This election appears to be about the leaflets. The endless, endless leaflets and yet, it should be about the brown envelopes. The pay packets, HMRC notifications, benefit sanctions, Income Tax notices, student loan invoices, social housing waiting lists, asylum refusals and NHS appointments. The envelopes that turn us against each other, pitting the so-called scroungers against hard working families, the immigrants against the low paid, the Other against the ‘English’, the poor against the wealthy, the landlords against the tenants. And that’s without getting into the envelopes filled with nudges from the media moguls, big corporations, tax dodging donors or lobby firms.
I could talk about the envelopes that scare me, the cuts that will affect my life and those I love. The services I rely on to see me through – the damage already done to the NHS I need to help me manage to live with BPD and the welfare system that supports me in times of hardship. I could talk about the nurses that saved my missus, frustrated by Jeremy Hunt’s top down reorganisation of the NHS. I could talk of the disillusioned young people in my life slogging through an education system cut to the bone. I could talk of how I am the last of my low paid generation ever able to afford to buy their own home, whilst those around me wonder how they will ever keep up with their ever-increasing rent. I could talk about the teachers I respect, fuming with rage at the constant interference and creeping privatisation of education. I could talk about my partners life as a public servant – working long, unrelenting hours with no hope of a pay rise in the foreseeable future in a service constantly undermined by lack of funding. And I could talk of my fear as a member of the LGBTQI community who, whilst enjoying equality at home, has to watch those who govern me sit idly by as fellow Commonwealth and G8 members discriminate and legislate against those who only wish is the freedom to love who they choose.
I could talk about the promises and bribes heading my way if I vote for Cameron, of a Married Persons Tax allowance and lower income tax and how I will supposedly benefit from a growing economy but…but? How can I vote blue? How can I vote for the Tories when how this nation moves on is not about me? It’s about us. The us who will find their Working Tax Credit cut whilst wages stagnate, who’s Child Benefit will cease, the young people will be cut off from any support be it housing benefit, JSA or FE funding, those who will be hounded off disability benefits, the thousands who find themselves queuing at food banks because of benefit sanctions and those who will spend childhood in poverty. The us they said were in it together. The us they promised five years ago would share the pain of a global banking crisis. The us they ignore. The us that ended up Con-Demed.
It’s time to think about us, not them. To use yet another piece of life changing paper this General Election and make a change. Be it Labour, Green, SNP or Plaid Cymru, anything has got to be better than this. It’s not about them – the bankers, the moguls, the corps and the tax dodgers. It’s not about Dave’s mates. It’s about our mates. It’s about investing in the future of all of us, not just investment bankers, property magnates and huge corporations set to monetise our public services. Its about how we bridge that divide, come together and leave no one behind. Its about bringing fairness and equality back to the fore and ensuring next time a brown envelope hits the doormat of the disabled, the unemployed, the elderly, the sick, the single parent or the low paid, its not greeted by fear. We’re not what the Tories have made this country. We’re better than this. We are all in this together only if we can make Britain fairer together. So go vote, it might encourage them to do the right thing. It just might.