The Lesser of Two Evils

Today was my first General Election and I’ve never been so torn in my life. What are you supposed to vote for when you have no faith and disagree with both parties who are taking part in a Two-Horse Race?

In the one corner, we have conservatives, the party who will get us through Brexit and ensure we get a good deal out of it. In the other corner, we have labour, the party for the “working man,” and who wants to save our NHS. But for me, both these parties have fatal flaws that I cannot justify to vote for either of them.

Let’s start with Conservatives, who many will say are there to make the rich, richer. They are fighting for a cap on social care costs, scrapping of free school meals for primary school students, cutting taxes for the large corporations, Dementia Tax, preventing a pay rise for hard-working Nurses, and finally, bringing back Fox Hunting. There has also been speculation that they plan to privatise the NHS, however, the party has pledged to increase NHS spending “by a minimum of £8 billion in real terms over the next five years.” They also claim immigrants using the NHS will face increased charges, and that they will secure the status of the 140,000 health and social care sector staff from EU countries. In their actual manifesto, the party pledge to lower immigration, raise the tax-free personal allowance, as well as the above mentioned increased funding to the NHS.

Then we’ve got Labour, the party who want to make University Tuition free, increase the national minimum wage, increase Corporation tax as well as higher taxes for the high earners, and increase funding to the NHS. Now all of this may seem positive, but have you really thought about all of this?

I am a 19-year-old girl, who is both in education and working (paying tax may I also add,) and I just cannot add all of Labours plans together?  To start with, the free University Tuition just does not sit right with me. Understandable for degrees leading to essential jobs we need in our Country such as; the teachers, the doctors, the nurses, the researchers etc. But I will not be supportive of sending Mr Bloggs from Newport to University for three years, for free, to study Photography, just to come out and go work in a job that a degree wasn’t needed. If that’s the case, maybe I’ll go study “Surf Science and Technology” in Cornwall if I’m getting it for free! Surely that £27,000 is better off in the NHS? Especially when between the years of 2010 to 2015, the annual cost of Cancer treatment alone in our NHS was an astonishing £5 billion. Quite frankly, supporting free tuition fees to me feels like we are promoting kids to go have three years in university for the social life, when actually maybe they should start taking some responsibility for their future.

Next, we have the increase in higher earners taxes and corporation tax, in which the money recovered will apparently go to increasing NHS funding and this free tuition for students. Now before I start stating my opinion on this topic, I’d like to make a point that I am nowhere near being a high earner and have only recently started making enough money to even get taxed. Yet it still doesn’t sit right with me that somebody who has worked hard to get to the position they are in or have a real talent to show the World, should have their tax increased so I can go and study “Surf Science and Technology” for free. If a normal person won £64 million on the lottery, they are not expected to pay tax on the winnings, and they’ve acquired that money on sheer luck. That type of money is still more than some of these high earners are likely to earn in their working lifetime, yet for some reason, we are entitled to this money tax-free. This brings me onto the corporation tax. So yes, large companies need to be paying the right amount of tax which hasn’t necessarily been happening. However, paying the right amount of tax and increasing that tax even further is a different ball game. When you pair that with Corbyn wanting an increase in the National Minimum Wage (meaning some of these companies outgoings in wages may near enough increase by a quarter) and then adding in the factor the people behind the decision making at these companies are also going to get personally taxed more (if in the UK) for their high wage, would you really want to keep trading in this country if it was you, or move your focus elsewhere where there is a lower minimum wage you have to pay your employees. Yes, there is the argument that currently, we have one of the lowest corporation taxes in Europe and that the increase would only make us on par with the rest of the nations, however, with the uncertainty of the deals going to be made regarding BREXIT, shouldn’t we consider corporation tax as a factor that could potentially persuade companies not to jump ship to another country?

Then we’ve got the national minimum wage increase as a problem on its own. An increase in the national minimum wage could be devastating to those independent small businesses that are becoming harder and harder to come across every day. These businesses are already struggling to compete with larger corporations competitive prices and the convenience they provide in where we can get multiple types of goods in one place. Increasing the minimum wage means their outgoings would be increased with no potential of it increasing their profitability. This will only make these businesses lose money, which may even have the potential of closing these businesses down and therefore making more people unemployed. It’s all well and good increasing the national minimum wage, but if businesses can’t afford to pay it, these people are facing having no wage at all because there is no longer a job for them.

