Today’s Vote Like A Mother comes from the inspiring Jayne Clark- Denyer of Organically Epic. (If you missed the first piece, Our NHS literally keeps my son alive, you can read here).
Politics. It affects everything. It’s where everything is decided, it’s where rules are made and how entire countries are governed. Families are broken by it, friendships are ruined and started by it. Wars are fought, won and lost over it.
To have no interest or no opinion on politics is baffling to me. Have an opinion at least. Know if you’re left, centre or right. Know what your ideals are, what you want from the powers that be and, more importantly, what you don’t want. These are the choices that are made that show what type of society we are.
I’m afraid we have become a cruel society. An ‘I’m alright Jack’ society that has no understanding of other people’s struggles. It’s not something that we’ve experienced so we don’t care. It’s so very, very sad. Some of us have lost our humanity.
We’ve become the haves and the have nots. With a certain part of the population, continuing to not give a toss about the have nots. Brexit has divided us. It’s broken households. I’ll let you into a secret, it nearly broken mine. I’m still sore about it.
But I’m not talking about Brexit. Our current political woes actually have nothing to do with Brexit. Brexit has blinded us to the truth and the cruelty of the Conservative Party.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, this isn’t an entirely political blog and probably not what Keri is asking of me so I’ll start from the beginning. As to why I care so much about politics, the type of person I am and how this affects my business, it’s ethos and what I’ve experienced in business.
I’m from a family of socialists, deep thinkers and conversationalists. Neither family had ‘money’. They probably lived in what we would call poverty now. My Mother and my Father both worked hard. Their success allowed my brother and I to grow into a world where we had choices and opportunity that was not afforded to my parents when they were very young.
So, you’d have thought I’d have been political from a young age right? Nope. Couldn’t have cared less. Much like football. My entire family loves football but I could not care less. I was the black sheep. The one who didn’t like the stuff my parents and brother did, the one who rolled their eyes at any political talk.
The one who, I’m ashamed to say, was probably a bit right wing at times. I worked in London for a long time and it affected my mindset. I was surrounded by wealthy people who had bank balances and houses I could only dream of. They also had pretty dodgy views about people who didn’t have their wealth. Specifically people who were on benefits and single mothers. I’m ashamed to say that I was taken in by these views, my judgement was clouded. I had no idea what it was like to be pregnant, I had no idea what it was like to be on benefits, to not have the opportunities that I had. I believed that everyone should just work hard and why didn’t others work hard. I thought that people on benefits were just ‘working the system’. Oh how stupid I was.
I didn’t realise then that politics was everything. It didn’t touch me.
Oh but it did. So very, very much. I just wasn’t aware. Much like patriarchy deniers eh? ?
When I was about 24 I started to think there must be more to all of this. Working. Money, nonsense. So I packed in the job and went travelling. This is when everything changed for me. I went away for 18 months. I travelled in South East Asia and Australia. I didn’t do everything I wanted, basically because I met my husband and stayed in Australia for a year but that worked out wonderfully……
Travelling around countries who were so much poorer than our own was the making of me. I realised that my own country was actually pretty bloody wonderful and how wrong I was to have thought badly of people who were different to me, who led different lives, who needed help.
My husband is deeply political as are his friends. When I met him in Australia I was catapulted into a left wing world that fascinated me. People who were so passionate, so intelligent, so compassionate and caring. I loved it. I realised that I’d lost my way.
That’s where it started. That’s where I changed. I continued to work in London when I returned but my outlook had changed. At that time Labour were booted out and we had a fully fledged blue Conservative party in their place. I was devastated.
When I was made redundant at 5 months pregnant in 2012, something that was devastating at the time turned out to be the best thing I could have asked for. This led me to my path in creating Organically Epic. A business that is building a life for my little family, that is about equality and kindness. A business that is trying to save our planet, in its own small way.
I could raise my child and have my own business. Something that I wouldn’t have thought possible had I not been made redundant.
We launched in 2015 and were only a year in business before Brexit came about in 2016. Brexit not only hurt my heart, it severely affected Organically Epic. Just as we were getting going, the uncertainty of Brexit happened. People started getting worried, they weren’t buying, they weren’t committing. It’s been a hard slog, it’s been dark at times but I see the future. I see Organically Epic eventually being a market leader so the dark times get smashed through with my sheer will to succeed. The same thing has happened in the last 6 to 8 months. Just as we were gaining ground with stockists and customers, building our brands (when we distributed) Boris became PM and everyone got worried again. They stopped buying or at least, they stopped buying as much as they were. It could be coincidence, but I think not.
People laugh at me when they come to me with their business woes. Products not selling, customers not buying, programmes not selling, events not filling up. My answer all the time is people are worried, people want certainty. This filters down. Politics. Whether we like it or not, it filters down. People don’t have money like they did or at least not the expendable part of it. Time, we need time. We need change.
A lot of these woes were behind my reason to go full brand. Get rid of spending money on growing other brands in uncertain times, growing someone else’s name and customer base for it to be easily taken away.
Since Brexit first came into being, I’ve been meticulously planning our dental brand launch. Getting everything aligned from sourcing manufacturers, studying organic formulation, researching innovations such as sustainable packaging to shipping providers, ingredients, attending every single industry event I can, entering awards and then some!
Why? Because if I’m going to go down and it isn’t going to work, I want to be able to say I threw everything at it. For me. For Organically Epic. For my staff and for my family. Not for any other brand. I put it in the “fuck it, what’s the worst that can happen” category.
And if we are more successful it will be the best thing. Ever.
The positive for me, with regard to our shaky political landscape and Brexit, it’s made me reassess where the business is going and what I’m doing. It’s made me want to bring everything I can into being produced in the UK. It’s made me want to support local business, small business and my ever growing friendship circle in any way I can. I’m surrounded by wonderful women doing amazing things in business. It’s pretty inspiring. No matter what’s happening politically.
For me, being left wing is the only way. The austerity of the Conservatives has ruined our NHS, our school system, our railways, our services. It’s allowed thousands and thousands of children to live in poverty, it’s discriminated against people with disabilities, made the poor poorer and the rich richer. Don’t even get me started on their stance on refugees. For Christ sake, they’ve allowed people to die due to their draconian austerity, how do people keep voting them in?!!!
Boris Johnson is a liar, a sexist and a racist. How on earth someone like that gets into this type of power is beyond me. He is a dangerous man. He is supported by another dangerous man, the big giant baby that is Donald Trump. Terrifying, truly terrifying. It’s amazing where you can get to in life by being a white rich man.
I for one am fed up of being governed by the uber rich who have no idea what it means to live a normal life in today’s world of technology, poverty and climate change. Where 1% of the world’s population own 50% of the wealth of the world. How is that right?
I look back at 21-year-old me and feel sad for how green she was, how politically unaware she was. How shy and unaware she was of her own power. Her own ideas.
But without her, I wouldn’t be who I am today. Someone who is deeply opinionated, but respectful of others opinions (mostly), someone who is interested in politics but doesn’t know as much as she should (first past the post is pretty much like the offside rule to me. Confusing).
A business owner, an employer, a mother. My most important job actually. How could I not be political in the current climate with so much at stake. So much more than my own business. How could I not teach my children kindness, how to support their friends, how to lift others up, how to learn about others and teach them in return. That these traits should also form part of your need in a political party.
I wouldn’t be any of these things without my interest in the wider world, without my interest in politics and support of others.
Politics shapes us, it divides us, yet it’s one of the most important things in the world. As a woman, I’m proud to say I’ve always voted since it was legal for me to do so. I’ve voted Labour, Lib Dem and for the Greens. Always voting with my head and heart in tandem.
I’ve come to realise, there is only one party for me, and I’m sure that’s pretty obvious by now right?
If Organically Epic is as successful as I see it being. Imagine who I could help. What a successful business can do, for community and those in need.
Whatever happens on the 12thDecember, I’ll be working my arse off to move Organically Epic forward. I’m all in mate. I’m not playing, this isn’t a hobby. It’s my life, livelihood and future.
Now if you made it to end of ‘this is my life through politics’, you deserve a cuppa or a glass of wine!