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It's Time to Rally for Change - Stability Is Overrated

30/06/2016 12:12 | Updated 30 June 2016
Chris Ratcliffe via Getty Images

There's a supposed curse that brings on days like the ones through which we are now living. It goes: "May you live in interesting times."

Interesting times - the worst of things. Unpredictable, alarming, dangerous. A frightening change from knowing between dawn and dusk the rough template of our lives and the scope of our choices.

There are many reasons that the current state of affairs in Britain feels so bad. The appalling jump in racist incidents; the finger-pointing and blame as deep divisions across our country come to light. Half of the population feels as though its vote didn't count and the other is being told its vote isn't valid.

There's another reason that it feels so bad: we've been told for years by politicians that our number one aim at all times should be stability. Stability is good. Stability is predictable. Stability means we can all book our holidays. Stability means everything is working.

But it wasn't working. It wasn't working, and that's why we have ended up here.

Stability in fact means the usual people with the usual amount of power making the usual decisions. It's overrated. And now that it's fallen apart, we have a chance to build something different.

The Women's Equality Party launched this time last year with the aim of doing things differently by dismantling the structural inequalities that prevent women from fully participating in this country's economy and being able to fully thrive in society.

Now is our chance to do that. Indeed, we're the only people who can do that. The government hasn't got a plan, and the opposition parties are all looking inward to save their seats rather than outward to see the people.

This Saturday WE are holding a mass rally in Manchester to start a national conversation about how we can build a better Britain and claim politics for our own.

You'll all have ideas. You'll all have started those conversations. Come and be the change you want to see.

Last Friday I talked to someone who voted 'Leave.' He was shell-shocked to have won the result he sought, but puzzled too to see plans for Brexit now being discussed. "I thought they wouldn't let us," he told me. "I didn't think they'd actually do it."

Right there, that's the extent of voters' disempowerment. To go out and vote for something that you don't think for a moment will actually happen, even if the result goes your way.

It might sound shocking - even absurd. But if you're a woman in Britain, you've been voting to have a fair say for years without it actually happening. You've been voting in the hope of equal job opportunities and equal pay and affordable childcare. You've been voting for an equal chance at an equal education and the right to walk home alone at night without feeling scared. You've been voting to have your voice heard when our politicians think about how to run this country.

If you're a woman in Britain, you haven't been heard for years.

Now there's a chance for you to be heard.

All of the old traditional parties will scramble in the coming weeks to say they look like the voters who have not been heard. All of the old traditional parties - currently splitting like amoeba when the public desperately needs unity - will tell you they look just like you. The people saying this will be the same people who have been in politics for years. They will be presenting what they say are new choices. But the end result they seek is a continuation of their power, not yours.

I want to do things differently. I want an opportunity for millions of women to be seen and heard and be part of building post-Brexit Britain in a way that incorporates our needs. That doesn't mean having a few of the same politicians move into different positions. It means new faces and a wholesale rethink of the way we do policy in this country. It means an immigration policy that has equality and justice at its heart. It means universal childcare. It means protecting women's rights and jobs as we hammer out new trade deals.

It means creating a politics that means something to ordinary women and men - not just a Westminster elite.

Politics is ours, so let's claim it.

And PS: That proverb isn't actually the ancient Chinese curse we're told. It's about 40 years old and the work of American speechwriters. It's time to write our own script.

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