Yesterday, I went out to vote in the general election. I was hoping that I would wake up this morning with a new government, one that cares about the people in the UK – no matter their background, income or health.
I woke up to a Conservative government. David Cameron is Prime Minister, and a cloud of gloom seems to have covered the country.
Is there any wonder as to why? I remember the last general election, when the coalition government came in, and my mom turned round to me and simply said, “We’re fucked.” When I was born in 1990 the Tories were in power, and we were living in poverty. There was no support for my parents, despite my dad working 70 hours a week for peanuts and my mom staying at home and raising me. We all slept on one mattress in the living room in front of a shitty little electric fire because the flat we lived in was riddled with cold and damp, and it was the only way to keep warm.
My parents went hungry regularly so I could eat – and even then, my food was usually something-on-toast because it was cheap. There is a link between poverty and mental health, and there’s always the chance that this was the start of my problems from a very early age.
Thanks to the last government, I was forced out of the home I was living in when my mom died because of the spare bedroom tax fiasco. I was deeply lost in grief, my mental health getting worse by the day and their main concern was getting me out of the house because of costs. Granted, it was better for my health in the end that I left, but I was left to find a new place, wait for the right amount of points before I could bid on a new property, all the while arguing against paying the so-called tax because I wasn’t the tenant, and had no right to succeeding the tenancy.
Because of the strain on the NHS, I have waited four hours plus to see someone in A&E when I’m having an episode and at high risk of harming myself. I recall passing out in a waiting room after taking an overdose because there was no-one there to see me. That same night, I waited six hours for a psychiatrist to come and see me because the mental health services available in hospitals are simply not enough to deal with the huge demand for them. The waiting lists for services are phenomenal. And it will only get worse if the Tories get their way with privatising the NHS – a service that other countries wish they had access to.
Comedian Rob Delaney recently tweeted about the differences between having two children in the US and the recent birth of his youngest here in the UK. I’ve had friends in the US for many years and they have often remarked how lucky we are here in the UK to have access to vital, free medical care.
I digress. I’ll be honest – I’m frightened for the future of the country, and more urgently, my own care. I’m young, disabled, on benefits, and I think the only thing I have going for me in Conservative eyes is that I was born in the UK. I’m angry at those who didn’t vote yesterday, more than those who voted blue. When you’re told that one vote can make all the difference, this is the scenario that you’re warned against. I suppose if you’re rich then this is wonderful news for you – but there are so many people in the UK that are going to suffer under this government, and I am probably going to be one of them.