Shall we a) Go to the Winchester or b) Get Busy?

Sorry for two posts in one day, but I’ve been wanting to write this for three days and the longer I leave it, the more obsolete it has the potential to become.

Quite a few commenters have asked over the last few days, what shall we do?

My initial reaction is to trigger the plans my children made in the event of a upcoming zombie apocalypse. We have two choices in this scenario. Firstly, we go through our neighbours’ back gardens, commando stylie, and make for Tallulah’s school which has a lock down area in the arts department. This also includes the cookery and textile classrooms so we should be alright for food and clothes for a bit. Secondly, we could just go to the Winchester, have a beer, and wait for all this to blow over.

Or we could go for my Seventies, ‘When The Wind Blows’, plan, which is to build an underground bunker out of old doors, and survive on tins of Spam and Fray Bentos steak and kidney pies whilst weeping into a lifetimes’ supply of Mellow Birds.

Or we could just end it all now in an apocalyptic death cult type pact in the hope that the alien craft will really suck our souls into nirvana.

There are other things we could do, and which I am doing in a scattergun attempt to plug all the leaks in one go whilst looking like a contestant in some deranged Channel Five game show. All the time being aware that Boris Johnson wearing an Anneka Rice style lycra onesie is holding the stop watch and shouting at me.

Firstly, I have joined the Electoral Reform Society. I wanted proportional representation in the last election. I am fully aware that had we had it, UKIP would have gained more seats, but the disenfranchised would have seen their voices represented, and we could have dealt with it in a more governable fashion than what we have to deal with now. I think it’s important to push for it in the next election. It is time that people in this country were more fairly represented.

I’ve written to my MP, the ever patient Jon Ashworth, who I write to with increasing and frenzied regularity. He has, in the past, pulled the stops out for me with regard to my NHS campaigning, so don’t think it’s worth not writing to yours. You never know. The best thing I learned from writing to MPs is that you need to tell them specifically what you want them to do for you, so they have something to aim at. It’s no good writing because you want to moan. That’s what blogs are for.

You can find your MP on the parliamentary website if you don’t know who he/she is. If you email them, you must include your address and postcode so that they can verify you as a constituent. You can only write to MPs who are not your own and expect a reply if they are doing some other job that directly impacts on your campaign/issue.

As you know, I joined a political party. I was already a member of the Women’s Equality Party. Now I am also a member of the Labour party. I consider WEP to be my party of choice. They campaign for equality for everyone, not just women and they believe in working using cross party co-operation where possible. I feel that their way is practical and builds bridges where other parties seek to isolate from each other.

I was already a supporter of the None of the Above campaign. It argues that for those of us who feel disenfranchised and yet want to take part in democracy, that all ballot papers should include a box to tick which allows you to choose ‘None of the above’ and that it be counted. I think it’s a brilliant idea.

I have signed a petition which asks for 16/17 year olds to be given the vote. If they can get married, pay taxes and drive cars, they should be allowed to have a say in how our country is governed.

I signed another petition calling for MPs not to be allowed to campaign on lies.

I signed a petition to ask that schools add to the national curriculum a mandatory element in life skills/civics classes that includes how our political system works and what voting actually represents. I shall also be writing to my children’s schools individually.

I have, in desperation, and more in an attempt to slow things down in the hope that some fucker will come up with a plan, signed an EU petition begging the EU to take pity on me, a poor norphan of the storm.

I have bought and am wearing a safety pin to indicate my solidarity against racism and show that I will not be turning a blind eye to any shenanigans on my watch. I’m fully prepared to jab the sharp end into the eye of any fascist twat weasel that crosses my path.

I emailed my local council through Amnesty, to do their utmost to act against race hate in my city.

I am hoping to go along to our city’s Eid celebrations that will be taking place in my local park next week to show solidarity.

I realise that this makes me look like the Outraged of Knighton petition signing queen, but sometimes this is where you have to start if you want change. I am actually doing things too. There’s NHS campaigning, the literacy support, the rallying around local causes to try to strengthen our community and bring it together.

There will be stuff like this in your area. You can search on Facebook for events and groups and causes.

And then there’s the talking, the sticking your head above the parapet. I will not be good, be quiet, shut up, stop being a nuisance. Why would I want to do anything that would make it any easier for you to disenfranchise me further? Oh, that’s right. I wouldn’t. Keep shouting. Stand up. Be counted. The more they shout at you, the more frightened they are. It’s often a question of who shouts the loudest and longest. Luckily, I have a bellow like a bull and the tenacity of a terrier chasing a particularly juicy rat.

