The divide and rule thing is part of the Tory game. Time to do some divide and rule of our own.
First published in July 2020.
I have questions. I feel a disturbance in the force. I don’t know if I’m imagining it but the last week or so has felt very different on Twitter. It’s like the last 6-9 months has been despair and frustration but now there’s a change to real grit and determination.
The replies I got to my last piece have no doubt influenced that thought but it does seem like there are glimmers of hope and a push back. With that in mind I wanted to share a thought.
We know the divide and rule thing is part of the Tory game and we sort of allow it because we get carried away with our small differences and keep forgetting that the biggest picture – the one thing we all want – is a change of government. We might not be able to get them out but we need to tell them that what they are doing is wrong and they must change course.
Big marches, etc. were good but it was us against ALL of them together in Parliament. We need to do some divide and rule of our own. An MP’s vote is not a bargaining chip. It should represent your view.
MPs are going back to their constituencies and we need to unite ALL potential allies. Black Lives Matter, Hacked Off, Extinction Rebellion, FSFA, Votes for life, pro-EU, trade bodies, independence campaigners, scientists, NHS, and hundreds of others. Use your contacts, we know lots of people are very unhappy with what’s happening. Make new friends, listen to their campaign stories, learn and trust each other. Democracy is important to us – don’t let it slip away.
We need to utilise the awesome power of “polite but determined”. Here’s my suggestion: Talk to our individual MPs in their constituency offices – Hold on, don’t despair yet. I’m picturing long, long, socially distanced, masked queues of people all politely waiting to speak to their MP. Come what may with the weather, day after day, all together. It doesn’t matter what the individual cause is, it can unite behind one slogan.
Anyone who’s followed me for a while knows that I regularly advocate peaceful engagement – I want no part in anything not completely peaceful. We must not harass the staff and we must all only visit our own MP if we have one. This is about polite, civil engagement with the democratic process.
People often don’t go to see their MP with a grievance because they feel they are on their own or don’t know enough. If we all go, with our grievances and questions, all across the country, all together, it won’t be ignorable. So, tell them what matters to you. Go with friends, be prepared to wait.
If your MP is Labour or LibDem, still go. Tell them you want them to work better together. Tell them you want PR. Tell them anything, but go with other people. As far as the SNP goes – well you guys seem to have that sorted and, because I can, I’m giving Caroline Lucas a mention because she’s just fantastic – if only more MPs had her integrity and bravery.
Queue up and wait. For hours. Don’t get fobbed off. Insist on your democratic right to talk to your MP and tell them their job is at risk.
George Monbiot just wrote a brilliant article for the Guardian in which he references “the author Mark O’Connell (who) described this process as ‘the slow atrophying of our moral imaginations’. We are acclimatising ourselves to our existential crisis.” We cannot let this happen.
What do you think?
I have no idea how to coordinate this, keep it going or anything but it’s what I came up with. We fight amongst ourselves for all sorts of reasons but the big picture is we all want something to change and the government aren’t listening.
Also, COVID-19 is still out there. Don’t put yourself or anyone else at risk. Respect the safety of ALL the people you meet, wear a mask and don’t be stupid.
I have questions. Don’t you?🔷