Am I really to believe that I now live in a society that is increasingly growing into a ‘screw you, I’m alright Jack’ community – I do hope not? But the shock election results a couple of months ago, which saw the Conservative Party take a comfortable lead, after months fighting neck a neck with Labour, didn’t fill me with confidence.
I sobbed on Friday morning – 8th May 2015, as I awoke to hear what I believed to be the worst news imaginable. Their seemed to be so much at stake if David Cameron returned as Prime Minister, but what I never envisaged was an outcome that would allow him to strut back into 10 Downing Street like a proud peacock, without need of a coalition, or some sort of political leg up from another party. My faith in humanity crumbled, whilst I tried to take in the final and unthinkable cemented result, derived from the counted and sometimes recounted votes submitted from constituencies across the country. ‘Five more damned years’ – the Mirror’s headlines glared at me from the newspaper stand in my local convenience store later that day, and I nodded my head in a silent agreement.
The thing is, would any other party have made the difference I would love to see in my town, this country, or across the world?
The times the word ‘compassion’ was bandied around in the candidate debates, used as a means to win hearts. ‘Compassion’ scripted into manifesto pledges by their media moguls, encouraging voters to place a cross against his or her name, as each one fought for the keys to 10 Downing Street. But can we have compassion in politics? I’d like to believe we can – one day, though it will take more than the word being cleverly marketed into politicians vote pulling speeches. To address all the humanitarian issues in the UK, let alone across the world, governments and leaders have to make their decisions not only from the mind, but from the heart too.
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries, without them, humanity cannot survive.” ~ Dalai Lama ‘The Art of Happiness’
A sense of irony that whilst the SNP did perhaps help Labour in their defeat, is it also possible some of their MPs may bring a breath of fresh air into parliament. Could this herald the start of some well needed changes, as a student, Science and English teachers, former rock star, small business owner and NHS consultant take their seats in a parliament, which seems to me, to have always been largely made up of ex- public school boys and girls, who have very little concept of how life really works.
I don’t advocate myself as politically wise, however, I have not been easily hoodwinked by the continual boasting of a decrease in unemployment figures either. After my redundancy in 2010, it became more and more difficult to find alternative work and whilst I tried to pick up where I left off with other companies, my heart just wasn’t in a sales career any more. I finally came off job seekers and started out in the scary world of self-employment, initially because I could no longer stand the shame and humiliation I felt when signing on. My present job gives me so much joy and happiness, but for many months I was barely scratching a living and if it hadn’t have been for the kindness and humanity shown by family members, I would have probably had to join the growing queues at the food banks. Food banks, which since Trussell Trust started publishing their figures in 2008/2009 have soared because of the increasing need and whilst a few editors seem confused about how the trust reaches their figures, the thing that stares me in the face is over the past 8 years usage has grown from 25, 899 to a staggering 1,084,604.
The flippant use of the word ‘compassion’ is beyond cringeable, when a government has allowed poverty to increase at the levels it has, in a country they continue to claim is in a much better position, since they came into power.
The flippant use of the word ‘compassion’ is also extremely irritating, when the same body of people are contemplating trying to repeal the ban on fox hunting and who have felt no remorse at the thousands of badgers they have culled, with an intention to step it up, even though there are more humane alternatives that seem to be working effectively.
However, my eyes are also open to the immense good there is across the UK and around the world. The intensity in which kindness is growing and developing gives me far more hope for the future, than any one politician can give me despair. There is a multitude of people doing wonderful things for numerous causes and issues – campaigners, volunteers, activists, defenders, do-gooders, philanthropists, good Samaritans – call them what you will, but these compassionate humanitarians will be the ones who make a difference in the world. These are the people we should aspire to, join hands with and endeavour to replicate!
“If you want others to be happy, practise compassion. If you want to be happy, practise compassion.” ~ Dalai Lama