Protect what you treasure before someone takes it away from you. It’s easier to keep what you have, than try to get something back that’s gone.

Peace, out.

I’m off to the Winchester for a pint. See you there?

61 responses to “Shall we a) Go to the Winchester or b) Get Busy?

  1. Deborah Glover MBE

    Katy, found your blog this week – excellent! As you are on a petition-signing roll, perhaps you would consider this one too? The DH are planning to cut the nursing, midwifry and AHP unit, thereby silencing the voices of these professionals.. They are eroding the nursing profession bit by bit

  2. If we’d had proportional representation in the last election I would have voted differently.

  3. smerlinchesters

    There’s not stuff like this in my area, I live in a ‘Leave’ area and I guess I’m already surrounded by zombies and waiting for that alien ship to take me away. I will follow your advice about writing to my MP, I know who he is and I hope he’s not too busy being entangled in the Labour debacle. I also hope he thinks I’m still one of his constituents, me being a EU citizen; well I didn’t move at all, they only took away my rights on the 25th but physically still surviving lol
    All this after a UKIP genius suggested in the House of Lords that we get used as ‘hostages’ in the EU negotiations….. If you don’t see me commenting around, I was snatched by UKIP gulag officers and locked away lol

  4. I’m coming! Really enjoyed this post and found it very informative and inspiring. Thank you.

  5. Helen Capstick

    Fantastic- woman after my own heart! I’m Hampshire based too. I’ve been thinking of writing to my (Tory) MP too but need to make it clear what about to avoid whingeing. My passion is lies, deceit and dirt of the press and how the Levenson report findings have been quietly ignored. It seems common decency, honesty and fair justice are so last year. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. The civic lessons are taught in France and gave been for years

  6. Great ideas – on it!!

  7. Like many others I have only discovered your blog very recently. I have to say I love your writing style as much as your attitude.

    Now, on to the subject at hand: What do you mean; politics are not part of the curriculum? Pupils in this country do not learn the basics on how their political landscape has developed, how elections on different levels work, what everybody can do to participate? Seriously?

    Forgive my ignorance, I am just a EU citizen (thanks for standing up for us!) with a permanent residence card in the UK (been here for almost a decade now), and our daughter is not old enough for school just yet.
    That said, I know for a fact that the “Life in the UK” test, which is required to become citizen here, covers some basic questions about the UK’s values and political system, including main key facts about how members of parliament are elected. That’s not taught in school? Well that would explain a lot!

    • No. Children do classes in citizenship and life skills but unless they are able to sign up for politics, usually taught only at A level, they get taught nothing about the way our country is run at all. It’s appalling. x

    • smerlinchesters

      @Kraut I’ve passed the text in 2014 and it’s necessary to read a very tiny book full of information about history and politics, how the British government work, etc. to go through it. After reading the book, I also practiced a lot with the tests online. I passed them all. My husband, British, and with a higher education, failed most of them LOL

      • @smerlinchesters: I’ve done the reading and the mock tests as well. It’s really not that hard, nor does it take much time to prepare. (Will be doing the actual test next year.) How they cannot squeeze in a couple of hours for all pupils to at least understand how democracy in general and their own country in particular works, is beyond me. Appalling indeed.

        I’ll go and find out if a permanent resident (as opposed to a citizen) can sign petitions. If yes, I’ll sign it. I want my daughter to learn things that matter in school, even though she’s nowhere near school age yet.

      • smerlinchesters

        I’m permanent resident and I can (or could until now, let’s see!) sign petitions. I didn’t go ahead with citizenship, the reasons why could be as long as a blog article! Home Office bureaucracy is unbelievable. You’re right about all the rest!

  8. I bloody loved this post. I’m about to sign most of the things you linked to. If my body would let me, I’d be out campaigning. Never give up!

    PS, which Winchester?

  9. Wow. This blog should be compulsory reading in all schools – and churches, too. In our neck of the woods, the literacy levels are so low in some of the schools (amongst the teachers as well as the pupils) I’m not entirely convinced they would be able to comprehend much of it, let alone act upon it. I can feel my personal ‘educate our children!’ rant bubbling to the surface. I’ll squash that and ask: is there anything I can do/say/write to improve the lot of our local children? What would be your strategy? I don’t want the fact that I’m female and 69 to stop me doing something. I have also been signing all the petitions that resonate and have a safety pin at the ready when I go out this evening to help a few pals with their event. I’m still trembling with disgust at the loathsome behaviour of some of our countrymen.

