So last Friday a torrent of disappointment and fear flooded into our lives as the Conservatives exceeded all expectations and won the majority, destroying everyone’s predications of a hung parliament.
They won with 331 seats, a slender majority over Labour’s 232. The Lib Dems were left in the dust, as were all the smaller parties. Welcome to the next five years.
We can say goodbye to the NHS, the human rights act and rights for the vulnerable. We can say hello to savage public service cuts, a meagre minimum wage, rash austerity measures and David Cameron on TV reassuring us that it’s the only way. But we all know it’s not.
It’s interesting to think about the things that might have contributed to this result. The archaic First Past The Post (FPTP) voting system is arguably a key factor here. This is a system whereby the public vote for MPs in their constituencies (areas), and the one with most votes wins that seat.
The party with the most seats in the UK then goes on to win the election. All other votes received are disregarded. If you were to vote Green Party in a strong Labour area, your vote is essentially wasted as Labour will get that seat anyway.
This is a problem for a number of reasons. It means MPs can win their seat with a tiny percentage of the vote. It also means that many votes get wasted and the smaller parties are penalised due to their votes being widespread and not concentrated in certain areas.
For example, the Green Party received 4% of the national vote, whilst the SNP received 5%. However, the Green Party have a single seat in Brighton (yay for Caroline Lucas) whilst the SNP have 56 seats. Does this sound like a fair voting system?
There are also a number of other issues we could dissect and criticise. But what would be the point? We have to begin moving forward in the most positive way possible, even under such a miserable outcome. What does an ice cube do when you throw it in a fire? It melts, evaporates and joins the clouds in the sky. It transforms to match its environment, and that’s what we should be doing.
But how? How can we possibly perceive a silver lining in such a grey cloud?
At this point, there is a quote I’d like to share with you all: “Yesterday I was clever so I tried to change the world. Today I am wise so I’m changing myself.”
More so than ever, today it has become clear that there is little we can do to change our external environment. Revolution comes from within. Before we can realise a better world, we must realise a better us. Be the change you want to see.
At the moment, the majority of the world and its leaders are still caught up in greed, power, deceit, violence and ego. Religion isn’t the problem. Money isn’t the problem. It’s the way we use them that is the problem.
These driving forces are what’s failing us as a species, and for any real change to happen we need to start looking inside ourselves for answers – they are the things we have always known, but have long since lost and forgotten in a smog of bad conditioning. Money, image and materialism have now been made our priorities.
When we look inside, we see these driving forces at work in ourselves; it is our ego. It is responsible for most of our actions, and without any internal observation, it continues to rule our everyday lives without us ever noticing; for better and for worse. It makes us do stupid things out of self-interest. Just blew your horn at someone for driving slowly in front of you? Ego. Just told your partner off for flirting with someone else? Ego.
“But what is this ‘looking inside’ thing? It all sounds a bit hocus-pocus for me.” Well, it generally involves stopping what you’re doing and asking why you’re doing it, what it’s going to achieve and for who’s benefit you’re doing it.
Sometimes, it might involve stopping and doing nothing at all; meditation. This is where we begin to see the cloud of fears and desires that distort our judgement – the same one that has sent the Tories in the wrong direction. Then as we recognise them, we can let go of them and begin the process of a personal revolution. It’s a shame David Cameron and his cronies don’t do this.
Many people understandably fight against corruption. Activists across the world are angry and are railing against their masters with anger and violence, and we suspect things are about to go in that direction in England.
But they fail to realise that their anger comes from the same source as the very ‘evil’ they are fighting against. You can’t fight fire with fire. Our anger at them will cause an ‘Us Vs. Them’ situation – ‘you’re either with us or against us.’ This is a competition – an ego battle – and it perpetuates the problem.
Instead we should try to understand why things are like this. Understand that the Tories (wow, am I actually saying this?) are human beings, just like us, misguided and at the oblivious will of their ego’s every command.
They come from a world where they have no real comprehension of the havoc they are unleashing on the lives of the vulnerable. How can they? We’ve all heard about the privilege they were born into. Does a cat understand the existence of a dog? We’ve got to understand that and try to work with it, like an ice cube being thrown into a fire.
But we won’t be able to do this until we also look inside and work on ourselves. Then we’ll realise the direction we were always supposed to go in. To take control of our egos with all its fears and desires and to welcome compassion, understanding, community, equality, fairness, unity and love. This is the only way we will thrive and the only way we can move past this dark moment in our history.