Note: This was written on the Friday morning (9th Jun) following the result of the UK General election
As I write these words I have been awake for 28 hours. I began with some strength training; then did some writing at the lab; then I went to a meeting with my fieldwork partners; then I got tattooed; then I stayed up all night following the election; then I showered/dressed; then I left my flat and smiled as I felt the sun on my face.
This is the first General Election that I’ve ever stayed up to watch. I’ve voted in three now. The previous two, I’ve woken up to disappointment. I’ve seen the Tories sit and dismantle the futures of myself and my generation, whilst the Liberals sit impotently in the corner watching. I’ve listened in horror as my older relatives of both blood and association have actively revelled in denying us opportunities that they enjoyed throughout their lives, and I’ve been downtrodden when I’ve heard that others of my age bracket admit that they don’t vote because they don’t care.
Since casting my first vote, I’ve grown from naive Liberal, to idealist Green, to diet Socialist, to Marxist-Leninist. A tale as old as time. To me, the Labour Party was always the party of Blair. The party of war, who brought terrorism to our nation. I was always told that not voting for Labour was voting in the Tories. I saw this in action in 2015. I watched as a small ray of hope when a democratic socialist by the name of Corbyn showed promise as Labour leader. I watched as I saw the theories of media control and Murdoch-puppets became flesh before my eyes with the echoes of sound-bite smears ringing in the voices of those I interacted with daily.
Last night changed all that. I watched my generation mobilise. I watched the stirrings of socialism become enacted at the ballot box. I saw my peers come together and defy our elders, and I saw us begin to unite as a species. I watched as a man that everyone said would destroy the party galvanise a people – members of my species! – and begin to wrest back control from those who sustain themselves through exploitation, lies, and fear.
I get this isn’t over. I’m not silly. The Tories are still entrenched, and now they know they’ve got a fight on their hands. The Murdoch machine will be working at full steam to swing public opinion. I won’t be surprised to find that UKIP make a comeback with Farage to split the working class vote again.
That said, this morning I left my flat an entered the street of a country that showed me its potential once more. I felt a faint sense of unity and connection with the land that I’d spent my life growing inside of. I looked towards the sky, red eyes blearily adjusting to the daylight, and I felt the sun on my face.