    • The best thing I can think of is to go to the schools and volunteer to hear readers and to read stories. The World Health Organisation recognises literacy as the single biggest factor in making a difference socially to children. If you want to get out of the poverty trap, teach them to read, and better, teach them to comprehend what they’re reading. Good luck.

  10. Excellent ideas, and good to encourage us all to get our teeth into something instead of just banging out our brains on the nearest wall. I live in Ireland, but the basic principle is the same (both re action and head-banging). By the way, two things that you will enjoy if you haven’t seen them – I saw Boris referred to as ‘Flip Flop’, as you never know which policy he’s currently supporting, and Tina Brown described Farage as looking like ‘a rat poison salesman’. Too good not to pass on, especially as both fit to a T. Really hope your campaign to keep the Vaughan open works too – I signed it. Criminal to close a place like that down, but Asset Stripping is the new adventure sport.

  11. Katyboo party with deputy pm Nicola Sturgeon

  12. Inspiring blog that reflects the still incandescent rage I feel about what happened 7 days ago, 6 days ago, 5 days ago and so on and the Tory actions today could see me over the edge into a full lid blown explosion.
    I’m glad to see there are many who feel the same and are prepared to get off their backsides and do something about it. Thank the lord I wasn’t losing the plot and my country hadn’t really gone to the dogs, its just lost its way at the moment and needs some help pushing back into line. I shall take on a lot of your advice and will be following keenly. In the meantime I have just popped a white feather in the post to Boris, well I felt better for it.

  13. I joined the Labour Party earlier this week when all the resignations started. I also wrote to my MP, John Healey, asking him to support Jeremy Corbyn, but he resigned his Shadow Cabinet post that same day 😦 It feels like the PLP just stuck two fingers up at the public this week. We really needed them to step up and they let us down badly. I’m angry about the EU, and I’m even angrier at the majority of Labour MPs. Thanks for all the suggestions – my blood pressure starts coming down a bit if I feel like I’m doing something!

  14. excellent suggestion (re approaching schools, reading and listening) – thank you so much!

  15. Love your blog, your attitude and your willingness to be open about all the things you are doing. V inspiring. For people like me who are confused as hell about what to do next, sheepish as that may be, it is great that some people are happy to share their thoughts. Thanks!

    • I don’t blame you for being confused. I was confused for years! I’m just trying to make up for lost time, and trying to show my children I’m not a gigantic idiot some of the time.

  16. Your action plan is spookily similar to mine! Joined Labour Party and the Electoral Reform Soc a couple of mornings ago having had sleepless nights since last Friday. I am now rampantly facebooking, emailing, reading and listening. I haven’t been so energised in years and your blog has made me laugh out loud. I live in beautiful rural Lincolnshire. Very Brexit round here. Feeling a bit isolated, but now more hopeful.

  17. You’re a busy lass Katy, and good on ya. All I’ve done is join the SNP, and decided to vote independent next time. Last time head won over heart, and I was born English so….

    Joining a political party is pretty extreme for me, but I am now angry enough to stand up and be counted. I cannot believe how these pumped up politicians wrecked our economic recovery and stability and so many people’s lives all over their own egos and ambitions. And today was a new low. Well at least you might get some straight talking female leaders to the major parties you have down there at the moment. On the whole I really find the female of the species more honest and forthright even if I disagree with many of them. They also won a lot of respect in all the ballyhoo by actually answering questions put to them instead of turning it round so that they can talk about what THEY wanted to get across, or weaselling out of it altogether with spiel.

    Meanwhile I wonder if compulsory voting might engage people or at least get them into the habit of exercising their democratic rights, especially women -whose forbears went to such extraordinary lengths to win those rights. I agree that education on civics etc. is woeful and too late as well. I agree 16 and 17 year olds should be able to vote- the Scottish referendum showed how sensible they were and how they wanted to be involved in deciding their future, and the debates were vigorous and good natured up here. It was a pleasure to be able to have a civilised discussion and be open to new ideas and be challenged to re-examine and question one’s own opinions by being questioned on them by young people. And no-one told anyone to go home or leave the country. Scotland has long welcomed incoming foreign workers as our demographic is of an aged and declining population, and we also stand ready to welcome the finance industry should they find an independent next door neighbour handy- Edinburgh already has 3 major bank headquarters.

