The Tories are in power, elected by a minority of voters with a majority of seats....I know...what a shady democracy we live in. I've developed a sleeping problem since Dimbleby unveiled the exit polls, when Cameron's face was projected on the side of the BBC studios **shudder**. Sat in my little Cardiff flat with dawn approaching, I realised that soon enough that cruel blue manifesto will become a reality, with an added cruel cherry on top. How are citizens going to cope? Yes, citizens, not chavs, not scroungers, not idiots, not migrants, not scum, citizens.
Like many young people, I supported the Green Party with full gusto! I put a poster up in work and my facebook page looked like the ruddy Amazon rain forest! I didn't come to supporting Green's lightly, I understood why people were going to tactically vote and I was afraid to vote with my heart myself in fear of this electoral conclusion. Despite this, there was a part of me that thought, how can people disagree with these amazing green policies? A lot of people were going to vote green and we were going to see the beginning of change, a beginning to the return to Socialism (even better, Eco-Socialism). A society based on compassion and fairness with the end of hedonism as we know it. Like many young people, my naivety got the better of me.
In power is a party that hates young people, that demonizes, that ignores us. Cameron during a Tory Conference referred to the young as idle and 'choosing' a life on the dole...at that time I was one of those 1 million young creatures. During that time I was low, and I was one of the lucky ones, I had people around me. The number 5 bus every Wednesday to the jobby was a struggle and I saw many sad young faces on those trips, heads down and quiet. Altogether I spent a year jobless and 6 months on a work scheme, I can tell you one thing, young people aren't choosing anything mate. I'm not trying to share a sob story, this is what people are facing but for lots it’s much worse.
I read a book once about the life of a South Wales former miner, describing what it was like starting out mining as a young lad. In order for young miners to learn the ropes, and for health and safety reasons they were given an older mentor that would look after them, to protect them really. Nowadays, I find young people are left unprotected and are seen as a scary burden, you nearly always need to have 'experience' in doing anything but without someone investing time, effort and faith (a.k.a money) in you, experience is never going to be gained. I don't know whether they believe in self-fulfilling prophecy either but they should really think about how they treat their young. If you are treated like a menace, you become the menace.
I feel that the young generation for a while has felt hopeless...looking in on society. Not affording a home, not being allowed housing benefit, being in debt from the get go and so on...with this extra brutal party in power now, it’s looking bleaker not just on young people but on all ordinary souls.
I had to do something. I heard on facebook and twitter that Cardiff People's Assembly were holding an anti-austerity march. I was a bit nervous but when I arrived I thought, thank f***, there are people who are sticking up for the young, the old, the disabled, the poor, thank f*** I have found a speck of humanity in this ever individualistic and money fuelled society. I bloody loved it. A community that is pissed off too, a community that will not conform to these harsh decisions of austerity. Across the country we have seen thousands organising. In Bristol, an anti-austerity march was organised by group of A level students. The young are angry and refuse to be ignored anymore.
I watched an interview with Tony Benn today on You-Tube, he said that the greatest strength of the right is apathy. If people are apathetic about change 'what's the point in marching, voting, blah blah blah' it'll never achieve anything, it’s a brilliant way of keeping a society down. But he said that the greatest strength of the left is confidence and hope. Confidence that you will change society from the ground up...through organisation, through unity, through peaceful protesting. I believe that young people will play a big part in this. I hope that people of all ages will join Cardiff People's Assembly march on Saturday 16th May at 1pm by the Nye Bevan statue on Queen's Street to begin this long journey.
I'm new to all this marching lark, I’m not the brightest and I'm only now beginning to invest my time into activism, but I’ve decided to use my voice and everyone should too. I'm a new wide-eyed marching ant and I hope that makes some sort of positive difference.
Lots of love.