This advice from Gloria Steinem’s mother is similar to what I’ve always advised young people to do. Whether it be when they are dealing with so-called ‘friends’ treating them in a crummy way, or looking at who to vote for in an election. Actions tell you more about a person’s character than what they say in the moment.
How many times have people said ‘I love you‘ – yet their actions show that this isn’t actually true?
How many times has a politician made a speech – yet when it comes down to the vote they fail to deliver?
Yes, Ruth Steinem. You are right to advise us to always look at what people do, not at who they are.
The House of Lords has long been a controversial part of our political and legal system in the United Kingdom. They get to vote on bills (or amendments to bills), but we do not get a say in who gets to be one of those ‘Lords’. There is no method of keeping those placed there accountable.
And yet, on Monday night when 294 MPs
disgustingly voted to not allow the UK to accept 3,000 unaccompanied refugee children – currently homeless, extremely vulnerable and fleeing conflict – it was yesterday that the House of Lords stood up and said: the vote was wrong, we need to allow these children into our country.*
These are some of the same MPs who commended Sir Nicholas Winton for the Czech Kindertransport – he saved 669 Jewish children arranging safe passage to Britain and homes for them there just before the outbreak of the second world war. They might have saved more if Franklin Roosevelt and his American government had not refused to take children as well. Sadly 250 children who were due to leave on 1st September 1939 never made it through as the Nazis invaded Poland. Almost all of them died in the war/holocaust as a result.
As the Scottish elections draw closer (I’ll be voting next Thursday along with all other registered voters in Scotland) I’m learning that campaign pamphlets don’t tell me much about the people I can vote for. Often they’ve been made by others and they are full of propaganda. What I’m finding telling is the way they act in public when they are not in the limelight at a rally or event or hustings. The way they speak on twitter about and to others. Last week I wasn’t sure where my two votes were going to go. That has most definitely changed in the last few days.
I am grateful that in 2010, I voted for an MP who was willing to stand up and vote against his party when it came to breaking a promise they had made to the British voters. On that same note, while they are not my MPs, I’m glad that there were at least 5 Conservative MPs who were willing to vote against their party on Monday and followed their conscience instead. That is what we need in our politicians. So well done Geoffrey Cox, Tania Mathis, Stephen Phillips, Will Quince and David Warburton for doing that. I just hope that come next week, voters in Scotland will be voting for people who will be willing to do what is right over simply following their party line if (and likely when) the time comes to do that in parliament.
*PS – If you are a UK citizen, and you’re as disgusted and angry as I was about Monday night’s vote, please do consider signing this official petition to UK Government/Parliament to tell them that you want them to vote to accept these children. As the Shadow Immigration Minister said “We can’t turn our backs on these vulnerable children in Europe, and history will judge us for that.”