Category Archives: Politics

Your Vote Counts – Vote for the Future #GE2017

This week, in the UK, we Vote…

Your Vote Counts - Vote for the Future - General Election 2017 - The Last Krystallos

My colours are nailed to the wall, always have been…
I’m the kind of person you can read like a book
and I wear my heart on my sleeve.

I’m not going to tell you who to vote for, but if you’ve seen my Facebook or Twitter you’ll know where my heart lies, and I won’t apologise for posting information and my political beliefs.

My plea for this election, a sudden – out-of-the-blue – UK General Election, called purely because the Prime Minister thought she’d win with a landslide, is to vote for those around you rather than for yourself, if your circumstances permit.

We’ve seen this world – this society – become overwhelmingly selfish. Those who are wealthy – want more, those who have enough – want more, those without – want more. It’s a natural ideology, we all want more, and that’s okay, but only one of those groups actually need more.

I’ve been on both sides of the coin, excuse the pun, we’ve counted the literal pennies and had nothing left at the end of the week, and at other times we’ve been able to save and spend. 90% of those without are without because of circumstance, not a lack of hard work, or laziness, and it’s highly offensive to blame people for their circumstances without knowing or understanding them.

The test of our progress... Franklin D. Roosevelt

We need to be considerate and compassionate and vote accordingly. We need to vote to help jobs, to save the NHS, to save lives, to offer affordable education, to raise living wages, to raise living standards, to eradicate poverty, to care for our children, the environment, and their future.

I want to vote for the future of this world, not my present one, but for policies that will guide and save our future – not condemn it and future generations. If I can do that I will save my present world alongside the future.

I want to vote for the future o f this world... Lisa Shambrook The Last Krystallos UK General Election 2017

© Lisa Shambrook

Please educate yourself, learn about the parties and their policies: Labour Conservative Liberal DemocratsGreenUKIPPlaid CymruSNP…  Read the manifestos and vote with your conscience.

As a final point – no matter what, please vote.

It wasn’t long ago that only Landowners and the Aristocracy could vote.

It wasn’t long ago that only men were allowed to vote.

It wasn’t long ago that only those over the age of 21 were permitted to vote.

There are still countries that deny the right to vote, through gender, age, circumstance, and still countries that do not hold free elections.

People have died for your right to vote, and every single vote matters. It doesn’t matter if you are 18 or 118 – your vote is important in free politics.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Edmund Burke

© Lisa Shambrook

There are plenty of apps and information out there to help you make your decision. Take a look at this 2017 Election Quiz or this one 38Degrees GE2017…and see whose manifesto policies you affiliate most with. Don’t listen to the mainstream media, do your own research.

But, most importantly, use your privilege to cast your vote – make it count…

…For the Many, Not the Few…

Trouble Ahead – Stand Up for Equality and Be Counted

There is trouble ahead – times of turmoil, division,
and loss of liberties are invading our lives.
What will we do about it?

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I’m not getting into politics or policy – I’m assuming we all know what is going on throughout the Western World right now – if you don’t, you can scroll Twitter Trends or check out your Facebook newsfeed, or search #Trump for that.

I’ve got friends who have stepped back from politics because they are overwhelmed with the current state of affairs, and others who are stepping forward to fight for their rights and their beliefs. Neither response is wrong, but if we really want to prevent inequality then we need to stand up and be counted.

the-only-thing-necessary-for-the-triumph-of-evil-is-for-good-men-to-do-nothing-edmund-burke-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

There are people across the world, not just in the western world, living in fear for their lives because they are not the majority, or they are different, or they are repressed by regimes and powers that have control.

Those who are strong enough need to protest the status quo, fight the patriarchy, and stand up for civil liberties and human rights. As the rights of those around us diminish – those hard fought for rights that Suffragettes Susan B. Anthony, Emmeline Pankhurst, and movement leaders and activists Martin Luther King Jr, Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret Sanger and Marie Stopes, Rosa Parks, Malala Yousafzai, and many, many more – battled for.

darkness-and-light-i-have-decided-to-love-martin-luther-king-jr-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

We need to Stand Up for those who can’t.

