‘The lady's not for turning’ has become entwined in Tory folklore after it was uttered by Thatcher at a party conference in October 1980. It’s still viewed by many as setting the tone for future decades of rule where, so hell bent are those in power on doing it their way, they often choose to refuse to alter direction to save losing face.

This Government started off against the grain however, with proclamations that they would listen to their people. Sadly however, despite initially changing their minds on numerous key issues, they have done just the opposite after being accused by the red and yellow ranks of performing U-turns.

In modern day society, none of us like to lose face. Changing your mind about anything is now seen as a weakness. To change tack gives flight to accusations of sketchiness, as if to change your mind is a derogatory action. Some of us believe that, perversely, U-turns should be lauded and celebrated in equal measure.

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I have just performed my first real, meaningful u turn in aeons and it felt darned good. I have always advocated using your constitutional rights and trotted out the overused mantra of ‘People died for your vote’. I have, in recent years however, and with deeper involvement (often under duress) with political types from parish councillors to MPs, found myself hovering over the box, armed with a Bic Biro and asking why bother?

I felt a slight pang of guilt for those who died for my vote, as I had said it enough to others. The suffragettes, brave women that they were, fought for female equality over a century ago and although there were a handful of deaths, including that of Emily Davison who ran in front of the Kings horse at the 1913 Epson Derby, they did not die for me, per se.

That however had been enough of a convincer until recently to use my vote. You want change they ask? Hell, yes! Then use your vote! Becomes the phrase uttered most but then we hit the campaign cycle.

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The bickering the last time the general election came around was relentless, and I can only compare it to pre-teens arguing over whether Spurs or Chelsea are the ‘best’. One candidate posts what they will do, along with disingenuous, at best, claims about what they have already done. Its challenged and the person is attacked by their political competitor, backed up by voters true to that party and a row continues with no one backing down. Eventually, having been out of the local limelight for a good 10 minutes, a candidate posts yet another incendiary post and it all kicks off again, and again, and again. No one ever backs down and changes their minds.

There are the odd, most minor of concessions which are used as a tool of self-flagellation where the poster openly congratulates themselves for their compassion and ability to see the alternate view when they have done nothing of the sort. The blinkers are on for the supporters.

A prime example of this was Corbyn. For years we had rabid packs lapping up the bearded one’s teachings and attacking those who dared to disagree with his proposed radical new world. The truth is he ultimately ended up home alone in an Islington back street. But then…silence…nothing… kaput… as if those Corbynistas hadn’t spent years violently attacking their neighbours for differing opinion: it was all forgotten as they instead moved onto something new to shout about, something a little more woke.

My point is there is no arguing with anyone about politics. No one wants to listen. Our parents and grandparents, as with us, are highly unlikely to have changed party allegiance. We have been led into this way of things over decades and an online argument or discussion down the pub is not going to alter our brain washed political ideals. But then, there we are, tired of watching and reading the childish rows between the local politicos, we stand there with a pen in our hands as we are ushered toward using our vote to make change real.

The reality is, especially locally, nothing of much will change and maybe a vote is a waste of time as we look at the runners and riders and nothing truly tickles our fancy. We feel forced into casting our vote, but we shouldn’t, in the same way you shouldn’t be forced to take the drugs, or drink the drink, as you drop out and leave them having the same argument for the next 40 years, whilst they prove, beyond doubt, that it wasn’t just the lady who wasn’t for turning….

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher