Looking beyond the election

The ongoing general election campaign is probably one of the most toxic and dishonest that we’ve ever witnessed – and the two of us behind this blog have been election watching since the early 1970s! All we can say is that a dirty, toxic election campaign is pretty much all we can expect from a political, economic and social system that’s lurching ever deeper into crisis and can’t seem to find a way out from that trajectory.

As for predicting the outcome of the election, this is probably the hardest one to call that we’ve ever seen. At the moment, it’s looking like we could be heading for a hung parliament or a minority government situation which would only exacerbate the crisis of a fragmenting ruling class. Should Corbyn somehow manage to scrape enough seats to contemplate forming a government, will he actually be allowed to do so and if he is, what constraints will be put on his administration in enacting Labour’s agenda?

Whatever the outcome, we look to be facing even more uncertainty, precarity, division and the instability and possibly chaos that could ensue from that. Which is why over the last two years we’ve been banging on about building solidarity at the grassroots in our neighbourhoods to help us through a worsening crisis and to start building the foundations for the better world we want to create.

When it comes to making a difference at the level of the neighbourhood, it’s not like we’re starting from scratch here. Take a look at the links in the sidebar this blog and you’ll see there’s already a lot going on in terms of people getting stuck in to collectively work together to make their neighbourhoods better places to live.

While there has undoubtedly been some erosion of the notion of community and solidarity after neo-liberal ideas and the ‘greed is good’ dogma being rammed down our throats for over forty years, a significant number of people still aren’t buying it. The reason being is that it’s human nature for us to co-operate with each in securing a decent life. If that wasn’t the case, why would so many people and groups across the region we cover be giving up their spare time in putting in the graft to make their communities better and happier places to live?

Running community gardens, school uniform banks, neighbourhood focused foodbanks, repair cafes – the list goes on – requires a lot of hard graft. Rather than putting their feet up in front of the telly, people are getting out and doing this stuff because they want to make a difference in the here and now. In the process of doing this, they’re learning about the benefits and dare we say, the joys of collective working and building a sense of solidarity in the process.

Even if Corbyn does get in and is allowed by the ruling elites to form a government, all he will be permitted to do is chuck us a few crumbs from the table. Anything more than that, and he will find his options rapidly being closed down. So, if he is allowed to form a government, don’t think for one moment that we can afford to ease up on the efforts already being made at the grassroots.

Whatever, the outcome of the general election campaign, if we want real change, we have to look outside of Westminster, outside of our failing local authorities and definitely outside of party politics and instead, look to the grassroots where people are already doing what they can. This is where real change will end up coming from so let’s focus on this and not allow ourselves to be distracted by the party political circus.

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