reflections

This was an attempt on toned paper to capture the dark reflections of trees in a brook running through the woods.

I see this drawing was done two years to the day from this reflection on the outcome of the 2015 general election.  Then, fear of a progressive coalition including the Scots drove the English to give the Conservatives the majority it needed to blunder into the pit of deceit and despair that is Brexit.

This time Labour stand out with a brave and hopeful manifesto of investment in people.

Sadly, the polls still suggest that people will choose the bleakness and self-serving incompetence of the Conservatives: perhaps hope hurts more than savage certainty.

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden is a 3 1/2 acre site, a haven amid dense housing, implementing organic permaculture of plants and promoting wildlife.  It is run by the charity Mind to provide people with an environment supporting mental health.  My son has the great good fortune to be support worker there.  He originally trained in 3D design and then horticulture.  He is using these skills in a way that makes the garden accessible to individuals and which also reaches out to the community.  Weekends during May, they are raising funds through plant sales.  My wife, nephew and step-daughter have all been baking cakes for this enterprise.

The beds contain diverse growing frames, some simple and functional, others spiralling out of the ground.  I spent a few minutes yesterday sketching, in my smallest pad, first a willow growing frame and then a metallic sculpture turning gently in the wind, both set by the pond, home to newts.

More power Igor, give me more POWER!

The Conservative Party is on course for a triple figure majority in the 8th June general election despite causing impoverishment and cutting us off from our main trading partners without planning.  They can spin a good yarn and have powerful interested media outlets to promote it.  As for the three left of centre parties, Labour lacks an engaging narrative whereas the Liberal Democrats and Green Parties both tell clear stories.  All three seem to have at best niche appeal while May is pitching for the kind of nationwide approval only Tony Blair achieved in recent times.

We cannot despair.  We remain a parliamentary democracy and the government must answer to elected MPs.  Every seat denied the Conservatives, indeed every seat they hold by only a slender margin, brings them closer to scrutiny.  Though left centre parties face defeat, it is still worth campaigning.

A progressive alliance, as called for by the Green Party, is unlikely to deliver a left centre government but it can make it harder for Theresa May to narrow state-funded healthcare provision or impose divisive education policies: she may be opposed by some in her own side as well as by a slightly stronger opposition.  What we do now may help sow the seeds of change for the future.

In at least one seat there are moves to give an anti-Tory candidate a clear run.   Lists of marginal constituencies and how to vote tactically are starting to circulate on-line.  A think tank, Compass, is crowd funding for a website to help people build non-partisan alliances.  Small groups seem to be springing up of non-aligned inexperienced people, wanting to know how to help.

I think we need a non-partisan campaigning handbook if we are to make democracy work for us.  One of the earliest tasks is to work to increase voter registration.  Even if local parties cannot make way for a joint candidate, might they at least cooperate on that?