My middle son cried at lunchtime on Friday, when they’d come home from school and I explained what the election result was, bleary-eyed from staying up til 4am rejoicing and wondering. How Scotland had voted SNP for 56 out of 59 possible MPs, and how crazy and unprecedented that was. ‘So Nicola Sturgeon won? We don’t have David Cameron anymore?’ he asked. And I had to try to explain that no, we still have David Cameron, and actually it was the Tories that had won, despite how Scotland voted. And he couldn’t get his head round that at all. He said ‘but what about the NHS?’ And then he burst into tears, saying ‘but I don’t understand. Why would anyone vote for that? They think it’s all about money, but money isn’t important. People’s lives are important’.
And I couldn’t explain why people voted for that, because I don’t really understand it myself. I didn’t want to tell him that some people in England had listened to what the media was shouting at them, had been afraid of what the Scots having a bigger say at Westminster might mean and had voted Tory instead of Labour to try and stop that happening, because I don’t want him to resent English people. His grandpa on one side and his late grandma on the other are English. Some of his schoolfriends are English. I didn’t want to tell him that some people are just selfish and are more concerned with the money in their own pocket than whether someone else more vulnerable might be struggling, because that’s a shite state of affairs, even though it’s true, and even though he’s basically formed that opinion by himself already at the age of nine. Some things are hard to tell your children.
So instead I told him not to despair, because we still have each other even if we have a Tory government, and we’ll look after each other and be kind and good, and there are other good people around who feel the same, and we will all find little ways to make life better for each other. That’s how you beat Tories. Do something every day to make a Tory frown. Share your snack if someone’s mum’s forgotten to give them one. Play with someone who’s looking a bit lonely in the playground. Bring your workmates communal biscuits. Let your little brother have the computer even though it’s technically your turn, once in a while. Be nice to people who have less than you. Be kind. Be a stand-up guy. If you see someone being shoved around who looks like they need help, step in, don’t walk past. Give a beggar a quid.
Screw money, it’s not important. People’s lives are important.