After waking up this morning and processing the events of the night I, and many people in Scotland, have mixed feelings about what happened during the first snap election I have voted in. There was relief that the Tories had lost their majority in the British parliament but that emotion was definitely balanced by what went on north of the border. The Tory Party increased their number of seats to 13 which made me feel sad and embarrassed for my country though I was hardly surprised.
Scotland has had its own particular problem with intolerance for years now but I have sensed an increase in right wing feeling recently either whether that’s through where I work, in my community or just when I’m out and about. Perhaps though, the area where the values and attitudes which personify the Tories is most evident are the roads of the country.
I have seen more and more hostility towards folk who are simply choosing to get from A to B by a means of transport different to their own. There is a greedy unwillingness from many to fairly share the roads. Some will not even cede a safe passing distance to bicycles. There is a disregard for the health and lives of other human beings as people use their vehicles as weapons to either intimidate or physically harm people more vulnerable than them, people they don’t even know. There is anger at having to slow down for a handful of seconds because people on two wheels are on THEIR roads. There is no care for the environment and health of the nation which increased number of cyclists will improve. There is a pig headed refusal to understand why cyclists do certain things on the roads to keep themselves safe. And what of the willful ignorance of the evidence based studies which show the benefits of better cycling infrastructure? Well the right wing agendas of much of the media can answer for that.
Hopefully the feeling of superiority which Scotland has recently had over England “who always give us a Tory government” can end and we can emulate their movement, small as it may be at the moment, back towards politics and attitudes which positively effect everyone.