What Progressive Politics Looks Like to Me

Progressive Politics

I’d never considered myself the type to get into politics, until I met Bridget. A lovely councilor I know through work, when I asked her how I could make more of a difference, she told me I should look into politics.

Following that conversation, I joined the Liberal Democrats, and looked into what other things I could get involved with. Bridget kept throwing events my way, such as the LibDem MP training, which looked really up my street but had a really intimidating application process that I was a bit much for me at this point in time.

I like the LibDems because they are the people who align mostly with what I believe, and I think that a new wave of politics should include British politics being more than a two horse race. However, the thing I believe most is that we – anyone from any party who is interested in making the country a better place – need to focus on Progressive Politics.

What do I mean by this?

Let me explain by demonstrating what I DON’T believe this is.

One day last week, I was on Twitter engaging with one of our local Conservative MPs, Heidi Allen. I don’t agree with everything she votes on, but she’s a huge supporter of the work we do at my day job, and she’s always honest and vocal about the trolling and abuse she gets as a woman in politics. In that sense, I find her very inspiring, and in reply to her tweet about a bad experience she had, I told her so.

In the hours – days – that followed, I was bombarded by leftwing people calling me stupid, naive, linking me her voting record. I did reply to a few explaining that you don’t have to agree with someone to compliment and look up to them, but it only made things worse. Knowing that these people are on the same side as me, the side that I choose to be on because I care about other people and want to act in kindness, helping others, made me really very sad. To choose to be “left”, I believe you choose to put people over profit. To hound someone for having complimented someone “on the opposite team” is not in the nature of the leftwing movement, I believe.

The next day, I was scrolling through the local LibDeb facebook group and saw a comment left by someone telling others to find Labour supporters on Twitter and keep asking them questions to break them down and make them realise they’re “wrong”. Again, I was aghast that someone on “my side” would be telling people to essentially troll others who believe in different things. You won’t get people to come round to your side by harassing or attacking them.

As I move forward through politics, I want to practice Progressive Politics. By which I mean:

  • promoting solutions over attacking others’ ideas
  • respecting those who believe different things to me, trying to learn from them
  • engaging with people from other parties in a positive way

How can we put Progressive Politics into action?

Firstly, understand the science of why this method of engaging in politics is more effective. NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast has an excellent episode on why telling people they’re wrong just doesn’t work.

Next, engage with people from other parties. Follow all your local MPs on Twitter, even if they are not on the same team as you. Support them when they’re trying to make your life easier.

A great cross-political podcast I’ve been really enjoying recently is Reasons to be Cheerful, by Ed Milliband. They discuss ways in which people are working within issues we have in modern Britain and present things in a way that’s more or less unbiased.

Lastly, and this is a thing I intend to be better with, try to break free from the echo chamber bubble and listen, interact and engage with people who think the opposite to you. I’ve not read it yet, but June Sarpong has a well-recommended book called Diversify which even goes as far as to encourage people to have dinner parties with people of different backgrounds and opinions. I fully intend to have one of these myself.

Politics is something many people say doesn’t interest them, but it is essential to our every day lives. If you believe that things could and should be better, then looking to engage in politics is how you can play a part in improvements. I hope that those who stand with me in trying to make everyone’s lives better will join me in practicing Progressive Politics, supporting and encouraging each other along the way.

 

 

Comments

  1. This probably contradicts the “break free of the echo chamber” point – which I 100% agree with, btw, despite having a carefully curated Facebook feed that consists of nothing but cat videos because I need SOMEWHERE to have a break – but having a “quality filter” on my Twitter replies has been an absolute godsend as a Mouthy Woman What Uses Social Media. I had a very similar experience to yours with Heidi Allan when I tweeted some support at Diane Abbott during the last election. It was a week of straight abuse, but the notifications disappeared as soon as I looked at the Twitter app because they had been filtered out.

    Regardless, this is an excellent post and I agree with your conclusions.

    Lis / last year’s girl x
    last year’s girl recently posted…clothes clothes clothes. music music music. cats cats cats;My Profile

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