Monday March 04, 2024

Britain votes

June 08, 2017

On the eve of the general elections and in the post-Brexit scenario, the island of Britain has undergone an unpleasant awakening. This can be evidenced from the popularity of Ukip, the unprecedented terror attacks and a regressive, inward-looking and nostalgic anti-EU plunge into a dire dystopia, where economic inequality and social malaise are masked by an insular rhetoric.

In our age of neo-liberal homogeneity, the renewed possibility of voting for a ‘statesman‘ brings the British electorate an odd and unique elation. Jeremy Corbyn’s principles – much like his beard – remains perfectly preserved. Theresa May, by contrast, has chosen to make this election about ‘personality’ as opposed to ‘principles’.

Sceptics view May – in her attempt to ape Margaret Thatcher – less as the ‘iron lady’ and more as the ‘you-turn queen’ owing to her despised ‘dementia tax’ on the elderly, the drastic austerity measures and her policy of offering less of a social safety net to children. From peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and a cautious foreign policy to nuclear apathy to the Iraq War and protecting the sacred NHS, Corbyn has aligned compassion with common sense. Corbyn perceptively recognises the need for negotiation in the pursuit of global peace from the Middle East to Africa. He is rightly sceptical of unnecessary foreign interventions – especially after all the unsavoury terror mayhem they have produced in the past.

Corbyn’s statement that “we must seek new ways of tackling terrorism” was predictably spun and craftily manipulated by spin masters into an eerie conclusion that Britain is to blame for the Manchester and London Bridge bombings. Such manipulation descends from insidious ‘groupthink’ into a warped, fear-stoking hegemonic narrative to boost Tory appeal.

With the rise of the independent alternative media, the British electorate are now far more discerning. Many of them filter out the ‘truth’ from the many layers of ‘propaganda’. However, they have perhaps not filtered out enough to swing the pendulum from the Tories to Labour in an age of fear and loathing – even in multi-cultural, multi-ethnic Britain.

It was previously believed that the elections involved choosing from the ‘lesser indistinguishable evils’: politicians who served corporate paymasters with a mere lip-service to democracy. However, Bernie Sanders and – more successfully – Justin Trudeau, encouragingly remind us that politics can indeed offer hope and vision.

Jeremy Corbyn – much like Bernie Sanders – is a compassionate humane leader. But his fate might similarly be sealed in favour of a ‘well-groomed establishment centrist’. Denied the chance for true change, the American electorate opted instead for the adrenalin rush of a climate change denier who craves to impose travel bans that contravene all international norms and conventions. Those who were insisting on a more ‘centrist‘ leader for the US got exactly what they deserved in Donald Trump.

Britain, of course, is not the US. But the global electorate is tired of being lied to and not getting what it is entitled, It is tired of the elite who live in ivory towers and are economical with the truth.

Anger provokes poor decisions. When angry and afraid, we indulge in destructive choices. It’s time for the global elite to make modest financial sacrifices. Electing the Tories for another five long years will throw the opportunity for change into the distant dystopia of 2022. It would constitute an exercise in collective self-loathing and sadism.

The British electorate must restore faith in humanity, the credibility of institutions, accountability at Whitehall and Westminster. The voters must collectively become the architects of a brighter tomorrow instead of digging deeper into an abyss. Britons must acknowledge multiculturalism and empathy as sincere strengths.

Britain, after more than a generation, has the unique opportunity of electing a well-meaning, sincere, honest leader in Jeremy Corbyn, who – while far from perfect –   has his heart in the right place, is determined to protect minorities, serve the people of Britain. He plans to staunchly defend the NHS and educate the youth who can pave the way for a better tomorrow.

The elections in Britain could become a meaningful exercise in democracy – a historic opportunity in the making. They could provide a chance to make votes actually count for something. These polls are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for ordinary Britons to reclaim Britain and all the values it holds dear. It could be a revolution in the making.


The writer is a freelance contributor.

Twitter: @ozerkhalid