Kate Taylor: We, the public, declare our awakening – 21st century politics is catching up to 21st century scrutiny

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Over a week later and after an election that shocked no one more than Theresa May, talks are still ongoing with the DUP to form a minority government. Many have pointed out that this is in breach of the Good Friday Agreement, and that sacrificing peace for power is not something the public are willing to stand by anymore.

As a writer and sociologist, I have wrestled with topics that are very, very difficult to untangle and some which are emotive for everyone. None so much as the truly heart-breaking scenes at Grenfell Tower.

Polly Toynbee has written an article which sums up our countries situation to a tee – enough is enough.

The tower block has been gutted to a husk after fire blazed through the building; with the death toll over 30 currently, but with nearly 100 people missing those figures are set to rise dramatically over the coming days.

Hearing stories of parents throwing their children from eight floor windows begging strangers to catch them – how is this 21st century Britain?

Theresa May chose not to face the public when attending the scene with guards stating security risks, not something that appeared to be a problem for the Queen or other party leaders, as photos emerge of Jeremy Corbyn holding on to a distraught woman emerge.

Will this be the straw that breaks austerity’s back?

For too long politicians from all sides have ignored their voters, this snap election seeing many Conservative party members (former MP Karl McCartney included) refusing to debate or engage with the public repeatedly.

There seems to be a vacuum on the topic of what’s behind tragedies such as the fire and the lack of political interaction. Social class. It’s been stated that the cladding which has been pointed to as being the reason the building was engulfed so quickly was ‘mainly’ to improve the aesthetic for surrounding neighbours – namely those living in luxury accommodation.

The working classes have been hoodwinked for centuries, whether teaching the poor that the gates to heaven cannot be entered with money (so don’t worry about poor living conditions, you’ll live on in Heaven forever!); or insisting that those ‘below’ us are feckless and irresponsible with their money, leaving the rest of us to pick up the pieces.

I’ll tell you what is irresponsible, building a moat with taxpayers’ money.

Record numbers of people signed up to vote this year, with many places having over a 70% turn out rate on June 8. Even our voting system is archaic, with first-past-the-post turning it into a two-party race, the public are standing up.

Swathes of people turned up to see Corbyn speak in his rallies this year, and many Tory and even UKIP voters have swung to red.

In no small part due to their parties’ refusal to participate with the public. With the utilisation of social media, it’s easier than ever for the barriers to be pulled down, and for the PM’s sake she needs to speed-read the new political landscape and understand her constituents no longer merely need more, they expect it.

The Lib Dems, too, failed to ignite passion with the public after Tim Farron refused to discuss certain topics such as homosexuality because of his Christian faith.

In a bold move he has ‘decided’ to step down as he struggled to keep church and state separate whilst leading a liberal party. This may have been commended by the Archbishop of Canterbury but others have held it low regard, particularly as he announced it on the day of the Grenfell disaster.

Perceived as ego-centric, yet another politician has managed to bring the class divide into full view; and people are beginning to take notice.

Meanwhile, bedroom tax, further means testing, reductions in school spending and indeed, saving £2p/m on cladding by not purchasing fire resistant materials have all contributed to a class divide not seen since the Thatcher years.

Fear has kept people from learning the truth, but times are changing and facts are becoming easier to access every day.

We are a diverse and proud nation, and having a government that is willing to engage with us is of upmost important if democracy is to retain any sort of believability.

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