THE BLOG

This Election Woke People Up - It Is The Start Of Something

09/06/2017 15:24
Rebecca Strickson

This truly is an election when people woke up, it seems. The youth vote galvanised! An electorate that again, in keeping with the theme of the last 12 months that hasn't played ball with anyone's forecasts. It really feels like the rulebook has been drawn all over, ripped up, stamped on, burnt, picked up, burnt a bit more, stamped on again and then maybe chucked in a bin. Then sent to landfill. Twice.

As an illustrator, and especially when working in editorial, the job is adding nuanced visuals to someone else words. But this election I wanted to try my own words, and say what I thinking. Ive always been political, and unashamedly so. I think it's probably telling when your Valentines gift from your partner is a visual history of the Miner's strike. But I've not made work before now thats been really about 'my' politics. And this new super-charged people driven political landscape has really galvanised me to do so.

rebecca strickson

The exit poll last night was extraordinary. As they say - its the hope that kills you - and this week has been a lurching drunks-stagger from deep pessimism, anxiety-fuelled late night terror to daring to dream. The whole crazy seven weeks since the election was called has felt dreamlike, no more so than when my friend met JC on the train coming home after the Cambridge debate. The three of us in the WhatsApp group where she pretty much live streamed it were screaming like she'd met Harry Styles. Now I remember the heady days of 1997 but Blair never did THAT - and we are very much old enough to not be giddy teenagers.

Yet - giddy teenagers it seems are the future, and thank god for that. I will never demonise the older voter for what has happened in politics lately - long chats with my own mother about her fears as she reaches later life and all that will hold keep me balanced. Her fears and hopes in a Lincolnshire village are very different to mine, in a city. But fear - FEAR (for it always feels capitalised) has been such a dark and horrible presence in this campaign that has threatened to colour everything before it. The divisive politics practised for so long has to stop.

This feels like a whole new political landscape now and we are creating the politician's dialogue. Jeremy Corbyn, regardless of how you feel about him, has fundamentally shifted the dusty Westminster institutions and created something new and interesting. There is a chink in the heavy velvet curtains through which people can see that something different may not only just be possible but palpable - politicians that listen, and act, and stick to their principles. And that those principles aren't self serving. It sounds so simple and great because... it is.

We talk about 'change', and wanting it, on the left - and we've had it with Brexit and Trump. It just wasn't the change 'we' wanted. Angry, disenfranchised voters who think that everything is the same and nothing they say matters - are finding it actually can, and does. But they've lacked an actual politician who gets it. Who really actually seems to understand that things don't have to be this way; which is not to say things are perfect. There is huge amount of work to do. But this feels like a real start.

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