The opinions shared in this article are not representative of The Hysteria Collective as an organisation and are merely written by the writer and platformed here.
Crosses in the ballot boxes, over-caffeinated political correspondents on the telly, googling your nearest polling station and just deciding not to discuss politics in the family WhatsApp. It must be election day.
If you’re into politics, elections are a mixture of exciting and exhausting. For those who love a passionate debate over the Yorkshire puddings on a Sunday and later get scolded for having a go at Uncle Steve, it’s a hopeful moment for democracy to do a U-turn in a country which is currently hosting a solid shitshow in Westminster.
If you’re not into politics, it must be bewildering.
Just in case you’re currently anchored to your laptop by deadlines or selling your soul to get a booking at the pub garden (honestly, fair enough), on the 6th May 2021, the UK has a whole host of local and national elections taking place.
In England, politicians are battling it out for 4650 council seats, 13 mayor spots, 25 London Assembly seats and a by-election in Hartlepool. Across England and Wales, there’s 39 Police and Crime Commissioner spots up for grabs – which, if you were at all engaged with the Reclaim These Streets movement in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder, is pretty key to not only how women and marginalised people can feel safe on our streets but also how local police forces engage with communities of colour.
Personally – and this is an opinion piece -, I don’t understand political apathy but I also recognise that a substantial amount of people really aren’t engaged with politics. But if – let’s assume on a feminist blog, we’re all somewhat progressive – you want rid of the right wing in your local area or for your city’s mayor, who should we vote for?
Arm yourselves for a statement that probably isn’t that controversial: the left wing in the UK is overwhelmingly shit.
Under the guidance of everyone’s favourite allotment-loving granddad, the Labour party was almost likable. But with Keith the Lawyer at the helm, we seem to be looking back to the 1990s and Tony Blair’s secretly a centrist era. And don’t talk to me about the Lib Dems. The Lib Dems are to the left what the soggy sleeve of a cardigan is to your morning cereal. So, who do we vote for?
Perhaps it’s time to give the Greens a go at it. The Green Party at one time were Westminster’s slightly embarrassing tree-hugging cousins with one small tree root embedded in particularly progressive cities like Brighton. But more recently, and as Labour continues to alienate those on the left of the party, the Greens are scooping up leftie exiles all over the place.
Furthermore, as ‘Climate Change’ is becoming increasingly rebranded as ‘the Climate Crisis’, and David Attenborough and Netflix continue to traumatise us with documentaries about our rapidly overheating planet, what was once deemed cutesy and tree-hugging is now serious, sincere concern for a world that is crumbling socially under employment and food banks, and steadily cooking under a slow-to-act right wing.
What about smaller parties? A two-party system was never what democracy was meant to be but I’m not talking about unqualified Youtubers or the Waitrose version of Tommy Robinson. I mean parties. And there are a fair few out there! The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. The Women’s Equality Party. The Communist Party of Great Britain. We know they exist but, despite the best intentions, it really doesn’t feel worth voting for a party that ultimately you know probably won’t get anywhere.
Basically, we’re all doing one big Where’s Wally for the English left wing.
So, whether you are the resident rally the people voice in your house, or your soapboxing is confined to your Twitter account, or you haven’t the foggiest what is going on – the results of these elections will have an impact on the way we live our lives. Issues might seem confined to potholes and road closures but politics begins at home and democracy is one muscle that needs to be sufficiently stretched at the polls.
Image courtesy of Glen Carrie.