    Tired and surprised- off to watch more Boris news on the box..

    • I have noticed what you say about female politicians. It’s interesting isn’t it? I wonder if it’s to do with pragmatism. I am a great believer in pragmatism.

  18. I’ve been following your blog for years, and am thoroughly enjoying your recent posts, keep up the good works

  19. Katy
    I would like to say a massive thank you for this and preceding posts about the whole Brexit shebang. I have quoted you extensively, because firstly I have what seems like a whole tsunami of fuckwittery coming at me on this issue and not even my massive gob or typing speed can deal with all of it unless I access a millennium -worth of aphetamines; and secondly because you more often than not perfectly express what I wanted to say anyway.

    So… solidarity and sense versus the dark forces of fuckwittery in all its manifestations 🙂

  20. Spangled Rabbit posted these details on a different blog post, but they are very useful for those of you looking for things to do, so I’ve cut and pasted them into this post in case anyone wants to act on them: Firstly, I just wanted to say that I’m sorry you’ve had so many trolls and so much abuse merely for having an opinion. The level of public discourse over Brexit has been woeful as so many people seem to think that they are best served by hurling abuse rather than learning about why others have differing opinions.

    Secondly, I think you and your readers might find this very interesting indeed:

    “A high-profile barrister has launched a publicly-funded campaign with human rights firm Bindmans to consider a public law case on the result of the EU referendum.”

    “The campaign questions the premise of the EU referendum held last week: that the vote would be ‘advisory’ to the government. Maugham’s campaign asks who is being advised by the referendum, the prime minister, the government, or parliament.

    “Maugham (pictured) told Legal Business: ‘The narrow point that we are taking is that parliament enacted an advisory referendum. It could have enacted a referendum that had the effect of triggering article 50 but it didn’t. So who is to take that advice from the voters?

    “‘If parliament had intended the result of the referendum to be binding it could have done so. But it did not intend that.’”

    It’s well worth reading in its entirety. If you want to keep up to date with this work, you can sign up for emails here:

    • Also, this may interest some of you. It calls for an alliance of progressive parties to form a workable coalition for the future of the country:

    • This all sounds good Katy …And yet Teresa May has been quoted as saying that she will respect the outcome of the referendum. The media did report on this a little but basically to say how the Brexiters thought it was a shameful thing to do against a democratically won vote and that there would be rioting in the streets if it were to go ahead. Big sigh, Jane

  21. Great blogs recently Katy. Sadly, I think your proportional representation desires are unlikely to be satisfied any time soon. I have been an advocate of PR for about 45 years and got all excited when the Lib Dems got into a coalition government and forced a referendum on PR – remember that (in 2011)? Another shambles! On a turnout of just 42% the referendum voted 68% to 32% to stick with our current ‘democratic’ system. And all because both Labour and Conservatives got their buddies in the media onside and rubbished the Lib Dems’ campaign.

    Quote from Wikipedia – The campaign was described in retrospect by political scientist Iain McLean as a “bad-tempered and ill-informed public debate” – do you see any similarities with last week’s bun fight?

    That same media that have been so lazy and useless in the EU referendum campaign. All they did was regurgitate press releases and sound-bites, from both sides, without any real follow up. Where was the incisive questioning, the fearless pursuit of facts to support either sides’ claims? Oh, I forgot – it’s sensational stories that sell papers……and facts are boring.

    In all the finger pointing about whose fault this current mess is, the media has to be up there, along with Boris/Gove/Farage and Cameron (what a pillock for agreeing to the referendum in the first place).

    Keep up your excellent ramblings!

  22. After the initial shock, my first hope was that flip-flop Boris would get the keys to No.10 because (a) I thought it was important that he drank the poison from his own chalice and (b) he was the best chance of a PM who would interpret “leave” in a way that in the end looked just like “remain”. Unfortunately Michael Gove obviously thought the same thing and he closed that door.

