On Thursday 12th December 2019 the UK held a general election, the result of which was unsurprising yet devastating: the Conservative party with Boris Johnson at the helm won a landslide victory, leaving those of us who eagerly voted Labour devastated to say the least.

I won’t focus on the ins and outs of the various parties and their manifestos but I do intend to  offer my perspective on the aftermath; the reasons for the sense of despair I’ve both witnessed and experienced, and how it felt to wake up the following day, knowing that so many people voted for a leader who has expressed, on more than one occasion, absolute disdain for so many, including who I am as a black, Muslim woman.

The Prime Minister of this country is a man whose racist, Islamophobic, homophobic and mysogynistic comments are well documented. He is the current leader of the party responsible for the Windrush Scandal which resulted in the detention, deportation, threatened deportation and mistreatment of a number of British citizens, mostly of Caribbean descent, as well as the horrific Grenfell Tower fire of 2017 in which 72 people, mostly immigrants, or descendants of immigrants, to this country lost their lives.

I draw attention to this because it is important to note that he won this election without being held accountable, or even answerable, for any of it.

Despite the fact that endless cuts have driven people to death and despair over the past 9 years that the Conservatives have governed this country, in this election issues such as education, the environment, healthcare and welfare took a backseat to Brexit and blind prejudice and I have no doubt that people will live to regret this.

There are many who, in voting conservative have sacrificed themselves and so many vulnerable people, and when the health service crumbles and food bank usage continues to rise, they will have to live with the fact that this is what they voted for.

In spite of this, I know that I can’t afford to focus on those people because I have no doubt that there are many who will seek to fuel a divide, encourage animosity and distract us from holding those in parliament accountable for their actions.

And so it seems to me that all that is left to do is to consider how best to protect ourselves and support the most vulnerable amongst us and, whilst I don’t have all the answers, I have some ideas about where I’ll be focusing my energy and some suggestions as to where you might want to concentrate yours:

Firstly, we must do what we can to support public services; we have to support our libraries, food banks, charities and, in whatever ways we can, volunteer our time in the service of others.

Secondly, if you’re looking to make sense of our current situation, read. Read about the real history of this country. The UK’s collective amnesia when it comes to its (and wider Europe’s) colonial past, and centuries’ long history of plundering and pillaging, cannot be allowed to continue. “We weren’t taught this in school” is not an excuse grown adults should be making and, as they say, knowledge is power.

Thirdly, listen to marginalised groups when they talk of their experiences and accept what is said even if it pains you to do so. Be mindful of the fact that there are people in this country who feel less safe and unwelcome, now more than ever.

Lastly, for anyone who struggling to face the world outside, take the time you need.

I spent this past weekend reading, listing to music, book-shopping and watching mind-numbingly basic TV. You’ll have your own version of these activities and I’d encourage you to take the time necessary to recharge.

We are allowed to be disappointed, we are allowed to be exhausted and we are allowed to be fearful but resignation is not an option.

As a reminder to you, and to myself: we have a right to live here, to work here, to worship here and to thrive here. We have every right to be here so I’m claiming my space and your right to yours too.