We must Stand Up for Equality.

We must Stand Up for Gender Equality, Racial Equality, Religious Freedom, the Right to Vote, Consent, Education, Working Conditions, the Control over our own Reproductive Organs, the Right to Safety, the Right to Health Services and Medication, Fairness, and Liberty.

We must Stand Up for those who are discriminated against, whether they are Women, Men, Native Americans, Refugees, Trans, Gay, Young, Old, Poor, no matter what Nationality, Colour, Sexual Preference, or Religion they are or have.

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© Lisa Shambrook

When walls are being announced, divisions widened, gag orders and censorship put in place, and freedoms curtailed we must Stand Up, we must Stand Up for what we know is right. So, March, Write, Protest, Contact your political representative, and make your Voice Heard.    

acapulco-gold-catatonia

Acapulco Gold – Catatonia

We are Human Beings – Brothers and Sisters – and we are all different but all the same.
Let the same blood that runs through each of us enlarge our
Hearts with Compassion and Love. Stand Up for Love.

Honour those who’ve Gone Before – Send 2016 to its Grave – and Fight!

This is a difficult post to write… We are at the rear end of 2016
and many of us are very pleased to see it close.
I’m not blaming the year itself, but it’s as good a time as any to start anew…

honour-those-whove-gone-before-send-2016-to-its-grave-and-fight-the-last-krystallos

It’s been tough year politically, personally, and for many of us devastating in different ways. We have mourned political change, grieved lost and broken promises, and endured lies and political manoeuvres. We’ve lost celebrities, almost at a rate of several a month, and we have lost many close to us. Members of my own family and my husband’s family have lost loved ones, and we are holding those still in ill health close to us. As human beings we have also mourned the loss of families and individuals unable to escape war and destruction, and have seen refugees both rescued and shunned.

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© Lisa Shambrook

We’ve been hit by celebrity losses, usually those who’ve been part of our formative years, like Harper Lee who inspired me with To Kill a Mockingbird, Alan Rickman who’s acting has been a delight, and as a huge Star Trek and Star Wars fangirl: Anton Yelchin who played Star Trek’s latest incarnation of Chekov, Kenny Baker – R2D2, and yesterday, Carrie Fisher. You’ll be able to add many more to that list, as we’ve all been affected by those we loved.

jo-cox-labour-mp

I’ve been hit more this year by the personal losses, not only mine, but many around me have lost loved ones. I was deeply affected by the murder of Jo Cox during the Brexit campaign. It added to my despair of humanity that someone who preached “We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than the things that divide us.” could lose her life to an extremist. It was a terrible indictment on society.

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© Lisa Shambrook

My personal depression grew and was compounded throughout the year with the political and public reaction to refugees and those escaping regimes and war. I wondered where compassion had gone that society could publicly turn away from those in need?

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© Lisa Shambrook

At the beginning of September I stood in a place I never want to stand again. I won’t go into detail but I was on the cusp of becoming one of 2016’s statistics. After that night, I went for help and am currently taking antidepressants and counselling. My depression has grown over the years as I’ve spread myself thin to help care for my ailing parents and battle for help through Social Services.

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© Lisa Shambrook

Last Thursday, after about twelve years of constant illness including breast cancer, then secondary breast cancer of the bones, severe diabetes, a partially collapsed lung, glaucoma, and progressive Alzheimer’s, my mum peacefully passed away in hospital with pneumonia. Her Alzheimer’s had broken my heart, and almost taken my dad. I am currently coping with grief and relief, and everything this year has thrown at us.

general-organa-carrie-fisher

Yesterday, Carrie Fisher passed away after a massive heart attack. I loved her for more than just Star Wars…she fought for mental health awareness, she battled addictions, and kicked the media’s ass when they attacked her for her looks and weight when she returned to Star Wars. She knew who she was, she was excellent at what she did, and fought for what she wanted. Carrie Fisher made Princess Leia badass and turned her into a fighter, who survived and lead the resistance even when the men in her life let her down. Princess Leia grew into General Organa, and Carrie did the same in her personal life.

december-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

It’s hard for me to lose my mother, then another inspirational woman, but when we lose heroes we need to try and live what they taught us. My mother taught me much, and I have aspired to be an even better mother to my own children, and I want them to live in a world where those who’ve gone before have made the world better.

