Election Day Self Portrait. EKMCronin 2015.
I have a lot to be grateful for. I had an amazing education and am still just about managing to continue with a Masters degree. I have an amazing husband, daughter, and friends around me (although never as much as I’d like). I have food in my belly and a roof over my head (albeit through my parents’ hospitality). I am mostly healthy and live surrounded by beautiful countryside. And at the very least, UKIP didn’t get as much support as they hoped for.
However, this morning I found myself crying onto the kitchen counter, hiding my sadness and anger from my parents, at the thought of another 5 years of a strongly Conservative government. I wonder how my little family will ever move into our own home when child tax credit and the tiny amount of child benefit is cut out of our limited budget. I wonder if our environment and future can cope with increased fracking and lack of ecological priorities. I wonder how my child will cope with higher education fees and whether she will ever have what I loved so much. I wonder how long our precious NHS will last and whether our family will be able to afford an insurance-based system that I fear will come. I wonder how many children and adults will starve on the streets due to higher homelessness, poverty, despite the wonderful work done by food banks across the UK. I wonder if we will ever afford to adopt the children we hoped to, and whether being responsibly will outweigh the wish for Cub to have siblings. I wonder how I am perceived in a country who continue to expect mothers (and fathers) to work despite childcare costs being out of our reach and right-wing (even if more central) politics continuing to assume we are not worth speaking to. I wonder how long I will be able to stay living where I was born, and how happy I will be to return to Scotland, who seem to hold the vulnerable up as their priority. I wonder if I shall ever have a pension, whether I shall be able to support myself in old age, and whether the statistics of poverty and loneliness for the elderly will become my own label. I wonder if I will continue to cry and fear for my families future.
Today I will cry, I will mope, I will feel anger and grieve the potential of a more diverse parliament, and a more representative government, and I will allow my fears to hit me, wash over me, and then, finally, eventually, leave me. I will likely be eating ice cream and playing with my child hoping that either one might cheer me just a little. I will watch movies, and write, and create, and allow myself just one day.
Tomorrow, we start again. Tomorrow we have to fight against the greed and mammon-priority of those in power. Tomorrow we have to call for empathy, assistance, and love for the least of us, for those in trouble, for those struck by poverty, illness, and heartache. Tomorrow we have to cry out for our children’s futures, for the security of the elderly, and for a tolerant community which embraces diversity with simple common decency. Tomorrow we have to stand as a people of outward compassion and generosity, those who will care for our neighbours, the stranger and the foreigner, without suspicion and malice. Tomorrow we must begin again in our attempts to protect the land we inhabit and the creatures we steward. Tomorrow we must take on the challenge, take on the responsibility, and force ourselves back into battle.
Today I will cry for just one day. Tomorrow, we start again.
I think I will start by praying, hoping that God will help us.