So there’s going to be an election – get positive and do something

So Theresa May has called a snap election for June. She says she had no choice but for many of us, it feels like the last thing the UK needs. ‘Tory landslide’ and ‘Brexit mandate’ is a double whammy I could do without. Especially as I’m due to move back to the UK about a month after the polls. I want my friends to be feeling happy and summery please Ms May, not wallowing in the gloom of another 5 years of Tory rule.

So, motivated by this (and more altruistic reasons) I have decided this morning that I am not taking this lying down. And neither should you. I may be 30,000 miles away from home (who knew that I’d be away from the UK less than three years and miss two general elections and a catastrophic referendum!) but with you readers as my witness, here are the five things I pledge to do in the run up to the election:

1, Stay positive

giphy

One friend texted me this morning to say that she’s been in the foetal position since May’s announcement. I can safely say that is not going to help. If we have learned anything over the last two years it is to expect the unexpected. Don’t let the pollsters convince you of the inevitability of a Tory landslide. Imagine the impossible. Maybe, just maybe, we can use this opportunity to galvanise opposition to Conservative austerity, the destruction of the NHS and cuts in schools. This is the time for resistance, and giving in to despondency isn’t going to help.

2, Get out the vote

Electoral turnout is painfully low and May is capitalising on election fatigue by holding this general election a month after local polls. But we know that if more young people had voted in the EU referendum, the result may have been different. So I am going to make a list of five people – friends and family – who I suspect won’t bother voting and persuade them that it’s important that they do. I won’t tell them how to vote but I will try to get them into a polling booth. At this distance, that probably means phone calls – one now to make sure they’re registered and couple closer to the time to tell them it’s worth turning up – but this is too important to rely on emails or Facebook updates.

3, Multiply my efforts

I’ll then ask five friends to pledge to do the same – that way, it won’t be just my five disenfranchised folk turning up to vote but hopefully another 25 and so on…

4, Stop slagging off our team

Twitter was alive last night with left-wingers slagging off Jeremy Corbyn and bemoaning not having anyone they could vote for. Please folks, learn something from history.  Anyone who does not want another five years of Tory crap needs to unite. Our options in the opposition may not be ideal but they is all we’ve got. So I will not be slagging off the Greens, Labour, even the Lib Dems on social media. Let’s focus our attention on the real enemy.

5, Help progressive organisations with election work

I may be a long way from London but I can still support progressive NGOs with additional work relating to the election campaign. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need research, scoping, producing written comms or even coalition coordination. I’m available at short notice in the battle to make this election count.

 

Emily Armistead

Emily Armistead is a campaigns consultant currently based in Auckland, New Zealand. She blogs about campaigning for the environment, development and human rights.

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