This is neither my manifesto nor my pledge – as I am only a voter and not a politician.
Even so, I’d like to be heard. This is what I want from this general election campaign:
- To be spoken to, and not shouted at.
- To be listened to, and not pocketed greedily.
- To be inconveniently engaged with, and not conveniently pigeonholed into preconceived prejudice.
- To be part of a real debate, and not become earth to sling as mud.
- To watch a campaign unfold in spaces that allow for questioning people like myself, and not end up feeling psychologically manipulated so we feel guilty or disloyal for using our brains.
- To be part of process and journey, and not the cannon fodder of electoral targets.
- To properly get the sensation at the end that the campaign has uncovered a new way forward for us all, and not simply served to fulfil professional wonks’ preconceptions by responding baldly to their strategies.
- Ultimately, to be able to feel something I’ve said or done as an individual could only have been said or done by myself.
- To feel that without my participation, the campaign would’ve been less.
- To feel that without my interest and observations, the campaign would’ve been poorer.
That, then, is what I want from this general election campaign.
Now if you, as a member of a political party, as a super-interested collaborator in the next four months, can deliver even just the majority of the above, I will go to the polls with a light and dancing heart.
If you don’t manage to deliver, this doesn’t mean I shan’t vote for you.
It does mean, however, as so often in the past, you’ll have lost the clearest opportunity to make me fall in love with democratic process again.
And the austerity most promise won’t really be the austerity of fuel versus food, though that shall continue to affect the majority dreadfully.
No. The austerity which shall make anything more than a minimal existence impossible will, surely, be the austerity of a heavy heart.