Today we learned that we will have a Conservative government for another five years, and I woke up feeling very pessimistic about the world. Clearly there are a lot of people who were swayed by the propaganda churned out by the billionaire owned newspapers, and the scaremongering about whether Scotland would steal English money. This is a sad day for the NHS, which will continue to be fragmented and put out to tender. It is a sad day for anyone dependent on benefits or health and social care services, who will continue to be blamed, stigmatised and treated like second class citizens. It is another five years in which wealth will be leached from the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society and given to the wealthiest and least deserving. So I could have stayed in bed and despaired for the state of the world. But I didn’t.
Today I made a difference person by person through my work. I also gave blood, and hopefully helped a stranger in their time of need. I was friendly to my neighbours and colleagues so that they could be a little happier as they went about their day. I donated to the DEC appeal for Nepal to help a displaced family have clean water. I gave advice to a person I don’t know on the internet to help them get their landlord to repair the hot water in their home. I spent time explaining things to my children and helped them to understand that the decisions that benefit us personally the most are not always the right ones to make when weighed up against the greater good. In other words, I made several small positive ripples go outwards into the world.
I’ve learnt that when problems on a global or political scale seem beyond my reach to influence I have two choices, to let despair immobilise me or to take it as an incentive to action. Today I was able to take the latter path, and I hope that many of you can too.