The 2019 General Election

My Election Round Up

The last five weeks have been a blur. I quit my job and dived head first into Luciana Berger campaign. In my last post wrote that I hadn’t been happier in ages and the truth is that I have been elated for the last few weeks.  I know why, even though there was no fairy-tale ending to this campaign, I started to chase my dreams again.

I started to chase my dreams again

I learnt quite a few things about myself over the course of the last couple of weeks, that I seemed to have forgotten. The main thing is that I really cannot be motivated by money. It won’t ever motivate me because it’s just a means to end for myself. It doesn’t achieve what I want, being rich is nothing for me. I couldn’t care less. Not to say that money is unimportant, but I can’t imagine a boss offering me a bonus or wage increase that will motivate me to do more work. The second thing I have realised over the last few weeks and more honestly over the last few months is that I enjoy some form of leadership. Whether it be helping organise some leafleting rounds or, what I spent most of the campaign doing, leading canvassing sessions; the sense of responsibility and making sure that we were completing our goals as a team were more important than my personal stats (in the Liberal Democrats, you can review your stats on canvassing. Thus, we sometimes had some friendly competition who could knock on the most doors and convince people that they should vote for Luciana). I would say that when leading canvasing groups, it did feel as though I was a trying to herd cats at times. Especially when people had the audacity to be independent and not tell anyone about it! The final part of it all, is how much I miss politics in all it’s aspects. I love it, no doubt about it. I honestly could work in the field for the rest of my life and really be happy. I reminded me why I want to get a PhD in Political Science, why politics is important to the individual and why it’s important to stay true to myself.

What should have never existed [a Liberal Democratic chance] in Finchley & Golders Green became a reality with Luciana

I spent every day canvassing and I met so many incredible people through out the process, with small list of shout outs to Jake, Kobi, Ilana, Dora, James, Mark, Oli, Zach and so so many more people that I haven’t mentioned here, because otherwise the list would be seemly endless on a team that didn’t even exist two months ago. What should have never existed [a Liberal Democratic chance] in Finchley & Golders Green became a reality with Luciana. For the first time ever in a general election I was able to vote for someone that I liked and wanted to represent me. I must admit, putting a cross in a box with that feeling was nice for the second time in my life (I’ll get to the first time). Speaking of incredible people; I met several Lords, MEPs, former MPs, a couple of celebs, other parliamentary candidates, mayoral candidates, London Assembly candidates (and Member Caroline Pidgeon) and got spend so much time chatting to them over the days and evenings which has restored my faith in politicians. This is not just on the Lib Dems side, when speaking to other parties at the count (plus when I bumped into them out and about) that there are good people out there trying to make the country a better place. We might all disagree with what is best and how to get there, but I do not believe that there is an innate evil with others, even if the twitterverse would disagree. The reality speaking to people on the door steps was clear (this is for Finchley & Golders Green): people wanted the country to move on, people did not like Corbyn and some people are utter idiots who need to learn how to think. The last point may seem elitist and it is to a degree, but the most frustrating thing that I found were people who didn’t believe facts, in seat polling or did not want to engage with the records of the candidates; instead focusing on rhetoric. On all sides, including the Europhiles on mine. If people aren’t open to a different opinion or factual evidence, then it’s impossible to change one’s own behaviour. I think people should be ashamed of this attitude because it’s not just politics, but every decision that you make in life that is affected by this narrow thinking. It’s why I look back at my own education and while I studied a wide range of subjects, I look back at only really two that had significant impacts on the way I think, not what I know and understand or analyse. Critical Thinking at school and Analytical Philosophy during my Undergraduate. I don’t think this is the time or the place to go into why this is the case for myself, but feel free to ask me why in a message and I’ll get back to you, but I don’t believe that I would be in this position without my education in these subjects and that does mean that I am in a privileged position. I just don’t think it has to be a unique experience and that openness can be picked up at any point.

If people aren’t open to a different opinion or factual evidence, then it’s impossible to change one’s own behaviour. I think people should be ashamed of this attitude…

I feel that I should answer why I think that the results turned out the way it did.

Simply, the UK (well particularly England) has never been a left-wing country. It’s does not view itself as European, but still a global nation (whether this is true, is a different matter). Look at the local elections following the referendum: Conservatives votes went up, Labour down, Lib Dem share of the votes went up, but number of councillors went down. There have been some differences in the Scotland but look at UKIPs demise. Almost all their votes went to the Tories. In this election, the Brexit Parties disappearance in Tory held seats is similar. There was no split. So, it became almost impossible to split the Leave vote, but also meant that they spent less time being relevant for the majority of the public. That’s why Conservatives held many of their seats. The gains in the Labour heartlands? It’s tribalism. It’s part of the reason why people close their minds. They pick a team and it’s no longer just a team. It’s them. Their identity. Telling someone that their team is dumb, racist, lying, don’t care or what ever else: is saying that they are all of the above. Even if that has nothing to do with your intention. The left and even more sadly, the centre, can no longer say stories. I know that this doesn’t seem obvious solution to identity politics and tribalism, but it’s not the facts that people who wanted to stay in the European Union, the objective truth or the civility that will win over people. It’s a vision. That’s why Leave won, it’s why Scottish Independence nearly won (once Cameron decided to ditch stories for facts) and it’s why I think the Conservatives won this time (by just selling the same story from 2016). Yes, there were issues with the media, but there are enough sources of news to see lies and biases. It’s about being able to tell