And Finally,  the thing that concerns me the most potentially about Labour is them trying to get the Best BREXIT deal for our country. Leaving the EU was a decision made by us last year, and regardless if we’ve changed our minds, it’s happening. I’m struggling to have any faith that any party that was against leaving the EU will be able to get what we need when making deals with other countries. Is Jeremy Corbyn really strong enough to get what we need when leaving the EU? I respected David Cameron for stepping down when we sided against his fight for staying in the EU. I don’t think he would be in a place to negotiate for our benefit, in the same way, we would find it very hard to fight for a cause we don’t believe in.

I want to see a party willing to change how our system works. Too many people get away with abusing our system. I’ve seen and know people first hand who are able to work, yet choose to live off the state through our benefits system because it’s an easier option and we are allowing them to do it. Even more so, I’ve worked with some people who are actually worse off for working than they would be claiming benefits. The cost of childcare and other things related to this which they’d get support for off the state if they didn’t choose to work makes these people lose money every week. Furthermore the abusing of our NHS should not go on and needs to be tightened. We have some people who are going to the doctor’s each week to get their note for why they can’t work and need benefits, and then they are going off doing “odd jobs” on the side, tax-free. Then we have those who’ll go for a prescription of paracetamol costing the NHS four times as much as we can pick it up for, and I’m sure many of you have seen the article about people flying into the country for medical treatment they cannot pay for.

And finally, I still do not understand why the refugees we accept have no right to work? Some of these people are highly educated. We have doctor’s coming in and the only option they have is to be supported by the state? Surely something should be implemented where we can make use of the skills these people have and lessen the burden they have on our economy?

For me, it felt like today I had to decide which one of these parties was the lesser evil. I disagreed with both Labour and Conservatives and knew the only party that I have any hope for had no chance of getting in. So do I decide which of these parties is the lesser evil? Or do I stick with my gut and vote for a minority party who’s manifesto and policies I believed in? Even saying this, not one party addressed some of the issues that I wanted to be addressed. And furthermore, I don’t actually believe that any of the parties will stick to their word, just like with BREXIT and the promises made to us if we voted to leave, which were then back-tracked just a day after the vote.

Bad Wording

On twitter the other day, I saw somebody jump down another person’s throat for tweeting that they felt depressed. There are people who think it’s inconsiderate and thoughtless to describe a moment of sadness as feeling depressed because tomorrow that person will be back to their happy normal self. A person suffering from depression, however, can not do this. Because of this, I think it needs to be remembered “depressed” has more than one definition.

Depression – A state of feeling sad

Depression – A serious medical condition affecting somebody’s mental health

There is a difference between these two words, and without a tone of voice to be matched with them over social media, it can easily be misinterpreted. I’m not necessarily saying people should stop using it as a description of their emotion, but people need to be wary of their audience and whom it may affect.

Personally, it does not offend me if somebody said they were feeling depressed today. Today. That is the key. Depression is a lifetime battle as many will tell you. I have people in my family who suffer and they will tell you first hand it doesn’t go away on its own or forever. But feeling depressed as an emotion is only a short-term feeling. It’s not something that is with you long term or gives you continuous bad thoughts, and it’s something that can usually be overcome in a second by fixing the environmental change that caused that feeling.

My point in all this is, don’t take every word you read literally. Words mean different things to different people, and somebody who’s probably never known anyone suffering from depression would not understand why it could appear offensive. Possibly the most useful thing English literature taught me at GCSE is that it’s all about people’s perceptions of the words and not the words themselves.

Help

A massive difference between me and a lot of people is that I’ve never been too afraid or too proud to ask for help if I need it. I was brought up to ask if I needed something or to say if I didn’t understand so I could learn to be a better person, and this is something I’ll always be grateful for.

To me, this quality is a key part of what allowed for me to change my attitude and overcome what was going through with my head over the last year. I knew something wasn’t right and rather than be ashamed of it, I knew I had to tell my parents what was happening and knew I had to make that initial doctor’s appointment because I recognised that it was something I couldn’t fix on my own.

I’m a very open person and I wear my heart on my sleeve for anybody to see if they bother to give me enough attention. Mainly because, if they are putting in enough effort to be able to see that I’m upset and they want to help or are actually giving up their time to ask me how I am, I believe they are people who I can trust.

