People Power

As I was tying up my laces to head out the door for a training run, Jeremy Vine came on the radio.

I wasn’t paying particular attention, but his voice brought up a memory of a series of radio interviews and articles I’d come across recently which caused my heart to shudder with disbelief. I stopped what I was doing and decided I had to get these thoughts down because they are pertinent to my challenge.

I resigned from the police service a few years ago as a direct result (amongst other reasons) of the Tory government’s bullying of the service; treating officers with complete disdain and mockery, making sweeping generalisations that police officers were lazy, and greedy because they were only doing the job for the money. For my entire service I had struggled financially to raise my children and work, whilst also studying for my Modern Languages degree (relevant at the time in NE Wales where there is a high number of foreign students and workers) and training and qualifying for the GB triathlon team. I struggled financially because contrary to belief, wages within the first ten years of service are relatively low considering the amount of childcare funding that is required to work between 36-70 hour weeks, plus hiring a nanny, in order to work a full shift.

I struggled to understand why the service was being turned into a business where the only result is about the bottom line and statistics, human relief cannot be measured; why the government was hell bent on demoralising everyone within the service by completely ignoring their words coming in the thousands, and discriminating against those who work as hard as they can but in the interests of child welfare…and the future of our nation…were parents who either knocked their hours down to cope or altered patterns to cope. It was always about coping. I wasn’t the only officer in that situation, but I was one of the ones who became marginalised for:

  1. working part-time (working 36 hours per week without basic stead of 40) even though I also worked 40-hour weeks and up to 70-hour weeks because you can’t tell a victim you have to go home now…
  2. being female (being shared out amongst a strongly male-dominated region meant no other females to relate to or even speak to most days)…
  3. coping with depression and stress (talking about this wasn’t strictly taboo, it was just not looked on positively  or discussed openly because it was certainly considered a flaw).

Leaving the service was the best choice I made, not because the job isn’t rewarding, nor because the colleagues weren’t exceptionally decent human beings. It was because the system had become simply one more of the government’s puppet strings, and the whole concept of being a politically-dominated puppet reeked of bullying, coercion, dishonesty and intolerance.

I survived the ordeal handed out by Theresa May by resigning. I had to go through a number of breakdowns and a suicide attempt to get to that stage, but I still survived. I wouldn’t go as far to say thank you to the Home Secretary for opening my eyes to the corruption in our political system, but I am grateful that my eyes have been opened now whilst I’m still in a position to do something about it.

When I now hear and read about the Junior Doctor’s who are simply being ignored by another MP who has as much understanding and experience of the practice as Theresa May has of policing, I feel the same raw emotions rise up within me to take ownership of my role in this society and to call out the government, and the people, that we have been let down, and lied to too many times. Enough is enough.

Listening to Radio 4 when I awoke this morning, the doctor being interviewed was pained to explain to the MP next to him the desperation that they are already feeling, and I know that feeling intently, I felt the same when I marched through London to show my solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of police officers across the nation who were being silenced by political ignorance..

Politics has become about organisational greed, about business interests, and about how much money the treasury can make. It was not designed for that purpose – it is about the people, it is about the citizens and what is best for them to keep this country flourishing. It is about responsibility for each other and growing together. It is philosophy, philanthropy, support, negotiation, cooperation and collaboration. Unfortunately we are currently stuck with a government that enforces its narrow-minded (and often mind-numbing) rule on hard-working citizens through bullying, coercion, power-grabbing and corruption. I haven’t even started on the educational system…

It’s a timely reminder to myself, and for anyone wondering what my motivations are, that I am running this Fierce Mind challenge in part because of the despicable way that Theresa May treated me, and I am running to show her that I will stand up and fight for others who work to protect people, to save lives and to do what she would never, ever do.

Our government is suppressing our mental health needs, and we must show them that we are the ones who run this country.