Growing up I was taught that polite conversation should never include politics and or religion and whilst I agree they both can cause heated debate I do think it’s time both were spoken about a hell of a lot more.
On Thursday I was lucky enough to be chosen to be part of the BBC question time audience. I use the word lucky, as well over four times as many people applied than was accepted. The show was filmed in my home town and I was rather proud to be part of it.
The whole evening was interesting, from the advice and suggested questions I was given before the actual evening to the after show chats.
I got to speak to individuals whose views ranged from far far right to far left.
Personal stories which have formed personal opinions and some which I have no idea where they came from.
The biggest and scariest insight I took from this evening was how much people believe in news headlines. How whatever is printed is took to be truth.
This really scares me, not only because a lot of media publications, programmes are owned by the same man and completely bias to whatever keeps money in his pocket but because I truly believe people should question everything.
A lot of the evening questions were based on the EU and to be fair under the rants and false statistics there were some interesting opinions. I actually really admired the views of writer and broadcaster Paul Mason who stated in principle he wants to leave the European Union but is not sure he could vote exit and leave this country in the hands of the Tory right. Something I completely agree we.
In fact being truthful I think right now I will vote remain, not because I believe in the EU completely but because I do not trust those that would then have total control.
There was a lot of heated debate regarding this subject but what really gets me is the fact that immigration is getting the blame for everything. If you did happen to watch the programme you will see me challenge this falsehood and although I found myself a little tongue tied and emotional I do hope I got my main point across. Blaming immigration for everything is a true cop out and a really bigoted view to have. People need to look a lot closer at the real issues in this country starting with the evil known as austerity.
Poverty is evil and with it breeds hate and fear. My hope is that this anger can be addressed towards those politicians who vote for tax breaks for big business whilst over a million people are using food banks. Also before someone starts letting their mind sway into believing that all food banks users are people on benefits let me tell you that you are wrong a high proportion of users are working families who now thanks to the cuts cannot feed their families.
So thankfully this Thursday I was given the opportunity to remind people of what I believe is the true issue with this country. In fact as I followed Twitter nervously watching the show ( they record an hour or so earlier) I was proud to the be the woman in red who talked a lot of sense”.
IQuestion time was an experience and one I would love to repeat. In fact it has just stirred up in me more desire to learn more about politics and those running our country.
I was also lucky enough to briefly chat with Paul Mason, Tim Farron and Yvette Cooper outside the town hall, all three are really lovely people with valid points raised throughout the evening. I even managed to get a selfie with Yvette which rather made my night. I may be an ardent Corbyn supporter but I do admire Yvette a lot.
So there you have my typical (I wish ) Thursday evening. Politics and religion may never be classed as polite conversation but the way people here in the UK are struggling is far from polite.
We need conversation, we need to challenge those in power. We need to stop the vulnerable people of this country being abused and neglected by cuts to social care, mental health, disability etc. Cuts to NHS and so much more.
Now isn’t the time for politeness it’s a time for standing together and shouting loud.
Collectively our voices can and will be heard.