Ashamedly, until a few years ago, I had very little interest in politics. Most election times I have been a voter, but only because I remembered my Dad's harsh tones, mortified by the one time I didn't. "What's the point?" I sheepishly said to him "MPs are all the same!"
The feeling of despair though after hearing the final result from the UK's election during the summer of 2015 was unbelievable for someone, who for many years could not have cared less which party was governing the country.
FIVE MORE DAMNED YEARS - I read the headline news across one of the national tabloid papers from a newspaper stand later that day, nodding my head in agreement. In my eyes, the wrong party had won the Election, but would any other party have made any difference to my town, this country, or across the world? I doubt it, and yet the countless times the word"compassion" was bandied around in the candidate debates, used as a means to win hearts was laughable. Compassion - obviously scripted into manifesto pledges by their media moguls, encouraging voters to place a cross against his, or her name, as each one fought for the keys to 10 Downing Street.
Copyright - Junghee Choi
Compassion should be a key element in political decision making, however, it will take more than the word being cleverly marketed into the vote pulling speeches of politicians to address all the humanitarian issues in the UK, let alone across the world. This word's flippant use was sickening when we have so many unresolved problems that could have been tackled sympathetically a long time ago, but quite simply just continue to be ignored.
I watched the critical debate intently, prior to the vote for my country to go to war with ISIS (ISIL). I observed a packed house of commons, busier than I had ever seen it before, even though as a nation we have very little to be proud of with so many children living in poverty, families struggling to pay their bills, an NHS crying out for funding, visits to food-banks at a record high, homelessness on the increase and a substantial growth in mental health problems. These are all important matters that have been escalating for a number of years, but somehow have never been shown the level of importance, or support, as the recent fixation and urgency I was witnessing to go to war.
I listened to the jeering, the cheering, flamboyant speeches, some riddled with propaganda, others articulated purely to fatten some of the MPs already inflated egos and it confirmed to me just how desperately this world is in need of a new breed of politicians. History repeated itself once more as a yes vote was declared to dispatch our bombing planes, despite the growing concern of the public. A conclusion, which seemed to be rushed through without time to take a breath, barely allowing anyone even a moment to think things through clearly, a swift knee-jerk reaction that will once again inevitably put more lives in danger.
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." ~ Albert Einstein
In utter despair, I once again muttered the same words I had used all those years ago to my Father, "MPs are all the same!" The excuse I had used for the one time I didn't vote during the Thatcher years, but was I so terribly wrong in my thinking? If I fast forward to the UK's 2015 election results and the sickening feeling I had in the pit of my stomach at the types of politicians, who would be ruling my country, the overwhelming feeling of fear and trepidation at what was at stake because of the outcome, then for me nothing much had changed since my early twenties. I had a lack of faith, respect and trust in the elected party, so it was easy to convince myself the new breed of politician I felt we so desperately needed, wasn't just around the corner. Once again, I believed that our voices, no matter how loud, would continue to fall on deaf ears with David Cameron's Conservative government.
At a time when I felt any hope of change seemed light years away, into the political ring stepped a softly spoken man by the name of Jeremy Corbyn. He didn't look like the politician we have all been groomed to believe would make a leader, and yet his passion and sincerity struck a chord with me like no other politician ever has. Here was a man, who shared the same principles as I did, but was being mocked by many of the MPs - across all parties, because in their eyes "He couldn't be a leader."
"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
This was when my interest in politics took on a completely new stance. I joined the labour party for the first time, and then attended one of his numerous leadership rallies. Hearing Jeremy speak on a warm sunny afternoon in August 2016 convinced me even more that this was the man who could turn present politics on its head and kick start the new breed of politician, which this world so desperately needs.
Extracts taken from 'Stripped Bare' by Sharon Bull, available August 28th 2017