It’s been very hard deciding what to write about today. I allowed myself a quick bit of nonsense (pretty sure the spaghetti bit is true though) yesterday, so I feel like I’m going against the spirit of this December blogathon challenge if I type a few quick sentences to express my despair, gloom, and general desire to hide in a bundle of blankets and drink hot chocolate for the rest of the year.
In the UK, we had a general election yesterday. The result was disasterous. Last time we voted, not all that long ago, it felt like we were clinging on. Now it feels like we’ve fallen. The Tories’ went from a majority of nothing to sixty-six.
If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know I’m an SNP supporter (that’s the Scottish National Party, who’re centre left; I’d happily vote further left if there was a viable choice). When it comes to independence I used to be very wishy-washy about it. Like, I’d vote yes, but I was open to No arguments. And it wasn’t as important to me as the NHS or education or libraries or a nationalised and extended rail network.
That’s very much changed in the past decade, where again and again there’s been a clear divide between what England/Wales have voted for and what Scotland has voted for. And because we’re a much less populous country, our wishes are overridden and ignored, even mocked. We voted to Remain, we voted SNP, we voted SNP again, and again…and hey, here we are, one more time, we’ve given the SNP thirteen more seats, 48 out of the 59 constitencies in Scotland. The SNP, standing only in Scotland remain the third largest party in the UK, with over four times as many MPs as the Lib Dems.
Will our voice be heard in Westminister? Will we have any say in what happens to our country?
In Scotland, time and again, the SNP have protected, and stood for, the things I value. I have no doubt that they will continue to do that to the best of their ability. That they will try to protect us from the worst of what Westminister will inflict on the UK. But, in the end, Holyrood remains subordinate to Westminister. Our choices are controlled by the Tories that England and Wales have voted for.
I’ve never wanted independence for some notion of romantic idealism about the past, the good old days when we hid in glens and nicked our neighbours cattle. I want it because the people have Scotland do not have the voice or the power they deserve to decide their own fates.
And it’s a bit selfish too, yes. It is. And that gives me pause. But if what we, as a nation, vote for doesn’t matter, doesn’t ever have an effect, unless it’s in concert with what England and Wales want, then what else can we do except fight for our independence? At least then we can make our own mistakes, instead of being dragged down by someone else’s.
Looking beyond independence, I feel scared for myself. I worry that I won’t have access to my medication, and the consequences of that. I worry about my niece and nephew and what damage this will do to their lives. I worry about the people I know who’ve expressed such despair and terror at the results, who are now in fear of how they will survive the next five years. I worry about the NHS and the BBC and food prices and shortages and just how fucked the climate is.
I worry about how bad this is going to get for trans rights, for Muslims, especially women, for everyone living on a knife-edge of one missed payment, for the parents who go hungry so their kids can eat, for the kids with no permanent home, for everyone on the streets.
My worry does nothing, I can’t switch it off, but typing it out, knowing I’ve expressed it, that someone else has read it. That helps.
If you are afraid or alone, I care about you. I may not know you, but I care about you. And, like many others this morning, I’m trying to figure out how best I can help. What can I focus on, make a contribution to, that will make other people’s lives better?
Mum was telling me about how she felt the first time Thatcher was re-elected this morning. She was in her late twenties and pretty devastated by the result. She voted SNP, not expecting them to win anything significant, as they never did. They were tiny, unimportant. In that 1983 election, they took only two seats.
Now, the SNP are the largest party in Scotland. They’ve been the Scottish Government for *12 years*, and have just returned 48 of Scotland’s 59 Members of Parliament.
That’s not me saying things will get better, because that’s a bit twee, and it comes from a pretty privileged position (not everyone survived Thatcher, a hundred thousand are dead thanks to austerity), but I need to hold on to the hope that they *can* get better.
What a ramble. I’ve read it through. Those are definitely sentences that I wrote there. They probably make some sort of sense. I’m very tired. Much love to you all.
More cheeringly, Paul Cornell – aka that dude I do the Hammer podcast with – has just started his 12 Blogs of Christmas. It’s not a *particularly* festive entry today, which is understandable (it’s a similar theme to this post, yay!), but he is promising a Lost Doctor Who Story tomorrow, so that seems a bit exciting.