When I wrote this post almost a year ago, I had no idea what our dear Conservative government would do with the political mandate bestowed upon them by the election result. I had lived five years under a Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition, I had lived under David Cameron's leadership before, would he really do any more damage with a full Tory government?
This past year living in the states, I have spent a lot of time educating myself on the American political system, and, as a result, my own country and its failings have been placed temporarily on the back shelf. But what I have heard has left me incredibly angry.
The response to the opposition of junior doctor's to Jeremy Hunt's contract proposal is not just cowardly and stubborn, it is downright dangerous. I could write a post about why I believe the contract itself is wrong, but others have written far better articles and blog posts about it. The reason why I am so angry goes beyond the awful ideas of our health secretary to the fundamentally flawed and ultimately terrifying state of the so-called democratic system.
As the government push through legislation to impose a life-changing and NHS-destroying contract on the junior doctors, they refuse to acknowledge any opinion or idea other than their own. They are deliberately and maliciously ignoring the voices of the people they apparently represent. Not even in the face of a two day strike that could potentially endanger lives. Like children, they put their hands over their ears and pull faces at the young men and women who are fighting for the right to a safe and sustainable NHS. But David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt are not children, and their refusal to acknowledge the needs of their people is not childish, its tyrannical.
In the past year the government has repeatedly ignored the cries and protests of the people it has authority over. And with another four years of almost absolute power due to their majority win, it seems like there is little that the public can do to stop the destruction of our NHS, power hungry military attacks such as the unnecessary missile strikes in the wake of the attacks on Paris, cuts to disability and welfare benefits, or indeed anything our leaders stubbornly set their mind upon.
Their message is loud and clear: you can protest all you want, you can march the streets, you can quit your job, you can write letters and make videos, you can scream in their faces or lie bleeding at their feet, but they will not listen.
And that frustrates and terrifies me. We are at the mercy of indifferent and unfeeling politicians who we voted in. Under the name and authority of "democracy", the Conservatives can do as they please.
I want to believe in the voice of the people, in the role of art, in the force and power of intelligent and motivated activists and groups to influence and bring about justice. But right now I feel suffocated and helpless.
I'm writing this post, angry and upset, with the freedom to say how I feel. But what good does that do when anything other than the opinion of those in leadership is discounted, muted and ignored?
We will continue to protest, we will continue to fight, we will continue to pressure and push the government towards compassion, as I wrote back in May last year. But I no longer shout it or truly believe it will be effective. And, sadly, that is what they want. For those who want to cry out to realise that they will scream until their voices strain and break to no avail and therefore not say anything at all. It will be an exhausting fight, but in the face of such opposition, we cannot stop, we mustn't stop. Or we place the autonomy they so ardently desire in their hands, and I for one cannot live with that responsibility.