Obligatory UK General Election post

Politics is pretty unavoidable when you’re a Cold War baby…

My mum grew up in East Germany and has a fairly“plague on all your houses” view of politicians, but broadly on the left. My dad was a plakard-waving socialist. He was in the anti-Apartheid campaign, the Chilean solidarity campaign and the pretty-much-everything-you-can-think-of campaign. If you go to Central London with him he’ll tell you all about demos he went on in the ’60s and ’70s and show you the spot where an undercover cop smashed someone an inch away from him. I don’t like talking about his activism too loudly on record because he’s modest and some clod will probably use it to say I shouldn’t be allowed to do something or work somewhere but that’s how I was raised (in Bucks – yeah, that was fun.) I stood as a lefty independent candidate in my sixth-form’s mock election and got about five votes; one from my teacher. For a while, I was a bit of a firebrand. Depression (and Durham University, a pretty insular, apolitical sort of place) mostly got rid of that.

They say you get more right-wing as you get older. If my VoteForPolicies results are anything to go by, my politics haven’t changed all that much since I was old enough to have any. “Everyone I disagree with only disagrees with me because they’re a different age/background” is a rubbish argument anyway. I don’t think most people’s major priorities actually change a great deal unless something particularly drastic happens in their life to force that change. Certain things you are, you will always be, and policies relating to those things will probably always matter to you. What does change as you get older (at least, if you’re not an insufferable arse) is how you express your opinions, your tendency to be swayed by detail not just bluster, and your ability to see the most approachable of your opponents as human beings.

Another thing you do as you get older is separate personality traits from beliefs. To a degree, people can be just as nasty, rude, petty and vain while believing opposite things. I don’t care how nice and gifted with the gab you are if your views are revolting. Likewise, some vehemently progressive people are pains in the bum. If you want an epic example of “There is no cause so noble one cannot find fools following it”, Twitter is a good one. And saying people who went to boarding school are all emotionally-stunted sociopaths, or that well-off people can’t be depressed are two offensive and ignorant generalisations I hear too often from people who call themselves compassionate…

I think most of us have a “pet issue” which sways our vote – or would sway it if a particular party could convince us. I’ve posted this in here because mine’s currently mental health, and I’m an undecided voter (I know who I’ll vote against, but not for). I have secondary anxiety which is too complicated for the basic CBT but not severe enough for the higher-level NHS mental health services mostly (understandably) geared towards more severe conditions like bipolar, schizophrenia and psychosis. In my dream world, there would be a friendly local head-mender I could see as and when necessary, the same way as a hairdresser, baker, solicitor, plumber or mechanic. Or GP (well, I used to have a consistent GP – she retired…). Currently, NHS provision is basically a video game where I have to go through the motions and get help that isn’t useful to stand a chance of getting help which is. I’m currently waiting to see if I can be referred to a private centre in London which specialises in adults with dyspraxia and dyslexia, and actually seems as though it could address the root of my problems and how they interrelate, rather than deal with different ones in isolation.

I’d be interested to hear what matters to others in the mental health “world,” and why. Do you know who you’re voting for and if so, what persuaded you?

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