I just don’t understand how we’re not protesting on a large scale here at the moment. Even for the usually-apathetic UK population this is surprising. I think a lot of people buy into the talk of protest having been made illegal last year, and just going along with that as something that’s happened now, another reason not to bother pushing back. Even if that was the case, that’s even more reason to protest.
There’s no constitutional or legal process to force a general election here and so no matter how bad it gets, it’s legally still up to the government which is causing all the chaos. This means that it’s solely in the hands of the public to force the issue. And it just doesn’t get worse than this. The NHS has always been seen as one of the UK’s top priorities, and any governing party threatening it would rightly not be accepted. But it feels like everyone is so beaten down now into even further apathy and feeling of powerlessness.
I’m way more nervous now than at the start of the pandemic, and even people working in hospitals are saying that it’s worse. The NHS is in the worst state in its history. Waiting times for ambulances are stretching to over 24 hours, waiting times in A&E days (4 days was the highest I’ve seen). Soon this is going to be measured in weeks. People dying in ambulances waiting outside hospitals, or in corridors waiting to be seen. I saw a BBC news article yesterday describing someone waiting outside in the cold for 12 hours with a stranger who’d fallen down some stairs and couldn’t be moved— waiting for an ambulance that whole time.
Unfortunately most protests happen in London, and outside of London there aren’t obvious focal points for them. So usually if I want to get involved in some demonstration I’d have to travel to London, which is impossible with my mobility problems. But a pre-requisite for large-scale protests is conversation, and that’s something that just doesn’t happen in the UK. Even now. And I just heard a doctor on a podcast saying that the fact that no one seems to be outraged by this is unconscionable. The nurses are striking but that’s it. The public isn’t doing its own part.
The situation is starting to be reported by foreign countries. I can only imagine what people in France must be thinking, the confusion about the lack of full-on protest that’s required and justified. The NHS is about to completely collapse.
I just keep holding on to this piece of consolation— the Conservative party is never going to lead the country again, which naive as it seems to say I think could really be possible. It was always going to take something incredibly extreme and impossible-to-ignore for that to happen.