A guest post by Samuel Miller
Yes. The UK is a pretty dark and forbidding looking place just now. And yes, there has been a marked rise in intolerance, societal division, austerity, isolationism and wealth disparity. Seems whichever way you look there’s anger, fear and uncertainty on the rise. As for the government where the buck stops? Probably the most reactionary, inept and dogma driven Conservative government of anyone’s memory. A party and government that has driven a horse and cart through standing international agreements, devolution settlements, partnerships and alliances by the by. A party and government whose name has become a byword for backstabbery and division. What else can you say that hasn’t been said of them already?
Their honourable opposition? Neither honourable nor very big on the whole opposing thing apparently. Their own recent history in both government and opposition, hasn’t exactly entitled them to any moral high ground. Besides, they’re far too busy these days abstaining needlessly, or having a bit of a disagreement among themselves, to act as any kind of break to yer breaks off Tories. In a certain light, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you couldn’t slip a fag paper between them and their chooms across the floor anyway. And don’t get me started on the state of the mainstream media. Our heroes. Our watchdogs. Absent without leave for quite some time is probably the kindest description possible.
So yes. Things do look pretty dark.
Hope IS stronger than fear though you know. And it’s why Scotland will, hopefully someday soon, become fully self governing again. Not too much is needed mind. Just a spark. It’s all it ever takes. A spark of hope that drives a determination and ambition to change and become something better.
Today? Next year? Ten years? I have no idea when to be honest, though I do know when I’d like it to be. I’m not a seer. I’m not some lettered or well read professor type. I don’t have access to think tanks with cadres of number crunchers and pollsters at my beck and call. I’m not even a writer. I’m just a bod with an opinion and a bit of life experience. Same as every one of you out there really. Oh, that personal opinion thing? That’s quite important as it turns out and we’ll get to that in a minute.
What I do know? Is that it will happen. The process has already begun and it began with the first person willing to believe there was a better way. It’s also going to happen because, if the concept of an independent Scotland didn’t already exist? Someone would have to invent it. Someone would have to invent the concept of a country and a system of government that answers to its population. One that’s directed by their needs, their hurts and their aspirations.
A government and practice of politics that doesn’t punish its population for the legislative mistakes they’ve made themselves. One that doesn’t scapegoat, divide or demonise its population to suit political agenda or self interest. A government that offers service, care, belief in the potential of its entire population. One that doesn’t care about where you come from, only where you choose to be, what you do whilst you’re there and the legacy you leave behind for future generations. Happily we don’t need to invent that concept. We have it here already.
Pie in the sky? An impossible utopia? Some folk would say that if you’re not trying for that, then you shouldn’t be in the job. Also? I like pies (which explains the shape) and whilst I’ve never been to utopia, it sounds awfy nice.
Which takes us neatly back to the subject of you.
Most people think that great events and movements in history are brought about by and are certainly remembered for, the big names. Individuals. Great statesmen and women, leaders, orators, philosophers and such. They tend to take all the credit for pivotal times of change. Which is, y’know, fair comment I suppose. Also tends to lend itself to the whole idea that people should wait around for someone ‘great’ to come along and rescue them from their misery right enough.
Seems to me though, that it’s the ordinary person who makes history happen. Or rather, the ordinary people. That’s folk like you and me mainly. It’s our needs and aspirations, our collective actions and will, which bring about change. Kinda why those and such as those decided a long time ago, that it’s better to direct the mood and the opinion of the ‘ordinary’ person in the street. For if there’s one thing which terrifies establishment politicians and the establishment they serve? It’s that you might have an opinion and a will of your own. That you have needs other than their needs. Standards of care for your fellow citizens better than theirs and a very definite idea of how service to ALL the population should be conducted.
They’re more than fully aware that if enough of those ordinary people (that’s us again) get together and determine their politicians are talking pish, getting out of hand and robbing them blind? There isn’t a thing they could do to prevent that population showing them the door and that would simply never do. Leading us by the nose and/or dividing and subdividing the collective will of a population is something they’ve become awfully good at over the years as a result. Understandable really, why the parties in favour of the Westminster system have become a tad on the nervous side of late.
You know the difference between caring and uncaring. You know the difference between service and self interest. You’ve learned that your opinion on their stewardship matters. You’ve learned you can hold your representatives to account for their actions. You’ve learned that you have the ambition and determination to change things for the better if you want to.
Ordinary people, doing extraordinary things.
All it took to kick the whole thing off? Was that spark of hope.
P.S. This will be my last post before our host returns. Once again, I’d like to thank readers for bearing with my ramblings over the past few weeks and for your contributions below the line. You’re the bestest. 🙂