Thursday, 8 June 2017

Today I vote in an election I'm sure can't be won. Yet I somehow I feel hopeful for the first time in years.

Like many of you. Today I'll be voting, by the time you read this I may have already. And like many of the people on my social media feed, I'll be hoping for something better. Because I truly believe our current government are painfully misguided, selfish, inadequate and utterly incapable of putting the needs of the people first. So I'm strongly voting for change.

But, honestly I'm painfully aware that there is a very realistic chance that things won't play out the way I want. In fact, I'm certain of it. I just don't think the numbers are there. I mean, If you look at my social media feed it's a landslide in my favour, but we all live in a bubble, surrounding ourselves with mostly likeminded people. So I honestly I think I'm going to spend most of Friday wallowing in self pity.

But before you label me a pessimist, let me say this...

I was disgusted by Brexit for many reasons. I was disappointed so many people would vote for blind nationalism over cooperation. I was appalled at the lies told (and stamped on the side of a big fucking bus) by politicians in order to sway votes. And if I'm honest, more than anything I was ashamed at the arrogance of the left.

Rather than engaging in reasonable debate and trying to use rational arguments to persuade those on the right. We labelled them racists and morons... dismissed them out of hand. No ones ever been convinced of anything by being insulted. It was all very nasty, and for all I know I was just as much a part of that cycle of dismissal.

But this campaign. Well, it's been absolutely glorious to watch. I've never seen such calm, reasonable and thoughtful debate happening. From what I've seen, people been engaging with those who think differently and working to persuade them through honest conversations and idea sharing rather than lies and insults.

And the difference in the polls now vs. six weeks ago suggests to me that it's an approach that works. I mean, just look at how many young people registered to vote this time. No matter what your politics; those numbers, that level of engagement, is incredible.

And that's why, for me, when the left inevitably lose on Friday morning. I will be sad knowing my country has some tough years ahead, but I won't be devastated as I have been in the past. In fact, I'm feeling hopeful for the first time in a long time. Something that has never felt more out of reach than it has these last few years.

And I do genuinely believe that if we stay the course we will ultimately see change. And after Trump and Brexit, I'll take all the hopeful feelings I can clasp my chubby little hands around.

Thanks for reading.

PS: And before someone says it, I do accept there's still been a fair bit of shit slinging in this campaign too, but comparatively to the last two major votes this one has been a bloody dream. And it's unreasonable to think you're ever going to purge all the poisonous thinking from either side