What can I do? What difference does signing a petition make? What’s the point in protesting, nothing changes?
The current political crisis swallowing up our country is exhausting, confusing, completely bonkers and sometimes a bit entertaining. Entertaining in a dark satirical comedy kinda way.
It’s easy to feel completely helpless.
And it’s ok to not know what the fuck you can do, or what the fuck is going. Even the most veteran political commentators don’t have a clue.
We’ve been told by those at the top – the ‘Establishment’, corporations, the media – that WE, the little people, can’t really change things.
Not that they explicitly say this – they’re cleverer than that. But we’ve been conditioned to think that it’s pointless. What can I do about it?
But YOU can make a difference.
And so can WE.
I know a lot of people see protests as stupid or having little impact – it’s just a bunch of placards right?
Wrong. Getting out on the street is what all the most important rights movement of that past century where all about.
For example: women marching for their right to vote, the civil rights movement, the LGBT+ rights movement and so many more.
Protests are a peaceful show of force, and you usually meet lots of likeminded people. They’re a great place to vent your frustration in a more positive way.
So next time you see one happening, go along. Make a placard, write fuck all over it. I swear it’ll make you feel a wee bit better.
If you can’t go along/crowds make you anxious, then share it on your social media, encourage others to go. You can still make a placard for your room.
Sometimes just saying fuck makes you feel better.
Yes I know, what does me signing a daft petition on Facebook do?
Well, over 11,000 people signed this petition for better public transport (I’m self-promoting), and Glasgow City Council now invite us (Get Glasgow Moving) along to Committees. We recently helped write the final report for the Climate Emergency Working Group.
We’ve also forced the Council to investigate buying back First Bus after 6,000 people signed this one.
Petitions sent to the government NEED to be debated when they reach a certain number. So they do work.
Other local petitions can help stop the closure of much needed community spaces, bus routes, shops and schools.
They work – so sign them!
REGISTER TO VOTE (and then go out and vote)
This is THE most IMPORTANT one you can do.
If every single person in this country turned out to vote – the results would be more reflective of society and probably less Tory.
It’s those aged over 60 who turn up to vote in the highest numbers. They’re also more likely to vote for right wing parties.
Young people have the lowest turn-out, but we’re more likely to vote for more socially progressive parties.
SO, young people am looking at you.
Here’s the link.
Register, share and tell yer old neighbour down the road not to vote for the Brexit Party, or the Tories, or Ukip, or Lib Dems (sorry they’re at it too).
THEN SHOW UP AND VOTE!
SPEAK TO YOUR LOCAL POLITICIANS
Local politics usually has more of an impact on your everyday life than the goings on at Holyrood and Westminster.
Did you know you can go chat to your local councillors/MSPs/MPs (I know so many titles)?
They have local surgeries that anyone can attend.
I’ll be honest I had no idea who my local councillors were till a couple months ago. But they’re the people who represent you at the Council. Then you’ve got your MSP/MP in Parliament.
Councillors are the ones in charge of making sure your bins are emptied, there’s a bus stop near you, clubs stay open late, your local park gets lit up at night and so on.
So, why don’t you go along and meet them? If you’ve got something worrying you whether it’s about local issues or national, they’re there to serve you.
You can also write to them!
In my experience, there’s some really good ones (and some really bad ones, soz).
You can find out who yours are here.
JOIN A CAMPAIGN GROUP / LOCAL ORGANISATION
There are so many different local groups doing so many different things. And they always need volunteers!
From community gardens, foodbanks, tenants unions, public transport campaigns (yes this is me PRing my job), climate activism, feminists groups, LGBTQ+ groups, groups for women of colour, people of colour, refugees and asylum seekers, cyclists, artists, books, food… I could go on, but you get me?
Go along with a friend and get involved in your local community.
Getting involved in stuff like this gives you a sense of worth. It makes you feel like you’re really doing something that’s having a positive impact.
That’s because you are.
Its local campaigns and organisations who truly represent ‘the people’, like you and I.
It’s where the power of people is fostered, the protests organised, petitions created and where local councillors go to be told by the people, what the people need.
Because, believe it or not YOU can do a hell of lot if WE all realise how much power we have.
Other things you can do in this time of uncertainty:
Take some time out, buy a plant, do a face mask, have a bath, have a duvet day, don’t read the news, stick on Friends, see your pals, get a pint, pets – borrow someone’s, do some exercise, listen to music, book a holiday (you’re worth it), have a lie in, get up early, buy that overpriced winter jacket you want… Ok I think I’m talking to myself now.