    My next hope was that one of the Libertarian Europhobes (Liam Fox, IDS or similar) might somehow claim the crown, potentially alienating enough Tory MPs to allow even the most shambolic Labour leadership to instigate and win a vote of no confidence in order to force a general election. I would campaign for anyone who then stood on a manifesto promise of remaining in the EU, even though overturning my MP’s 26,416 Conservative majority would be difficult to say the least. A “unity” candidate such as Theresa May would not be helpful to my vote of no confidence plan. She might be the most competent of the contenders but I see her diligently delivering Brexit rather than finding any imaginative means of subverting or overturning it. She would certainly close the door to a general election any time soon.

    At that point, my next hope is that enough Remain MPs from all parties might
    balk at voting to repeal the ECA when that moment comes. This is the next real challenge of self-interest versus the common good. It is relatively easy for an opposition Remain MP for a “safe” constituency that voted to Remain to resign over the issue and force a by-election (e.g. almost all of the SNP MPs and many metropolitan Labour MPs). It is much harder if the constituency voted to leave and/or the seat is a marginal one or the MP is in government and risks seeing his party lose power, or is at risk of deselection should the Corbyn regime survive. That is when the genuinely honourable members among those who represent us could stand up and be counted. If enough MPs force enough by-elections it could force a general election or just tip the scales of power without one.

    So if we want to write to our MPs that is what I suggest we ask them to do – do the right thing and resign when they are asked to take the first Parliamentary step towards implementing Brexit.

    Remind your MP that it is not undemocratic to exercise our right to freedom of speech and of thought. It was not undemocratic when ethnic minorities campaigned for civil rights; nor when unions campaigned for workers’ rights; nor when LGBT and disabled people campaigned for an end to discrimination. No one stopped Farage and Fox and Rees-Mogg from banging on for all those years; no one even stops the fuckwits from EDL and Britain First from expressing their foul views; so no one can or should stop the 48% either. Minorities have to fight for their voices to be heard, and the 48% need to start thinking and acting like a very large minority who can insist on being heard on a matter of such gargantuan significance. Nothing will change if we roll over and accept the unacceptable, and if nothing else it would be good to think that all of us, young and old, might learn that one lesson from this experience.

    Thanks for writing Katy.

  23. If we had proportional representation I would have voted differently. Definitely I would have. This first past the post crap is just wrong.

    • It is indeed, stupid, but it keeps the two main parties comfortably in power. Andrea Leadsom, for example, sank a great deal of money into supporting an anti Proportional Representation think tank.

  24. Just want to make a point here that they are not the 54%, they are the 37%. The Remain got about 36% of the vote, not quite but close to and 27% of the electorate didn’t vote. If you look at it that way what we have is 1/3 of the electorate wants to take 1/3 of the electorate their way while discounting completely just under 1/3 of the electorate. For a referendum I would say that is quite an unsafe result. Or maybe I am kidding myself in my determination to change the result. … but there will be rioting in the streets if this doesn’t go ahead, I am told. ps I could quite throttle the 27%.

  25. fair point but I will point out it was a quite peaceful march on Saturday for over 50,000 people.

  26. Interesting post. There’s something I’m trying to work out how to do, and I’m not sure how to go about it, or even what exactly I want.

    During the Scottish referendum, the media was clearly biased towards the Union. There was far more positive Union stories and negative Leave stories, Union parties had more representation, some things weren’t even being reported on, etc. There have been independent university studies that show a clear bias.

    During Brexit it has been much the same. Things clearly haven’t been investigated. Opinion was reported as fact. Where were the in depth investigations into each claim? If people vote for people and not for parties, where was the in depth studies of the key people.

    I trust Facebook posts more than national papers now. I do my own research. Wikipedia is a more reliable source than most papers. The only paper I can trust completely is the Daily Fail, and that’s only because I can rely on them to be have gone to the complete opposite end from what is true. If the Daily Mail says immigrants are over running the country, clearly they aren’t. If the Daily Mail says there’s flooding in Yorkshire, it’s probably a drought.

    Now it’s starting up again with the potential indy ref 2.

    I find I no longer agree with the freedom of the press. They should be free to investigate any story, to look into anyone. In fact, I think they have a duty to do that.

    But they shouldn’t be free to present opinions as facts. They should be held to account for the lies they publish. They should be investigating properly.

    But what do I do about it? Start/sign a petition? Write to my MP? Start a national paper?

    I’d love any thoughts you have on this subject.

    • I have signed a petition or two asking that the press be held to account for this type of thing, and also that electoral campaign material must be fact checked. I think both the ones I signed were on the government petition website. I may have put links on my Winchester blog. I agree with you wholeheartedly.

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