Lots of people I know are tired, upset and worried today.
Some people I know are furious.
Some people are resigned.
And yes, I even know a few people who are very happy indeed.
Personally, this is not the election result I wanted.
Mind you, even a Labour landslide would have had me worried – and I say that as a Labour voter. I’m tired of adversarial politics. Of politics and politicians that do not reflect the diverse world in which we live. I do support parliamentary democracy (ie, I don’t know of any revolutions, even non-violent ones, that have worked for all of the people all of the time), but I think what really matters now is what we do next, what we EACH do next.
Here’s what I’m going to do now :
– keep working on, promoting, sharing, and developing Fun Palaces. Fun Palaces are about community activism, about engaging from the grassroots up and the local out, about people creating by and for their own locality, with their neighbours. They are about making it possible for everyone to feel able to engaged, and to know that their contribution is welcome. The developing part is in italics because we still don’t know exactly what Fun Palaces is. Are. I don’t expect we ever will. Each of the 138 Fun Palaces last year had the tone of where they were, a sense of their own locality. Each Fun Palace has taught us more about what Fun Palaces might be, can be. We don’t run our tiny Fun Palaces office of four part-timers believing we know what to do and telling signups how to do it. We run it knowing we are learning, growing, changing, developing. It’s the Fun Palaces themselves (the process of making as much as the weekend events) that are teaching us what they are.
– keep working for the Women’s Equality Party. Right now that means answering the massive amount of emails in #WE’s inbox in every spare minute I get. There are emails of support and interest from people of all ages, all genders, every part of the nations of Britain, people identifying as disabled, LGBT, BAME and the most mainstream of the mainstream. They want a new thing, they want to make a difference and they want to help.
I see these two as very linked. Fun Palaces were run by 72% women last year. Maybe that’s because of the Joan origins or because our core team was mostly women. Maybe that’s because women are more likely to volunteer (and 22% of those making/leading Fun Palaces were volunteers), maybe that’s because women are more likely to choose to work within their community, maybe that’s because women have found it harder to get on, been less welcomed as leaders in the mainstream/traditional world … I really don’t know, but that’s what we saw. I see that women are keen to engage, to make change, to do. And I welcome PEOPLE to engage.
I’m also going to get on with my new book. Because I am, after all, a writer in addition to all the rest of my work, and I didn’t stop wanting to tell stories, share story.
We all need to find our own ways to take part, to be IN the world, not outside and saddened by it.
My ways to do that work won’t be for everyone.
Where they are, I welcome you to join me.
Where they’re not, I urge you to find a way to make a difference that suits you.
(At the very least, it feels better than waiting for someone else to make the change.)
I urge you to jump in.