Like many others, I had lost interest in politics over recent times. It’s really sad because I used to love watching the political news, reading articles, chatting to my mate Rich (Dicky) Currie, and tuning in for Thursday night BBC politics program ‘this week’. As with all gradual changes, I didn’t realise how disinterested I’d become until THE story broke. A story that we’re now seeing EVERYWHERE – Jeremy Corbyn.
The man. The party. The politics. It’s been addictive. The drug is called ‘hope’, and I’ve always had a soft spot for that alongside a dose of ‘equality’. I remember feeling like a giddy teenager when Obama became president. I’ve felt twangs and pangs of those memories this week!
Except that, alongside the grabbing of my attention and striking some pleasant chords, something wasn’t sitting quite right. I fear that my additional years have worn away certain naive pleasantries.
I hit the Internet and got reading. The first thing I noticed was the politicians and media were bashing Corbyn from every angle. I still can’t articulate why I think this may be the case, but this article does a great job.
So far so good; Corbyn evoked a positive feeling from me towards politics, and my original waryness turned out to be towards the big establishments. But there was still something wrong.
Consequently I asked myself some basic political questions. The answers were even more confusing:
1) Party preferences – There’s no party that I feel represents the majority of my views, nor one that instils any trust.
2) Left or Right leaning? – There’s times I lean right (I believe business/economies with less regulation do lead to innovation and progress for both societies and individuals). Then there’s (more) times I lean left (We’re all people, entitled to human rights and equality. Wealth should be fairly distributed. Nobody should live in poverty or fear).
Arguably this confusion can also be attributed to the establishment. The media and popular politics want to confuse, want to divide, want to sedate.
In many ways my political and self analysis results in the fact that this shift left, this hope, this change is all good. And then I read this article by an amazing writer called John Pollock.
I’m still feeling interested and energised by politics. I still feel the hope. I still like Corbyn. John’s article has shown me how our tribalism and our narrower views are part of the problem. Whether or not Corbyn is THE answer remains to be seen. In all honesty he’s going to struggle against the establishment machinery for the next 5 years. And I’m still very unsure on his economic policy.
But I do know this. I felt scared of sharing my background and beliefs here and in the past. Trolling is one thing, but this party political tribalism kills debate. I also know I’m not going to look down on others with differing views anymore (like I know I’m guilty of sometimes doing).
The world is currently screwed from things like climate change, war, and fear. Let’s hear what people with different ideas have to say. Let’s question our own entrenched views. Let’s work together and stop one thing in our control – the fear!
The droughts, the starvation, and the wars can only improve when we wake up to our divisions. Regardless of these imaginary borders, (dis)ability, religions, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender; we’re all human beings. Maybe we should start acting like the compassionate and clever animals we can be.