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© Lisa Shambrook

So, in the words of Anne Thériault on Twitter –  ‘May we all be able to get up every day and, in spite of our pain and loss and fear, put on our boots and vest and plan to destroy the empire.’ (Check out Anne’s thread on Princess Leia/General Organa…it rocks!) This is how we live, how we continue to go on, to move forward and to honour those who’ve gone. We honour those who’ve trail-blazed, who’ve worked hard, and who’ve left us more to do – so, let’s do it!

Be bold, be Leia. Be true, be Carrie Fisher…

princess-leia-carrie-fisher

Let’s relegate 2016 to the dark and distant past, and kick 2017 into gear and fight!

We have empires to destroy!

 

Politics Is Ugly: Can We Change It?

I don’t often, if ever, get political on my blog, but I am political.
I am a big fighter for human justice, fairness and compassion,
and the way the world is lead is important to me.

Politics is Ugly - Lies and Deceit – We Need Change - The Last Krystallos
I don’t want this post to be about my political leanings.
We all have them and in this world, at least where I live, we are free to air them. I realise not all parts of the world have this freedom, and I am very grateful that I live with political freedom. Our views, our opinions and our politics are our own and we are allowed them.

Politics is getting very ugly.

Some of you, who are much better historians than me, will point out that politics has always been ugly. That it’s always been full of lies, deceit, ambition, and corruption. You’re probably right. But with the advent of social media, we are perpetuating it ourselves. I’ve been accused of sharing social media posts, memes, and articles without checking the facts, and years ago I did, until I began checking facts before reposting. I try not to post anything, except my opinion, unless I’ve checked facts first, though I will post others’ opinions, because I am allowed to do that too.

union jack, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Brexit was ugly. Brexit (the UK Referendum on whether to leave the European Union) was perpetuated with lies no matter which side of the argument you were on. It was undercut with lies, xenophobia, name-calling, and scare-mongering on both sides. The party leadership contests are the same, and don’t get me started on the American Presidential election.

This post isn’t about my politics, but I do want to discuss the ugliness of politics. PMQs (Prime Minister’s Questions) in the British Parliament is ugly, always has been. They laugh, bully, put each other down, and generally act like they are on a school playground, or in a farmyard, though these analogies are very unfair to both children and farm animals. PMQs is game playing, on both sides. It’s like Good Cop Bad Cop. It’s about half an hour on a Wednesday when the Prime Minister answers MP’s questions in the House of Commons. But it’s hostile.

If you know me well, you will know my political leanings. I don’t hide them, and recently on Twitter I shared the following two tweets when Theresa May our new PM took her first PMQ session:

I got a lot of agreement and some opposition, that’s cool, it’s my opinion after all. On the 13th July, I listened to Theresa May’s speech outside number 10 Downing Street with interest. She had just become our new Prime Minister and her speech was very good. She spoke about poverty, welfare, people, and the struggles we go through every day. She, according to her speech, knew exactly what state the country was in and vowed to change it and help us. Within days her Cabinet was reshuffled and familiar faces we’d hoped to see gone were there, and our faith was diminishing. And, yes, how you feel will be akin to your political leaning. I’m allowed mine.

Theresa-May-Jeremy-Corbyn-PMQs

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn Photo Source

So PMQs was the first time to see her in action. And this is where I saw the true ugliness of politics. Every question was blocked by posturing, jibes, name-calling – and yes, politics does not change. The people do, the actions don’t.

But what shocked me most was the media bias.

It was reported, gleefully, that Theresa May had wiped the floor with her opponent. Now regardless of your politics, if I’d seen this the other way round I’d have been just as shocked. It’s not that she’s Tory, but that her body language (leaning forward to intimidate), her tone (aggressive), her words (demeaning, bullying, and cruel personal insults), and her expression (calculated revulsion and sneers) spoke volumes.

