Another Election – Will Voting Make Things Better
June 5, 2017
Theresa May called an election supposedly so she can deliver us a ‘strong and stable’ future with Brexit. But isn’t the biggest concern for most people just how unstable our lives and communities have become since the Tories introduced austerity in 2010?
The Tories brought in austerity supposedly to reduce the country’s deficit, claiming public spending was too high. But much of the debt came from bailing out the failing banks. “‘We’re all in it together”, they said, as the rich got richer while our wages went down and benefits were slashed.
At the same time rents and bills have risen dramatically, leaving people feeling vulnerable and many reliant on food banks or forced out onto the streets. Social care has been axed for many elderly and disabled people, and hospital waiting times have skyrocketed. And public debt has gone up, not down. What kind of stability is that?
Those who are in power are expert at diverting our attention away from the real problems we face. But look at what they have chosen to do so far and ask yourself – do you really want to trust them again?
WHAT SORT OF SOCIETY DO WE WANT TO LIVE IN?
Throughout our lives we are discouraged from thinking we should be involved in making the big decisions that affect our lives. Whenever people put forward alternatives to the present system, those in power tell us ‘It will never work’ or that we don’t understand. They want us to believe we are not capable and there are no alternatives, so they can continue to exploit us and the natural world in order to keep their power and wealth.
People often feel scared of change – sometimes grim familiarity seems safer than taking a chance to try to change things for the better. But if those in power know what they are doing, doesn’t that mean they are deliberately inflicting misery on us? So we should have confidence in our ability to come up with a better way to run society.
Society is presently based around a small minority of people making lots of money. We need to create a society that’s based on a decent home & standard of living for everyone, and on happiness and sustainability: where we are all protected from unjust treatment at work or in the community; where good quality healthcare and social care is available when it’s needed; where our communities have the schools, libraries, parks, community centres and other services so everyone can thrive.
The Tories claim there isn’t enough money to create such a society, but they choose to give money to people who are already rich instead of using it to improve the lives of the majority. For example they pay billions in housing benefit to rich landlords rather than capping rents and using that money to building social housing.
HOW CAN WE IMPROVE OUR LIVES?
History repeatedly shows that power corrupts – when only a small number of people are involved in decision making, it is easy for them to make decisions in their own interests or for those who offer them payments or ‘gifts’.
Real change will only come about if we are all actively engaged in shaping our society. If we leave it in the hands of a few they will design it to meet their needs, but not the needs of the wider public.
Being actively involved in local groups and campaigns is a good way of having direct impact; sharing ideas, building confidence, supporting each other and creating change in our surroundings.
Democracy is not a free ride. If we remain silent it allows others to take control, as there is nothing opposing them. It benefits those in power not to be opposed and to roam free in their chosen direction. Currently their direction is more austerity and more privatisation. We need to do more than just vote.
Whether you vote or don’t vote, if you want to see change for the better, get involved!