrenched in their views that there is no point wasting your time and energy. The confidence that I have developed through Facebook and Twitter gave me the belief and confidence to start my blog.
I’m not naïve enough to believe that I’m always right, I enjoy being presented with opposing points of view that challenge my point of view and I’m happy to admit when I’m wrong.
I mentioned that social media has given me a voice and the confidence to make it heard but it has also given me the confidence to break out of the social media bubble and to start to campaign for different politicians and causes. I am a trustee for a fantastic local charity JpcCommunityFarm. This came about through getting in touch with the people behind the charity through social media first and sharing my passion, knowledge and experience. I would never have had the confidence to do this face to face or in a group. I would immediately believe that there would be someone who would be better than me.
For the past 4 weeks I have given up a couple of hours on a Saturday morning to speak to people in local towns about Brexit and to try and get support for a second referendum. It’s been interesting and there are some people who are not afraid to voice their opinion but on the whole there has been lots of good discussions and it’s good to be with like minded people. In a couple of weeks I’m planning to go to London to march alongside many other people who believe strongly in remaining in the EU. It’s something that feels scary and exciting at the same time – I’ll let you know how it goes!
Has social media led to you getting more involved with particular causes and groups? Let me know x
Have we forgotton how to compromise? I’m using a very general “we” some of you may be brilliant at it.
I ask the question because our brilliant, diverse country seems more divided than ever. It seems that when it comes to certain tissues you need to pick your side, hold and defend it with everything you’ve got even when presented with evidence that completely contradicts your point and destroys your argument.
The most obvious example of this is Brexit. You’re either a Leaver or Remainer. I’m desperate for us to stay in the EU, I’ve campaigned for it, taken part in marches, emailed people, signed petitions, joined groups, tweeted, facebooked the lot. For this I’ve been called a traitor, libtard, snowflake etc. On the other side side I’ve seen leavers called thick, un-educated, racist, gammon, the lists go on.
The country is split and divided more now than I can remember for a long time. Some people were triggered last week because Greggs introduced a Vegan Sausage Roll! I was hoping that 2019 would be the year we started to come back together. Unfortunately I’ve seen no sign of this, I fear that things are going to get much worse before they get better. When Jo Cox was murdered you would have hoped people would have learnt from that awful tragedy. Instead can anybody confidently predict that something similar won’t happen again soon.
So – how do we come back together? It’s got to be by compromise, surely? Look back through history, how are disputes settled when there is no clear winner? They’re resolved by settlements, by each side giving a little in order to feel like they have still gained something. Think about when you have had an argument with a loved one. How did you resolve it? Compromise is not a sign of weakness, it’s a strength. It demonstrates that you’re prepared to listen and accept that the other side may have some vaild points and grievances. That can take courage.
Going back to Brexit , the unfortunate thing is one side will eventually “win” and there is going to be a lot of unhappy people. I guess what we have got to do is stop the name calling and the confrontations and the assumptions about what type of person is a remainer or leaver. I accept that people voted Leave for lots of different reasons and they do have some valid reasons. Having said that, if you voted Leave because you don’t like foreigners or people who have different coloured skin please don’t read this blog or follow me. What we need to do is look at the reasons why people felt the way they did when they voted and start to do something about it. If not, we learn nothing and we remain divided. When this is over there will be no winners, not really. So I hope that there is no gloating or posturing. There is so much work to do to bring us back together. Just remember what it was like when the 2012 Olympics were on. That is the country I love and am proud of!
Knowing that is what this country is capable of gives me hope that we can get it back. We all have a part to play but the press and politicians need to start telling us the truth. If you’re struggling to know who to trust and who to believe, stop and think – what’s in it for this person, what have they got to gain from holding this point of view. It works for me!
On a more positive note my blog received it’s first award from another blogger at the weekend! It made my day, knowing that people are reading this and taking something from my blogs is massive to me.
I would love to know what you think of today’s blog and if you have any examples of when you have had to compromise in order to get an outcome. I would also be happy to try and answer any questions you may have about Brexit, I’m getting slightly obsessed!!
Last week 2 news stories caught my attention, that were just…sickening. I’m struggling to truly put into words the emotions that were stirred by the events.
I’m not going to share any pictures or links to the events, I don’t want to give the perpetrators any notoriety.
So very briefly, on Monday a video was share which showed people burning an effigy of the Grenfell Tower with cut outs of people trapped inside their flats. Then on Friday I watched a news report which showed how a school for people with learning disabilities had been vandalised. The criminals had destroyed toys, the minibuses, graffitied offensive language across the playground – you get the picture.
Your moral compass is seriously off point if you carried out these crimes or thought them funny, especially to target a place where vulnerable children feel safe, secure and happy.
