A clear Tory majority in the UK parliament and an eventual Brexit now seem inevitable. How do we survive? The British Left has the paralysing tendency to be so overwhelmed by corporate executive failure and structural injustice that the power of the individual, and of small self-organising groups, is neglected. We don’t have to live like that. Britain is broken, let’s fix it. And, yes, even if our constituent nations achieve independence, that won’t solve all our problems. Not now.
But here’s ten tasks that should help:
- Plant vegetables. Study and create a backgarden permaculture in synergy with your domestic heating and plumbing systems if you can, but even sowing seeds under cover on St Valentine’s Day and potatoes on Good Friday will help. Herbs near the back door – and in pots so the dog won’t pee on them! Connect up with your nearest smallholding or community garden. Find kindred spirits and help each other out.
- Plant flowers. Any and all and all-year round. If you think Brexit is a problem, read up on the the crisis in pollinators! You will be repaid with year-long beauty. Plant a tree too!
- Invest in solar panels. Yes there’s enough light. Even in December and January in Scotland. There are various schemes and you need to do your homework but the Government are under pressure to commit to alleviating climate catastrophe and energy is a key component so installation fees are likely to keep coming down.
- Go vegan. Seriously. Not only will you significantly reduce your carbon footprint (and probably your waistline) but your conscience will be a lot lighter knowing that your dinner didn’t die screaming in pain or crying with fear. Massive health benefits are a bonus and, as we can no-longer rely on there being a free NHS, you really can only afford good nutrition.
- Get a dog or two if you can and take them out for walks three times a day. That vitamin D will perk you up and you’ll need the serotonin to stop obsessing about whatever is happening on TV, phone and computer screens.
- Make things. Learn to knit, crochet (buy wool in charity shops) weave, make macrame and ceramics and cook if you don’t know how – and branch out if you do. Home cooking can be therapeutic, social and far cheaper (and healthier) than over-packaged store-bought ready meals with way too much sugar and salt.
- Repair things. Google: sewing, darning, changing a fuse, changing a washer on a leaky tap, learn bicycle/ motorcycle/ car maintenance – go to local classes or workshops.
- Teach. You know things. Share those skills.
- Reuse, recycle, upcycle and barter. There are lots of schemes, like Freecycle.
- Try to be happy – and help others to be. I’ve lived in countries where the economy is a joke. It’s difficult but people are resilient and you adapt. You don’t have to wait for the glorious socialist revolution in order to share planned or spontaneous moments of joy and people are all around you.
Politics is to do with the polis – that means ‘police’ in Scotland but in Greek it means the city, the place where people live together. And even if you’re on a wee croft in the Outer Hebrides, that means you and the people around you. We are the people. We don’t need anyone’s permission to thrive. Just do it.
Thanks to Kai Stachowiak who has released the image “Brexit Background” into the public domain.