What I did in August: Writing Stories and #Stopthecoup
Hello Dear Dreamers,
It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update and that’s because I’ve been busy writing for the last few months and have focused on little else. However, while writing this month has been super productive and I’ve felt great about how my stories are coming along, it was also a month that had big political implications.
If you’ve meandered around my site you might have stumbled across this post: “Today is a sad day indeed“, which was my reaction to the triggering of Article 50 and how I felt about it with my background. I was so upset when I posted that and I still agree with the sentiment although the sadness has been replaced by a sort of semi-numb frustration at the stupidity of Brexit and a horror at the mounting racism and lack of democracy in this country.
I’m not going to go into a massive list of all the pro/con arguments for the EU, or why having another vote (one that’s actually informed and based on facts etc.) would be democratic not anti-democratic etc. We’re at the stage now where people are mostly entrenched in their ideological camp either way and not budging. What I will say is that for the first time in quite a while I was pleased by the British reaction.
On the evening of the 28th I checked the news (I check it in the morning and at night to stay informed but not get crushed by the weight of all this nonsense) and I saw articles coming up about how Johnson is going to prorogue (i.e. suspend) the government and then the news that it had been approved by the Queen. (Articles here and here if you want to read them.) This did not seem good (by the way that’s British English for “This is fucking terrible”) as, despite their arguments to the contrary, everyone can see this is being used as a way of forcing through an ideology and an exit from Europe that very few people actually want.
Now far too often in the UK when bad news hits there’s a bit of an outcry, some complaints that it’s “not proper!” and then whatever the topic of the day is quietly slinks along and carries on doing it’s damage elsewhere. We’ve seen it with wars we didn’t want to be a part of, with MPs using public money for things they shouldn’t, with referendums being provably built on lies, etc. Each time no one really gets in trouble and everything continues.
I expected this. I didn’t look forward to it but that was all I expected. Then I looked online…
Now the internet is too often not a source of reliable fact but it is a mood gauge and the mood I saw was quite interesting. #StopTheCoup #Brexit #StopBoris and even #AbolishTheMonarchy Were all trending or very popular. Not only that but people were organising to meet up outside parliament (This was the first video I saw). People were chanting, people were cross, people were doing something about it!
Protesting isn’t really a thing in the UK, not like it is in France. It’s not really considered the done thing and it’s not really one of our rights and far too often the government can just ignore it; but to see people coming together to shout out their defiance was great!
And this wasn’t a one off event. On the 31st in Glasgow and across the UK there were protests. More Stop the Coup and more people showing how little support this government and it’s ideology actually has.
I was there and so was B and it was a genuinely heartwarming experience for both of us.
Too often the news in the country is negative, people’s interactions are built around expecting everyone to be an annoyance at best and a danger at worst, groups and communities keep to themselves. But not on Saturday. There were midwives, left-wing groups, able-bodied, disabled, Sikhs, Scots, English, kids, adults and grandparents! There was just about every demographic you can think of. And the loudest cheers were for the speeches that brought us all together, that united us and talked about how this affected all of us and that we, together, could make our voices heard, we could fight back, we could stand together.
Far too often we are divided and division leads to scenarios like Brexit in the UK and Trump in the US. Telling people to be nice to each other isn’t enough, telling them to be friends, to play nice, it doesn’t work. But actually bringing a group of people together to see what they have in common and what they can to together unites people like nothing else.
Everyone was positive and happy even thought we were essentially gathered together to stand in opposition to a wannabe dictatorship that is trying to destroy our countries. And the reason I think we were happy was that everyone was pulling together for a common cause, for the benefits not just of ourselves but everyone around us.
I’m so glad I got to be a part of that. I’m glad I took some photos that have been re-shared a bit online because it shows people are engaging. I know it can feel hopeless at times, just a voice in the wind, but if we all shout loud enough we will be heard and if we can’t do anything to stop this government now then we will change things in the long run. Things are hard, but not impossible. Things might hurt but they’re not hopeless.
I hope everyone can unite to change things for the better and that we can develop a sense of agency in our politics and a sense of positive community in our countries.
It’s even more encouraging to see that these protests are still going, people aren’t lying down, they’re not giving up and that makes me very happy. (See these articles here and here.)
Let us Stop this Coup and let’s Stop Brexit.
I know this is an unusual post for me and could open me up to a lot but it’s too important to ignore, this is our future and, to quote one of the speakers on Saturday:
“This is not a game, this is our lives!”
So yeah, I’m going to talk about it and I hope everyone else does too.