It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy; to embrace the joyous task we’ve been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours. Because for all our outward differences, we all share the same proud title: Citizen.
Ultimately, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try to talk with one in real life. If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself. Show up. Dive in. Persevere. Sometimes you’ll win. Sometimes you’ll lose. Presuming a reservoir of goodness in others can be a risk, and there will be times when the process disappoints you. But for those of us fortunate enough to have been a part of this work, to see it up close, let me tell you, it can energize and inspire.
These are the words of Barack Obama, from his Farewell Address. He aimed those words at America as he prepared to pass office to Donald Trump. He reminded Americans, all Americans, that it was vital to resist forces that would divide them, whilst rallying his followers to work hard and to be vigilant. Obama said those words to America, but they apply to the UK right now. Britain is deeply divided, people are disenfranchised and feel alienated. Healing is possible, but unquestionably difficult. It is also vital if we are to move forward and have a future of any worth.
I still believe in the spirit and values of Labour. I will fight for a just and fair society. I do not believe the Tories have any interest in creating one. Their record over the last nine years is woeful. A Tory government with a Prime Minister who has been openly racist, bigoted and sexist, with a mandate to do whatever they want, is terrifying, but it’s what we’ve got. Engagement, conversation and discourse is vital. The grassroots movement will not die. It needs, to be nurtured. Hope needs to be nurtured. Here in Great Britain, we need to be jealous guardians of our democracy, challenging the Tories at every turn.