The world is struggling, hate crime is on the rise – especially towards disabled people, racists are more bold and confident to spread their disgusting ideologies, our democracy is under threat from foreign interference and in Britain it looks like we’re are about to voluntarily distance ourselves from our neighbours and make ourselves poorer.
It’s more important than ever to remind ourselves that the world is actually an amazing place and that we are amazing. The two stories I mentioned, 99.999% of people will have found it sickening (no scientific evidence to back this up so don’t quote me)! People were asking, “what can I do to help the school and the children”?As it turned out, a group of volunteers had already come together to repair the damage. When tragedies like Grenfell occur or terrorists attack our way of life people come together, people support each other, the vast majority of us turn to love and compassion not hate or ignorance. We are reminded just how heroic our emergency services are.
It’s so easy to find bad news, we are conditioned to live in fear. Fear sells newspapers, fear sells full stop. If we live in fear we are more likely to spend money on things that we don’t necessarily need but will make us feel a bit better about ourselves and the world.
Good news is harder to find, but it’s there, all around us. Every day millions of people will do something kind. Communities will come together, people will give up their time to help others, a stranger will have done something today to save somebody’s life – and they might not even realise it. You are amazing, always remember that. Never let fear or hate win. Share good news, carry out random acts of kindness, make somebody smile.
As I started with bad news stories, it’s only fair that I redress that and share some stories of kindness and positivity. But first, I want to share a clip that always make me smile and cheers me up!
Just over 6 years ago London hosted the Olympics. My country welcomed the world with open arms. The games makers were volunteers who came together from all walks of life to help visitors feel welcome and showed the best of Britain. In the opening ceremony we celebrated the NHS and the Windrush Generation. During the games we cheered for the winner and we commiserated the loser. In the Paralympics we were truly inspired by some outstanding feats of human endeavour and bravery. People with disabilities were seen as equals. I have never felt prouder to be British and that summer of 2012 felt like a game changer.
6 years later the NHS passed the point of being on it’s knees a long time ago. This amazing institution which should be our country’s proudest achievement is in danger of being sold off to the highest bidder. It’s staff who are angels and heroes walking amongst us are demoralised, deflated and defeated. They finally got a pay rise again this year after 6(?) years but it was immediately swallowed up by the NHS pension scheme. We have nurses having to use foodbanks to feed their families Just think about the NHS for a minute. Free at the point of delivery, regardless of wealth. Think about the times when you or loved ones have had to use it. Now imagine it not being there and instead we have private healthcare ran by the rich for the rich. Not great.
The Windrush Generation – a group of people who answered a call from the UK to make a life here and help rebuild the country after the devastation of the Second World War. A generation now caught up in a “hostile environment” policy which means they may have to provide documentation to prove they have a right to live and work here. Not just one document but enough paperwork to prove where they were each year they have lived here! People who have made a life here, raised families, contributed to society, paid taxes no longer made to feel welcome.
Instead of supporting disabled people and people with mental and physical health conditions we call them in for assessments so somebody with no understanding or knowledge of what it’s like to live with their condition on a day to day basis can make an arbitrary decision on how disabled they are and whether they are fit for work. A quick google search reveals countless examples of people who have taken their life after having to go through this process and having their support suddenly stopped.
Then we have Brexit – don’t get me f**”@^g started! One of the worst decisions a country has ever made. I could write many a blog on how we got here. Yes – we made a democratic decision, but it was a bad decision, very bad. It was a decision made on the back of lies, false promises, bad advice. The Leave campaign is under investigation and should face criminal charges for over spending. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that the process was interfered with by Russia, except the government isn’t interested in exploring it.
We have made a decision to isolate ourselves and to make ourselves poorer, well I say we, the rich won’t be poorer, they’re already making contingencies to protect themselves whilst telling everyone else that we have to leave. The thing is, we were never dictated to, we are soverign and always were soverign. Any new PM has to go and bow before the Queen and get permission to form a government!! We had a say in any law and decision passed by the EU. I’ve yet to see or hear one valid benefit that we will get from leaving and nobody can seem to name any law that has a negative impact on them.
Aswell as making ourselves poorer the decision to leave has given rise to a lot more hate crime. We are not a united country, we’re well and truly divided. The far right feel confident to take to the streets to make their opinions known leading to clashes with police and we get some horrifying images. We get a known racist Stephen Yaxley Lennon hailed as a hero.
I’ve also taken to the streets (things are that bad) and joined in peaceful and friendly protests to try and stop Brexit. I’ve met some inspiring and beautiful people who give me hope that we can turn things round and bring about a second referendum or a people’s vote, I don’t care what you call it. Everybody I meet just wants our country to go back to that spirit of 2012 where we were equal and we welcomed everybody. We know how good our country can be and at the moment we are a long way from it. Whether we succeed or not at least we will be able to look the next generation in the eye and say “we tried”.