“I don’t think I can fight this anymore. I’m listening with one foot out the door.”
I’m on the train, as I usually am since I work 2 hours from where I live. I originally wanted to write this for the libdemvoice but since I’ve only got access to my WordPress app this will need to do. The quote at the start of this post is from a song I’ve been listening to on this commute. It inspired me to write and whilst normally I’d not leave it in, it’s more than appropriate to how I’m feeling.
I joined the Lib Dems about a week or two before the General Election. I knew we were going to suffer badly but that didn’t change the fact that they seemed to be the party that made the most sense to me. I wear my pin on my jacket every day. There was a period of time I was really proud of being a liberal democrat.
Apparently we now stand for fighting and internal arguments over those who support one statement made by our new leader and those who oppose it. It’s almost like we’ve forgotten our numbers in parliament have been decimated or that we’ve got another election in Scotland (and possibly Wales? I can’t remember) next year that we need to start fighting for and should have already been fighting for.
Instead we’re fighting with one another and being vile and spiteful to someone who dares have a different opinion to us. Liberalism will die if we keep holding our hands over its airway. And that’s what we do when we fight with one another and suggest that others would be better suited in different parties. Those who have joined the Lib Dems have done so because they feel it’s right for them. It’s actually not your place to tell them they don’t belong.
We need to shape up or ship out. A party is more than its leader and as members of course it’s our job to hold them accountable to the things they say. But the hatred and vitriolic attacks on one another do nothing but weaken an already damaged foundation.
I’m writing this on the train on my phone so I apologise in advance for any errors I make. I also don’t have access to facts, figures and quotes as I write this so it’s coming purely from a personal opinion standpoint.
I’ve not been very vocal about the leadership election going on within the Liberal Democrats. Mainly for fear that someone will think I’m slandering the opponent I am not supporting as it’s very difficult to say something positive about someone without it looking like a personal attack on the other. Please understand me when I write this it’s coming from a place of support for Norman, not a place of criticism for Tim.
I’ve met both men at a leadership hustings in Glasgow which focused on diversity. Whether that be diversity regarding race, gender or sexual orientation. Both men spoke very well on these topics and are both very sincere in their liberal beliefs.
I’ve already mentioned I’ve supported Norman in this election. He’s got very good points about LGBTQ+ equality and realises that just because same sex marriage is legal now that doesn’t mean the fight is over. He also has great points on the issue on drugs and quite rightly says it should be an issue for health and not for the law. However my main reason for supporting him is also the reason I’m able to be on this train right now. Mental health care.
I spent 3 years after leaving school at 18 in a depression that I never thought possible outside of fiction. I’ve got self harm scars that will never disappear and are on display for any prospective employer to see and almost always comment on. I’m on this train on my way to work. Something I never thought I’d be saying because I never thought I’d be alive long enough. I fought stigma and the screwed up mental health care system to get to where I am now and as much as I’m glad I did it, it almost killed me.
When I heard Norman speak about mental health, coupled with his work in the area, I knew that he was the one I wanted to support. If you’ve heard Norman talk about mental health you’ll know he does it so easily and so intelligently without even a hint of the stigma that is attached to it when other people mention it. He talks about it like someone talks about diabetes or a broken bone. He talks about it like it’s an issue on par with physical health without hesitation. That’s what this party needs. That’s what this country needs. And most selfishly, that’s what I needed to hear. I fight internalised stigma every day of my life. To hear someone talk about it like he does is such an important thing for me. When I spoke to him at the hustings I was at he listened to me and it felt like he genuinely cared about my situation and where I was coming from.
So I’ve backed Norman. I’m a Normtrooper.