To be honest, I am a needy person. I sometimes crave attention and other times I love being alone, but recently I’ve come to realise I don’t rely on people much anymore. It’s not because they’ve let me down in the past, but because I’ve learnt from when they’ve helped in the past and can help myself in a lot of situations now.

I don’t always need people, but I like that they are there. I like having pointless conversations over nothing that I won’t recall in a weeks time, I like having a large support network I can rely on if I do need help, and I like having people around me who make me laugh, but I also like my own company sometimes and don’t want people to get annoyed if I don’t want to spend the whole day checking my phone for notifications, and I don’t want to upset people by not replying because I’m out with a group of people, or just sat in the living room having quality time with my family.

I get two (three at a push) free evenings a week. I have work, sixth form, my volunteer placement and then my school work I have to complete outside my lessons every week, and to be honest, sometimes it’s a stressful workload to balance. To add on top of that family visits, catching up with friends from three different circles, and finding some down time for myself as well as trying to keep the house tidy is near impossible. At the moment every minute feels like a second, and I often don’t want to spend every spare second on my phone. I apologise if that’s selfish and that often my friends are getting a catch up at the end of the day rather than talking all throughout the day, but isn’t it true that your best friends are the people you can go without talking to for weeks on end and then the next time you see them everything is normal?

Sometimes, little things that have happened may get to me and often I don’t want to write a whole blog post about it and vent my feelings, so I’ll write a little tweet about it instead. Like I mentioned before about writing this blog, writing it down for people to see can release a lot of negativity I’ve been holding onto, so with that in mind, just because I write a negative tweet, I don’t necessarily need help. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful people care enough about me to check I’m ok and want to help, but I don’t want people to constantly waste their time and efforts on me if it’s not needed. Please enjoy life and stop worrying. I will ask for help if I need it and know I have people I can go to, so unless I ask, please don’t worry.

Accepting Me

When I look back at myself a year ago, or even 6 months ago, I realise how much I’ve changed and if I may say so myself, grown as a person.

Like a typical teenage girl, I was concerned about my social media stats. Did I get enough likes on my profile picture on Facebook? Are people reading and supporting my tweets on Twitter? Did people care enough to talk about me or my posts?  I was worried about the things people could see about me online and whether I looked “popular” enough. If I didn’t get a satisfactory response, I would remove that photo or remove the tweet even though it’s what I thought or even if I felt pretty and happy with my appearance in that photo.

Nowadays, I post photos without messaging my friends first about what they think. If I’m worried about what people think, it’s not because I’m worried they won’t like me, but more so I’m worried I’ve offended them with a controversial tweet or by just being honest which, apparently some people don’t like.

I used to find joy online from one “special” person liking my photo or reaching 70, 80, 90 likes on my profile photo, but now I couldn’t care less.

The one thing that actually brings me joy is accomplishing something and actually expressing myself. This is something that this blog has given me and has actually been the only place I can do this apart from having discussions or debates about specific topics with the people I’m closest to.

Writing posts brings me more joy and more pleasure than any “acceptance” I’ve previously received from the community around me through the means of likes or retweets. I’ve outgrown all of these gimmicks and just want to be heard. A community of strangers on here has accepted me for who I am and allowed me to find myself in a short period of time.

I no longer feel like I need a person sat behind a computer screen to accept me by liking my status or retweeting my tweet. To be honest I couldn’t care less if they accept me at all because I am being honest to myself and if they don’t like this version of me, I don’t need them.

I am the only one who needs to be proud of me, and I am the only person who needs to like a photo of myself.

The Fundamentals of Caring

Tonight I watched a film called “The Fundamentals of Caring.” Yes, it was a film. And yes, it was made interesting so people would watch it. But unlike many films I’ve watched, it captured some people’s day to day lives and the struggles they face on a regular basis just to survive, let alone actually LIVE.

The film started with a man becoming a caregiver to a boy with limited mobility. This boy lived his life by a regular routine, only leaving the house once a week where he would go to the same park, E.V.E.R.Y. W.E.E.K.

