Since I last wrote anything here, the world has shifted a little, and I feel a surge of that most timorous of human emotions; hope…
What has changed?
On the surface at least, not much. Wars are grinding at flesh and bone in the background. Bombs are blowing up children at pop stadiums, fires are taking the lives of the poor under the cocked noses of the super rich.
Oh, and we had an election, which was won by the Conservatives, the same party who have overseen a move towards punishing austerity and made a bonfire out of lots of previous social and ecological priorities.
But… things really do seem to be changing.
Firstly, the political landscape in the UK has changed beyond what seemed possible even a few short weeks ago. Jeremy Corbyn, previously cast by all the mainstream media outlets as a forlorn figure, emerged throughout the election campaign as a man of integrity and humanity whose policies offered a plausible alternative. Rather than being ridiculed, suddenly he has become a man of statesman-like substance in stark contrast to the rather robotic and removed figure of the woman who actually won the election, albeit by a narrow and toothless margin.
Those of us who longed for a leader who could capture the imaginations of people towards a better world have finally got what we asked for in this crumpled and unpolished little man.
Alongside this political shift, something else seems to be happening however. The language of compassion is back. The feeling that inequality and privilege should not remain unchecked. People look at the gulf between the residents of Grenfell tower and their neighbours and wonder how things came to this.
Perhaps above all things, I have a sense that young people are becoming dissatisfied with the world we are making on their behalf. Corbyn has shown them his new/old politics and they have responded.
Yes, Chris, let’s hope this significant beginning started by Jeremy Corbyn will continue to broaden out, until a new dawn breaks! I don’t underestimate the obstacles and opposition he faces, but what he represents is hope against despair. Whether he himself gets to the top is not the most important – perhaps what the ‘independent’ and ‘nonconformist’ Jo Cox said in her maiden speech (‘we have far more in common than that which divides us’) should remain a touchstone of whatever is done in the name of democracy, equality and justice. [It was a most disappointing scene that the government benches were largely empty when Jo Cox delivered her maiden speech….]