Since when is someone considered strong because they can insult someone better than someone else?

Since when has great leadership consisted of putting down the opposition?  

The media reporting was and has been very biased towards one party. Maybe this has a great deal to do with Rupert Murdoch owning the media brands we listen to or read. But the media bias has been so strong lately that it needs looking into and changing. The BBC is supposed to be unbiased, but is it?

These two reports: BBC admit intentionally damaging Corbyn leadership with contrived live resignation, and the Independent’s Our report found that 75% of press coverage misrepresents Jeremy Corbyn – we can’t ignore media bias anymore, show just how much damage is being done in the name of the media. Whether you like Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn or not, you can’t help notice the media portray him as a loser. I watched the interview with Andrew Marr recently, and found a calm, well-spoken politician who put across a strong vision for Britain, but the media don’t show that in general. He is spoken of as unelectable, yet the people have voted in their droves for him.

I’d like to see both leaders taken seriously, and both leaders to take their responsibilities seriously too. I felt that Corbyn had nothing to say during Brexit, maybe he didn’t, but maybe it was just unreported. I also commented during Brexit that the Liberal Democrats had been conspicuously absent. But when I spoke to a Lib Dem supporter, he assured me that Tim Farron had been at many rallies, spoken well and was well-versed in his opposition to Brexit, but I hadn’t seen hide nor hair of him on British media. On the other hand, UKIP was totally over-represented considering they have less members of parliament than the Lib Dems (UKIP: 1, Lib Dems: 8). The Greens and UKIP have one member of parliament each, yet, who did you see more of during Brexit?

Fair reporting is one thing I’d like to see.

The other is less lies, I’d like to see no lies, but that is probably both unlikely and impossible!  The lies during Brexit were breath-taking in their arrogance, but I won’t go into that, done and dusted.

I am seeing the same thing in American politics, and fear the same outcome in their Presidential Election. Outright lies, xenophobia, and scare-mongering.  The fear of having Donald Trump become President of the United States, outweighs my fear over leaving the EU one hundred fold, despite the problems leaving the EU is bringing. Our pound is unstable, and has lost a lot of ground against foreign currency, this means something to me as I send my son money in Canada, and where £50 would have given him $100, it now only gives $85. That’s a big loss when every penny counts. Food prices here are rising and we have yet to see where trade goes. Hopefully as a country we can make the best of it. But Donald Trump? I’m on the Nope Train with that one.

The reporting in the US is diabolical and much of the electioneering is about honesty or dishonesty. This chart shows how damaging the reporting is. From my newsfeeds and the media I’ve seen surrounding Trump and Clinton (and incidentally, Obama, who I’ve had great respect for) both are seen as unethical and dishonest. I’ve even seen Hillary Clinton bandied about as being criminal. This article Lying Liars Who Lie: 2016 Edition, (ignore the religious tones if that’s not your thing the sentiment is still the same) points out that Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, and Jeb Bush, are some of the most honest politicians around. Then you can take a look Donald Trump’s results…

Sometimes I wonder at people.

  • Edited on 26th July 2016 (day before posting): Having just watched Michelle Obama’s DNC (Democratic National Convention) speech, I feel things can change. It doesn’t matter which side you are on, it’s her interest and passion we need to change how politics work. Ignore who she supported if you’re not with Hillary Clinton, but notice how Michelle speaks, how she offers truth and facts with passion and without putting down the opposition with a cruel personal attack. That’s how I want my politics. 

“When someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is: when they go low, we go high.” – Michelle Obama DNC Speech 2016

Michelle Obama DNC speech 2016

Michelle Obama DNC Speech 2016 Photo taken from You Tube video

This post was not written to further my political views, but to show much I wish politics could change.

There is no strength in bullying, intimidating, or invalidating the opposition.
There is no honour in lying to the public.
There is no humanity in deceit.
So why do we fall for it and could it ever change?

Can politics and the media surrounding it ever become honest and not corrupt?

*Note on comments: everyone is allowed a valid opinion, but if any comments are deemed attacking, aggressive, or inciting they will be removed or unapproved. Don’t feed the trolls.