Let me introduce to a not so hidden secret, my perceptions had changed. I used to support the England rugby team. I was a die-hard English nationalist.  I would sing the national anthem in front of the TV, watch the Queen speeches, berate Wales, run around pretending to be Beckham taking free-kicks against Greece, side step like Robinson with a ball in hand, scream for the British & Irish Lions. I wasn’t even ten and didn’t call myself British. I was English. Now? I’m British, I scream for the Boks, side step like JP Peterson with a ball in hand, take free kicks like Bale, berate Wales, I don’t watch/listen/read any Queen speeches & I cried when I saw Siya lift the trophy. What happened and what does this have to do with the elections (or politics)? I was young, open and more importantly new stories were introduced to me. The story of the South African rugby team final made sense, the importance Parliament instead of the Queen, how pointless Wales is as a country, heroes can change over time (I still love the England football team), I missed the Sharks players who I modelled a style that I could actually use on the pitch, I learnt more about my own history and how places like Jamaica where part of the Union for a longer time than the current house of the monarchy. I was told stories, ideas and allowed myself to be open to new ideas.

Storytelling

the scariest thing in my life is not death, but my mother with a velan (thin rolling pin)

Back to politics and storytelling. Scolding, as many modern parenting guides say, are not efficient. I say this as a child who used to be hit with every utensil in the kitchen. It just means that the scariest thing in my life is not death, but my mother with a velan (thin rolling pin). Something that is common in all the world cultures going back thousands of years are stories and the oral traditions. Now we don’t need stories to tell the other side to put on their hats before going out in the winter, rather we need a vision that people believe in. Before anyone tells me about the Labour manifesto being full of ideas and dreams. You’ve missed the point. It has never been about what you’ve been selling but how you’re selling it. Otherwise there wouldn’t a schmuck on this earth. But there are, because charlatans are good story tellers. We like stories as they can be fun, add some drama to hook us and with this new context we can analyse our positions without attacking our identity. It’s not a quick process. I didn’t start one evening and then changed by the next morning. It’s starts with being open, luckily, we’re all open to stories. In my mind, if you want to change the world, become a good story teller.

Now that I’ve solved politics and thus humanity, let me leave you with the first time that I ticked a box that I believed in: Leave. I am a Eurosceptic, leaning towards anti-European. The English nationalist is still apart of my identity, though I view myself more of a Londoner which is an international city because of our ties to Europe. I don’t care about the economic cost of Brexit. I want out of an institution that isn’t evil and full of bad people. Quite frankly, I don’t buy the European dream. Not for my beloved England. I don’t want to pool sovereignty or help French farmers. So, why did I campaign for Luciana Berger, the United to Remain candidate, the People’s Choice candidate, the Liberal Democrat candidate; given that this is the opposite view? Objectively, she was the best candidate for the job on the ballot paper. The Liberal Democrat manifesto is one I could support and there are many ideas that I wish to be implanted: mainly the penny tax. For Luciana I could put away my differences, tell people that a second referendum is a good idea (which it is, even if I would still vote leave), how revoke would be democratic is the Liberal Democrats got into power (which is would have been, as it is democratic for the Conservatives to pretend that they have the faintest idea of what they are doing) and argued for staying in the EU, because there are good reasons to be in the EU. At the end of the day, it’s just about being able to tell a story.

That was a bit more of a wall than I was expecting, but I feel indebted to this campaign that I gave everything up for: I was able to find myself again. A kid with a dream to chase.

I was able to find myself again. A kid with a dream to chase.

Next time we speak, I want to hear about your DREAMS!

When you find yourself a Richard Osho, hold on to them as tight as you can, because there is no greater feeling when you find someone who loves you for nothing other than yourself.

Here’s some context. Rich and I were catching up over the phone and then Rich decided that he wanted to give me a pep talk and question everything I was doing in life. Here is the summary of the call that I wrote down the next day and read to myself each morning, even though it has nothing on the call it makes me want to go out and be the best me. Without further ado:

This city is filled with normal people. It slowly makes you comfortable with your life. As though you’ve made something, when you’ve made nothing. You need find your arrogance. I remember walking into history as the only black kid, bit scared if I was in the right place. There you were arguing from day 1 that you were right. Ready to teach and that Mr Hughes or whoever taught us history [it was Mr Owens Rich]. The only other person of colour and you act as though you were the most superior person in the room. WHERE IS THAT HANIK?!?! Where is that arrogant 16 year old? When we were at leavers you told my Dad you didn’t want to work for someone, run a family business. No. Straight up you said that you wanted to be Prime Minister. Next time we speak, I want to hear about your DREAMS! Not some girl, not your family, not work; I want to hear from the selfish git and how he’s going to take on the world. Life is short and these are our golden years; time to be the leader that New Hall enabled us to be. End of the day, no one can fulfill, apart from you. Go get your dreams. Don’t try to be normal, because we all know you’re different.