The reality is that this is life for some people. And when I say some people, it’s actually a LOT of people. A statistic from the film said that 1 in 3500 people suffer from the same disorder as this boy. I don’t know how true that is, but I wonder how many people look at their limitations and think about what they can’t do instead of what they can. In numerous parts of the world, there is a lack of support and lack of funding to help these people do things we do every day and take for granted.

I’ve been working with children with disabilities for nearly 5 years now in a youth group setting, and it wasn’t until when I watched this film I began to wonder what opportunities are available to them when they turn 21, what they will do with their lives, and whether they’ll let their disabilities become limitations.

I’ve taken for granted little things like going out with my friends or being able to drive a car. I haven’t considered how much more difficult life could be if just one thing changed. Working 1-to-1 with an autistic child does make you consider how blessed you are that you are able to make small talk, or even explain what you are looking for or need in a supermarket without thinking about it.

I’ve taken everyday life for granted. I haven’t appreciated how blessed I am to be healthy, to have a job, to have a huge support network of family and friends, to be able to drive or jump on a bus with ease, and the opportunity to carry on with education. It’s only now I realise how lucky I am. Real life experience didn’t tell me this because the children I’ve worked with have all had amazing support networks, but that isn’t the case everywhere.

I want to travel. I want to see weird and wonderful sites. I want to volunteer with Big Animals. I eventually want a family. I want to buy my own property. I want to “slum it” in a foreign country and travel on scraps of money. I want a lot. I dream big.

Some people only want to pee standing up. (Watch the film)

 

 

**The film was based on a book linked below which I’ll definitely be giving a read.

http://m.imdb.com/title/tt2452386/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Revised_Fundamentals_of_Caregiving

 

 

Sticks and Stones

“Sticks and Stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.”

This is a lie I told myself throughout my childhood. Almost all the times I can remember crying throughout my school years was because of words that came out of people’s mouths. Words with no meaning behind and were just used as words to win an argument, usually not actually meant.

Up until recently, I thought I was the things what other people said I was, but I realised I was so much more and that was just their perceptions. Over the past 6 months, although there’s been an ongoing battle with my mind, I’ve gained in confidence. By that, I don’t mean I think I am the most beautiful 18-year-old in my area or I’m the funniest person I know, but I’ve stopped caring about what other people think of me, and only care about the opinions of those close to me.

People will make snap judgements about you. They will judge you before you’ve even opened your mouth, and they will portray you in a particular light whether it’s right or wrong. People remember you at your worst more often than your best. It’s your job to show them who you really are. This may still lead to them thinking of you one way, and that’s fine as long as you don’t allow yourself to believe they are right if you don’t agree or don’t like what you hear. Human Beings are judgemental creatures. I know I am. But it’s what you do with your opinions and your judgement that matters.

The people who I am close to and REALLY know me with will tell you I’m honest. If I don’t like something or I don’t agree with something I will say so to try and avoid it ever happening again. I will not be walked over or watch somebody else be put down because they can’t defend themselves.

Some people who know me will call me a bitch. If I don’t like something or I don’t agree with something I will say. I will often give back as good as I get as long as I’m not too emotional and end up crying. If I do end up crying, these people shouldn’t feel satisfaction as if they’ve won, I was probably crying over how cute my dog was earlier that morning or because my shoelace became undone. If I cry it’s probably just been one of those days.

Personally, I agree with both of these people. I am honest and believe it’s easier than spinning up a web of lies to avoid awkwardness, but I can also be a bitch and be unnecessarily honest about my opinions that I’m often not entitled to. Knowing your audience and identifying differences in relationships between people is the key difference being those two things. I will always be honest, but sometimes I may say something that my best friend would instantly know isn’t meant in a serious way, but could be offensive or belittling to somebody else. I recognise this and know it’s something I need to work on.

My point is, just because I don’t allow people’s judgements to get to me anymore, it doesn’t mean other people do the same. Many of us need to become aware that these labels we put on each other can hurt people emotionally, just because it doesn’t hurt us, doesn’t mean it won’t hurt others.

Rants of Society

This post is all in my opinion. To be honest I have only covered a fraction of what I wanted to say but I’ll be here all night if I carry on. If you cannot respect opinions different to your own please do not carry on reading like I said, this post is just my opinion, and as I respect that everyone forms their own opinion, please respect that this is mine.

