What does it mean to embrace Hope whilst so many are clamouring to tell us what or who to hate? Standing up for what we believe in requires us to take sides and make choices.
Many of us want to change the way things are. The European Union is heavily lobbied by big business interests (just like Westminster politics!). This is centralising our economy in ways that entrench inequality and lock-in climate change. But at the same time the European Union is how we work together to agree setting stronger rules to protect our environment, act on climate change and strengthen workers’ rights across Europe. But which of these – the corporate interests or the international democracy – define how we see the EU?
The Brexit referendum was never just a simple choice, to stay in or to leave the EU. There was a lot of fake news trying to frame the EU for the changes in the UK that have deepened inequality, brought about by a succession of Westminster governments, as highlighted in yesterday’s UN report on extreme poverty and human rights in the UK. Instead of falsely blaming the EU and scapegoating migrants we need to change politics for the good. We won’t change politics for the better by playing the Brexit blame game, which serves the interests of rich elites and big business: key players in planning and financing the Brexit campaigns back in 2016.
And if we leave – to whom would we be gifting our hard-fought democracy? Big corporations and rich equally pour money into the main Westminster parties and they want their pound of flesh back. Housing developers have got their way, and truly affordable homes just aren’t being built. And it is the City of London, not the EU, that leads tax dodging, allowing money to be squirrelled off into tax havens around the world. Similarly, the drip, drip, privatisation of the NHS started with the internal market embraced by Tony Blair, before privatisation was accelerated and formalised under the Coalition government from 2010. And the UK parliament does not even have a written rulebook – so we currently rely on the Speaker, one John Bercow, to be the judge and jury. If you don’t like this ‘politics-as-usual’ there is an alternative to blame and hate, or turning off and tuning out. It is built around hope and collective action.
When Greens say we want a better future – we are not politicians promising this, promising that – we mean it. We are honest. And if enough of us want a better future, a real political landslide for the good, and we put our x where our heart is, we might just change the future.
Who you vote for is who you give to power to, trust and act on your behalf? Please don’t feed the anger or give up, leaving others to determine what happens instead. For me it is more than a choice between a Remain or Brexit but about what kind of future we believe is possible, and to put hope over hate. That is why I have voted Green today. Please join me.