Following this chat, I didn’t last two more days at my job. I quit and am now campaigning for the Liberal Democrats in Finchley & Golders Green. Let me tell you something. I haven’t been happier in ages. It’s all due to my brother Richard. I love you bro.

Grasping Air

I’ve always been a dreamer
You would describe me as ridiculous
And I would scoff at your tone as preposterous
All the fun and games, nothing wrong with our demeanour

The world is your oyster
That is what I was told
More a tale for the old
As far as I can tell, there’s not even a pot to stir

I guess it’s time to set up shop
Time to get dirty and a little bit flirty
Plenty of life yet, I’m not even thirty
There’s no reason for my dreams to be cropped.  

My name may not touch the sky
That’s not a reason to fret
Even if I have a few regrets
There’s always going to be me, myself and I

Ten Years

Ten whole years. Okay maybe not ten whole years, but on the 06/09/09 I moved to the United Kingdom, to head to boarding school. To live a dream inspired by Harry Potter, but more so Spud (a legendary book). Back from 15 years of living abroad in the Commonwealth. It’s the day I moved to New Hall and met my best friends (and had some wonderful memories, a lot of stupid moments too), I then went on to study in at three different universities where I made some more great friends, moved between the UK and the Dubai; before settling back in London.

I love the UK

No really

What’s bizarre is that I love the UK. It’s one of the best countries in the world to grow up in. Sure, there are loads of problems, it’s not perfect; however, it’s my home. I am British after all. It’s home for the time being at least. And that’s the bizarre part. I don’t want to die here. I don’t want to spend the rest of my days here. I can’t I imagine being truly happy if I never leave these shores. Why? I would say growing up abroad has a lot to do with it.

One of my favourite songs to listen to is La Mer, though my favourite version is the Bobby Darrin version which is known as: Beyond the Sea. Apart from helping me along the path of becoming a hopeless romantic, it has always made think of the future and the yearning of what is beyond the horizon. I have never been one for dreaming of small little achievable goals. I dream big, because of my darling football club. Tottenham Hotspur. There’s a quote attributed to Bill Nic that I tend to base a lot of thoughts on: “It is better to fail aiming high than to succeed aiming low. And we of Spurs have set our sights very high… so high, in fact, that even failure will have in it an echo of glory.”

I dream big, because of my darling football club

Though being a Spurs fan has meant that most of our recent success have been stuck on my FM saves…

That’s the crux of it this, aim for the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and everything beyond; because if you don’t have the drive to go big, then you won’t even achieve the medium. That’s become of my own life mantra that, this is only life we have and I’ve got to try and achieve all the dreams I have; if I don’t try there’s no going back. It also results me over stretching myself and that I don’t always achieve what I capable of showing to others.

I have a good breadth, but not the greatest depth. It’s not as though I cannot focus, it’s just once I know I can do something, then I look for the next challenge. Doing something well and knowing that I can do it, means that I no longer care to prove that I can. That knowledge for myself, is good enough; unfortunately this system won’t be paying the bills. However, I believe that I’ve come into the world with my own riches. Chasing money won’t get me where I need to be, it will get me to the point of eternal poverty, to really butcher one thing Seneca was trying to say; poverty is not being happy with your current situation. That’s it for me, enjoy my circumstances. Know my privileges and make the world a better place. The aim is to just do live it. No hope. No try. Dream? Yes, but live those dreams.

Apart from helping me along the path of becoming a hopeless romantic

Talking about Beyond the Sea

Back to the UK. I love my pubs, the terrible nights out in Essex, a Geordie accent on a lass, arguing on how to say grass, making a fuss on how my tea is made, what is a proper queue, being able to shout ORDAH like Bercow, being able to chat to a bobby without fear of losing my life or paying a bribe, throwing abuse for 90mins at the footie, cheering on the home nations, having the Royal events to attend, able to speak freely and living on the greatest city on earth: London.

Yet, I am willing to give this all up, because I know that there are places out there that make you feel alive in other ways. London may be number one place to be, it’s the not the place I need to be right now. The dream is still to be PM, don’t worry about that. However, I do think that my destiny is abroad waiting for me.

Am I living the dream, in England? To an extent, it’s a dream. Jerusalem is being built among these Satanic Mills, but at the same time do I want to be living in this kingdom of heaven? I’m not sure. My eyes are always beyond the sea, where another kingdom of heaven lies.