 

I’ve recently recognised and been considering the challenges in gender equality, even though I believe I’ve never had to personally deal with them. Men, and women, and transgender, and whatever gender type they recognise themselves as will have their own battles to deal with when it comes to judgement from society. Similarly, to the people who come from a minority race, follow a “different” religion or are just classed as “not the norm.” Personally, I’ve never used the term “feminist” to describe myself. Not because I’m not one, but because I think it only covers one of many problems we face.

Feminism- “The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.”

This is the movement of making women equal to men, not suggesting they are the stronger sex, but equal. Other genders are not taken into account when using the term “feminism.” Whether you are trans, female, or male, we should all be equal, so what’s the term for somebody who believes and fights for equality for all genders and sexes? If there is one I’ve never heard it, which I think is quite a sad thing.

There needs to be another term. A term that doesn’t only cover gender, but race, and religion and any protected characteristic a person has. A term that just stands for equality for humans. All humans. Who are we to decide who is the better person and who should get privileges over others? Who are we to group people together because they hold specific characteristics? Who are we to make a decision and change the way we treat people because they are different?

As we develop as a World, you think these problems are getting “fixed.” In our developed nations we see less tolerance for any type of discrimination, and with laws and legislation like the Equality Act 2010 that summarises numerous discrimination laws in one, it makes it difficult to justify any abuse and mistreating based on a protected characteristic.

This does not change the fact that discrimination still occurs and that people still have fucked up opinions on how people should be, how they should look, and what they should believe in. Usually, it just means that these hateful opinions are cowardly put forward anonymously or are just being hidden as it’s not thought as being unacceptable by society. However, following BREXIT hate crime rose. Racism is still a thing, and it seems to be showing itself more and more. In my opinion, which I understand some people will disagree with, if the public are hearing are so-called leaders voicing hateful attitudes (such as Trump,) or we are perceiving their actions as acts against a particular race (such as the decision GB came to regarding the refugee crisis,) those who are racist are happy to become more verbal about it. They are coming out of the shadows and voicing what they think is right and what they think is wrong. In no way do I think our government was being racist with their stand on the refugee crisis, they had such a difficult decision and had to weigh up numerous factors, I wouldn’t have liked to be in their shoes. But in reality, a lot of people who think only the British should matter to the British Government, have a lot of strong opinions that can sometimes be hurtful and be racist. Nobody is born to think hateful things, to be racist, to judge people based on protected characteristics, but people are taught to have these opinions and influenced by the people bringing them up, or educating them, or who they see on their TV or computer screens.

**disclaimer before I carry on- I am not pretending that my opinion is the best opinion and based on all facts. I do not look at all the figures and every fact about the elections or BREXIT or hate crime numbers, but base my opinion on what I see from the news. Personally, in most campaigns, I can see the positives from both sides, so instead of looking at them, I look to see which campaign I believe has the negative I think will have the largest impact and largest consequence. Then I’ll follow the opposite campaign. I’m sure Trump had some good points in his campaign, but what things I have heard in the news about him I class as a “fatal flaw,” which is why I feel so strongly about him not taking on the role of president. I don’t believe you can allow a man like that the power that could destroy our world.

Racism is in no way ok.

I am not an American. I do not have a say in your election. But it baffles me that people even consider Trump a candidate. How can you as a nation, justify voting for a racist pig who wants to ban all Muslims, the biggest religion in the World, from the United States. How can you as a nation, justify voting for a man who belittles the female gender? How can you as a nation, justify voting for an idiot who wants to take us back into the past, when black people got spat at in the street and woman were seen as the subordinate housewives like a mere possession?

This world is beginning to unwind. We may make advances in our technology and knowledge daily, but we are failing on the basic needs of our people. The basic needs of the human race. We are failing to support our people on stereotypical things. If you do not fit “the look,” you’re at a disadvantage. The thing is, we are all different. Nobody fits the look. We all have something about us the world would change or believe in something that doesn’t fit the pretty picture painted. Our advances bring advances in weapons and military. The level of destruction we could create could destroy a planet. If we are not careful I can see it being ours. If we are losing the humanity to sink back into the ways we practised a century ago, where your skin colour determines your place in society, where your gender can put a halt to how successful you can become, and your sexuality can make you the scum of the earth, what’s to say these weapons won’t be used on each other to start another World War?

Where is our Humanity?