You’ve changed your avatar – so what?

So you made your own little statement.

You made your Facebook profile picture turn into a French flag.

Maybe you’ve shared some quote GIFs from fucking Ghandi or something.

Perhaps you even shared something that said “Je Suis Pairs” or similar.

Oh you put John Lennon on?

So what? Have a sticker.

Your little social media grief episode does nothing to address the reason why a bunch of deluded humans killed a bunch of other humans this week.

What did you do when our Government launched an illegal war that catalysed the growth of ISIS?

When one country thinks it has the God-given right to a piece of land and massacres any who get in it’s way, do you demand your Government acts?

Do you boycott or support the economies of countries who are well known for their human rights abuses, or merrily go to their holiday spots?

When your fellow citizens are denied the universal human right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty and the right to a fair trail do you celebrate that, or despair at the erosion of human rights for all of us.

If your government engages in mass, unfettered, indiscriminate surveillance of you and your neighbours, do you blindly accept their arguments about having “nothing to hide” or do you stand up for the basic principles of liberty and justice?

What do you do when your children, and your neighbour’s children, have no choice but to attend schools that are proven to be divisive?

When a country curtails freedom of religion and expression in the name of (and therefore completely botching it’s attempt at) secularism, do you cry out?

The actions of ISIS in France this week were horrific and inexcusable. The same goes for the actions of ISIS everywhere.

But don’t fall into the trap of being as hypocritical as “western” governments. Whether it’s foreign or domestic policy, the Governments of the nations fighting this so-called “war on terror” are hypocrites.

They speak of defending our freedoms whilst simultaneously eroding them.

They speak of human rights while denying them to their own citizens.

If we want to rid the world of terrorists we should live by the rules we want the entire world to live by, and challenge those who don’t – whether they are terrorists, or our own governments.

“If Corbyn wins I’ll join the Labour Party”

That was one snippet of a conversation I overheard today about the Labour leadership contest.

Two women – one middle aged, one slightly older – were discussing the leadership contest on the next table. After talking about the change in attitude that Corbyn is bringing to Labour, one commented “if you keep on doing what you’ve always been doing…”

It’s a good point. Labour have lost two elections. All of the candidates except Corbyn offer more of the same election loosing attitude and policies. The same refusal to challenge Conservative lies over the cause of the financial crisis. The same inability to challenge austerity and it’s devestating impact on society’s most needy.

If Corbyn is elected as Labour leader, I’ll do the same. I’ll join a Labour Party led by a proper socialist.

The Pursuit of Happyness, and helping yourself

This has nothing to do with the film, I just thought it was an appropriate title :) (although, it is one of my favourite films, mostly for this genuinely inspiring bit).

I’m happy. Really happy. Which is a stark contrast to 7 months ago.

At the beginning of this month I also stopped taking anti-depressants (don’t worry, doctor-approved).

Those drugs certainly did help, and I was already feeling up to coming off them before the new year, but what I’ve realised I needed most was to help myself out of it.

For two years I was essentially stuck in a relationship that had the love and trust sucked out of it but I was paralysed with fear that if I left I’d have my son taken away from me.

At first my son was taken from me, justifying my fear. Because I’d spent 20 months in a relationship I didn’t want to be in, I no longer had any emotional strength. I couldn’t cope. I recognised I needed help and got that help.

But since my son and I were allowed the time together that we both deserve, and the court battle guaranteed us that time, I’ve finally been able to build on our relationship, and I’m no longer fearful.

Not only that, but the emotional stress that I was putting myself under by staying in that relationship has completely disappeared, and all my emotional strength (of which there’s quite a lot, I’ve realised) are focused on the kids. I’m constantly thinking about what’s coming up with them – looking forward to our family holidays, teaching the little man to ride a bike, teaching the little lady* to roll over, hold things, crawl, walk and all that good fun.

All of that could have happened so much sooner if I’d have helped myself and left that relationship. I wouldn’t go back and change it if I could, because the way things have worked out is great for various reasons, but it’s a good lesson to learn.

No matter how bad things may seem, there is always another option. That’s very, very, very, very hard to see when you’re in the grips of depression but it’s there and reminding oneself about that constantly (especially when well) is important to help keep depression at bay.

One final caveat: my depression has always been fairly mild. I have never had to struggle with it day after day, as some people (including friends) do. I’ve had it relatively easy, all told, and I’m very thankful of that.

* not sure I like the “little lady” nickname really… still deciding…

The SEO Prayer

Our Google, who art in Mountain View,
hallowed be your Matt Cutts.
Your Googleplex come,
your search results be done,
online, as it is in heaven.
Give us this SEO, and deliver our traffic,
and forgive us our keyword spam,
as we forgive those who spam against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from Bing.
For thine is the internets,
and the links, and the glory,
for ever and ever.

#365daysofpolitics day 26: transcending the situation

Today is day 26, which means I’ve had two days of doing nothing (pretty much). Spending the weekend with my little man was far more important, of course.

But in general I’m finding it hard to keep up every single day. My hope was that it’d be fairly straight-forward to do something, at least small, every day but as well as having a life it’s actually quite hard to have something to show everyday.

Most days I’ll be chipping in on the Manifesto, or with Something New discussions, but that’s not very interesting so I try to do something reasonably significant, but it feels more like a chore than I’m actually doing something.

So, from now on #365daysofpolitics isn’t going to be about doing something every single day. It’s going to be about me spending a year dedicating a significant portion of my life to politics, to the Manifesto, to Something New and to trying to use politics to build the progressive world I want to see.

Situation transcended.