Re-moaning, Trumpgate and late night TV

Where were you on 31st August 1997? I was watching TV in the early hours of the morning when I heard the news of Princess Diana dying; I will never forget where I was then, or where I was when I heard about the Twin Towers attack in 2001.

On 23rd June 2016 I also found myself awake in the early hours with my 6 month old daughter. Tired of trying to get her to sleep, I somewhat defeatedly turned on the 24 hour news, only to get excited when I remembered it was the night of the EU referendum. As she fell asleep in her swing chair I was pinned to my seat, keen to wake my husband and tell him which way the result was clearly going, but knowing I wouldn’t be thanked if I did. I realised this was another ‘history in the making moment’, so instead I WhatsApp’d my NCT mum friends to see who else was up!

Maternity leave and the changing political landscape

I’ve just returned to my role at Tearfund after 13 months maternity leave and the political landscape has seen some seismic changes, the aftershocks of which I’m sure will be felt for years. Although 2016 has been divisive in many ways, thankfully, yet also sadly, I don’t think it will go down in history as one of the worst years ever.

Last night I was again watching TV about 4am, after having difficulty getting back to sleep following a quick crying session by our daughter.  I was struck by so many important events that have occurred in recent hours and days such as MPs voting in favour of triggering Article 50, Rex Tillerson being sworn in as Secretary of State for the US, the Department of Transport launching its 4 month public consultation on the Heathrow expansion  and students protesting at Berkeley University, Los Angeles, when they heard that Milo Yiannopoulos was due to speak there.

Milo Yiannopoulos is editor of  far-right Breitbart News, with added fuel coming from the appointment of previous Breitbart editor, Steve Bannon, as President Trump’s senior strategist.  Amongst the students messages was “hate speech isn’t free speech” and the students there have a history of protesting on this going back to 1960s.

However you vote and how ever you protest, now is clearly a time for getting involved. Here in the UK, for example, the decision on the EU has squarely been made, (although we are yet to see what the Lords may stir up) and we are left with the responsibility to ensure our government strikes the best deal for us and our global neighbours during Brexit negotiations.  

get-involved

Common goals on economic growth

All these events I mention are significant for my work on climate change.

Whether you are a delighted leave-er, or a down in the dumps remain-er, we can still work across political divides to re-balance our world and agree on a common goal of economic and environmentally sustainable development.

Whether you are in uproar about the election of Trump and his advisors, or if you’re in support of him, we can all organise around a ‘restored economy’ – where everyone can experience freedom and prosperity, whilst protecting our world.  

Politics shouldn’t trump (a-hem), protecting nature and ensuring all people can benefit from economic growth.  Across the political divide we should be able to agree on economic and environmentally sustainable development – the ‘devil’, I know, will be in the interpretation detail.  

Before I went on maternity leave, Tearfund launched a report outlining how “we need to… think in terms of a larger us – one that moves from ‘people like us’ to simply ‘people – like us’. A longer future – beyond the next news cycle, the next financial quarter, the next election – looking out instead for generations to come. And a better ‘good life’ – an understanding that security, consumption and well-being are not three words that all mean the same thing.”

Can I be so bold as to assert this is a message for such a time as this? We need a different story to guide us, to ensure everyone can flourish while protecting our world and where no one lives in absolute poverty.

 

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