Political tensions

I don’t really write about politics much on here. I’ve come a long way since my 2 years studying politics during A levels, where I was reading the papers and avidly watching the news every week on the insistence of Ed our politics teacher. I gradually started to grow more pessimistic and angered by the political situation and biased media in general.

Although my hate and frustration with politics had reached ‘desi high blood pressure’ levels there was one thing I always made sure I took part in and that was voting. With politics I have always felt its electing the ‘lesser of two evils’ isn’t it?  Many around the world die fighting for their right to vote and here I am several decades down the line after the suffragette movement, contemplating giving up the very freedoms they dedicated their lives fighting for.

So of course each time I go and make an effort to vote whether it’s the local, national or European elections. In May we had the European and local elections in the UK. However in our constituency the local elections had been postponed because one of the candidates had passed away. They were moved to be held at the end of June.

A day before the election I was walking home and was just passing where the polling station would be the next day. When I saw a group of suits; three men and a woman. They were giving out leaflets. As I walked closer I could see the purple and yellow rosettes on their blazers. They were trying to engage with the white lady walking in front of me. Just at this point I was about to pass by the group when the lady in the group shouts out to the woman “I’ve seen you somewhere” in a last few desperate attempts to get her on board. The lady in response turns around and replies “I’ve never seen you in my life and trust me I think I would remember if I had come across you!” and then to my shock she turned to the whole group shouting “you’re pathetic” and walked off.

Clearly I was impressed by her outspokenness but also surprised that a party such as UKIP had the audacity to be canvassing around our area. So obviously I thought I’d give my two pennies worth.  I told them they were going to need all the luck in the world because they weren’t welcome around here. The woman in the group just huffed at me and turned to the men laughing and said “we won’t need any luck darling” bleurgh how patronising could one get?

After our little altercation I walked off towards home and the outspoken lady from before was ahead of me, walking really slow so she sort of sidled up to me and said “wow I don’t know why I just did that I’m not a shouty person at all, trust me!”  It was really lovely and refreshing to be able to have a long chat with her. She was right, she was softly spoken so I understood why it must have been out of character for her. We walked together all the way down to my house. She was also a local and was baffled with why the party had been there. We spoke of coming from immigrant backgrounds. She asked me who is British? None of us can say we truly are, somewhere down the line we come from elsewhere. Her family had come from Ireland and she was disgusted with parties such as UKIP who preyed on people’s insecurities and hid ugly truths behind their immigration policies. She had just come back from an Arab restaurant where she had lunched with her son. She told me they were lovely and her son had to get back to work so she had to travel home by herself but the restaurant owner himself had offered to drive her home. She loved living in a multicultural city and she appreciated our neighbours. Holding the belief that we didn’t belong to any particular country but rather we all belong to the universe.

My mum used to work in the local GP surgery down the road so she has known most of our neighbours for several years. To the right side of our house we have Amy a South African, her British boyfriend and their 2 children. A couple of days ago our new neighbours to the left introduced themselves; the wife a Malaysian, her husband Chinese and their 2 children. We know neighbours that are Sri Lankan, Nigerian, Italian, Portuguese, and Palestinian. The list could go on but these are the ones  who live in the closest proximity to us.

I am so grateful for the community I live in and I love this little part of North London. Having spoken to this neighbour it really sent me into a deep train of thought- what does it actually mean to be British? The question that will probably be unanswered for years to come. Britain like many other countries has been discovered and founded by immigrants from various backgrounds who have come and settled down. So it really is true, we do in some respect belong to the universe.

The day after the elections the local news reported that the elections had been won by the three Labour candidates. UKIP never had a chance and hopefully never will. So I think we showed them they’re not welcome around here, nope not in our small multicultural patch of North London!  With the next General election coming up next year it’s frustrating to see ignorant parties like UKIP making more public appearances and noises. I would say we need to do our research thoroughly before making our choices and become more informed.

** I still need to work on the length of these posts! they seem to go on forever don’t they?


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