THE ANSWER

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They say that bombing for peace is like fucking for virginity.

And they are right. It is about as useful as a pen without ink.

I am as scared as you and I am as helpless as you. I sit on the tube with my eyes flitting frantically from side to side, wondering if that man over there – rummaging around in the bottom of his rucksack – is going to be the death of me. I wonder on a daily basis if my friends are going to make it into work okay. I wonder whether those suits in the city will be safe behind their desks and I dread turning on the news each night to find yet another explosion, massacre or declaration of war.

However fearful or angry I feel however, I refuse to turn to violence in times such as these.

Over the course of my lifetime, I have bore witness to three, horrific acts of terror against the western world: 9/11, 7/7 and now 11/13. I should, as a result, wish to seek revenge with bombs and violence, but I don’t. Of course, I have felt fear – feel fear – on a daily basis; terrorism has become a part of my daily life since I was twelve years old. Of course I am angry, hardened and paranoid as a result of these sporadic attacks, but in order for them to lose, I must stay positive. This is something I find easy to do because the truth is: I am fed up. I am fed up of being scared. Fed up of seeing blood stained streets, guns, torture, murder and fear. I am sick of sitting here, watching history repeating itself, of hearing inhumane requests to ‘close the borders!’ and ‘batten down the hatches!’ I am sick of humans turning this beautiful world that we live in, into a playground for death and destruction, so I simply refuse to indulge in it.

Many of you will accuse me of turning a blind eye to the events of the last few years and lots of you will accuse me of being ignorant, just because I am still smiling. But I’m not ignorant, I am simply just exhausted from fear and the disappointment of using violence to defeat violence that I have no other choice but to keep loving, marching and fighting for peace because if I don’t, what else do I have? There is no front line. There are no soldiers. Just reckless human beings with a desire to kill innocent people. And there is absolutely nothing I can do about it, except for spread the need for love and project visions of a peaceful world as far and as wide as possible.

I have sourced great comfort from the displays of love and support that have saturated social media over the last few days because it is a sign that we, as a world, are united, resilient and strong. It reminds me that there is more good than evil in the world, no matter what the headlines say. So don’t criticise those who display their affections on social media. We all feel sad, fearful, and most importantly, a little helpless, so it is right to do whatever it is that makes us feel like we are making a difference, because by doing just that, we probably are. So if you wish to drape your Facebook profile picture in a faded Tricolore then, please, do just that. If you want to share Charlie Hebdo’s front page on your Instagram, go ahead. March. Write. Talk. Basically, do whatever you can to stand united, stay positive and promote visions of a peaceful world.

What I am trying to say is that instead of feeling hatred, anger or wishing for revenge, keep the messages of love and unity flowing because it just serves as a reminder that that our gang – of tolerance and peace – is thankfully a lot bigger than theirs, which is built on an unsteady foundation of misery, ignorance and hatred. And I’ve got so much time for that.

So, for the people of Paris and across the world who have lost loved ones, who are in pain or living in fear: I want you to know that London loves you and that we are here for you.

Keep smiling and stay strong. It really is the only answer.

I AM VOTING

“It’s a democracy people. Fucking engage. Politicians don’t represent you because they think you don’t care. Show them you do.” – Tim Minchin

I’m so sick of hearing young people belittling this election, posting misinformed Facebook statuses about not being bothered to vote and using their role as a ‘disillusioned youth” of today as their excuse not to. We’re lucky enough in this country to have a voice. In fact no, someone probably died so you could have your say. So grow a pair and say thank you to them by taking an interest.

Here are three humans – under the age of 30 – who do care.

So whether or not your mind has already been made up, click below to find out how they will be voting on Thursday.

You have less than 24hrs to make your own decision. Start thinking.

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THE VOTE

Hugh-Grant-BirthdayWe have two days until we waltz into our local polling stations and stick our marked cards into a ballot box, hoping, once again, for a better Britain.

But who will you be voting for?

This time four years ago, I put my fate into the hands of Nick Clegg, a “man” who promised me personally that he wouldn’t raise tuition fees. This was the only reason I voted for him because, as a student in 2010, that was what mattered most to me. As much as I wish to deny it, I was tricked. In broad daylight I’ll have you know. I will blame it on being a naive 22 year old, but really, he was just a liar. So here I am, in a blue country, governed by a ruthless, miserable government, feeling a little bit disillusioned by the system.

So what do I do now?

Well, to start with, this time I won’t be fooled.

I will admit that I was – albeit temporarily – tempted by Brand’s plight. What can I say? I’m a sucker for long hair and a pair of skinny jeans. But once I remembered I actually had a brain and enough of him babbling on about the revolution that wasn’t to be, I decided (once again) to give our potential leaders the benefit of the doubt and actually hear what they had to say for themselves.

Over the past few months, I have tuned into every live debate, read almost every newspaper I could get my hands on and scoured manifestos, grappling for an answer to the question of who to vote for on 7th May. And the thing that I’ve come to realise most about Miliband is his passion. I have hated that word “passion” ever since I was told at school never to use it in a cover letter or university application. But Ed? Not so much; he loves it. He has sat, stood and fought, for months on end, answering questions and dodging bullets fired from Paxman’s pistol. He hasn’t done it with ease either; his hands trembled and his voice shook. His words failed him at times with his intentions hidden behind an ill-timed stutter. But far from making him appear weak, this just showed me how much he wants it. He has sat on the edge of his seat with excitement, the way you probably do when something you’ve wanted for so long is within your grasp. Basically, he gives a shit.

He has never been arrogant. He has never been seamless. He finds it hard to sit still and I think I might be better at public speaking than him. But that’s what I like about him. We’re not like our pristine friends across the pond, here in Britain. Like Ed, we’re shabby, a little bit goofy, but fiercely loyal and super strong despite our small stature. And that’s why I think he is our perfect choice.

If you haven’t already guessed it, I’m voting Red, and not just because it’s my middle name.

I want to save our NHS: an institution that saved my brother’s life and looked after my grandparents in their dying days. I want to protect its vision to provide better mental health care to those in desperate need and to continue to never turn anyone away because of the few pennies left in their purse. I am voting Red because I want tuition fees to be lowered and apprenticeships to be seen as a worthy “other” option for those who work equally as hard. I want more housing for those who need it, want it and deserve it. And I want benefits to be available only to those who are willing to give something back – and two years is plenty of time to do just that. Equally, I want to provide refuge to those who are scared to go to sleep in their own homes and wish to protect their children from the devastating effects of war and poverty, to start a new life, just as many of our parents and grandparents did many moons ago.

So stop going on about how much he looks like a cartoon character made from plasticine and how weak you think he sounds, you’re acting like an idiot. Mo Farah doesn’t exactly look like The Hulk and Gandhi wasn’t ever going to be Britain’s Next Top Model and look what they’ve achieved.

Britain loves an underdog. And I think Ed could be our best yet.

Whoever you’re voting for, please make sure you do. Particularly if you have a vagina, because, women’s rights and that.

I’ll be posting other people’s preferences over the next couple of days, because it’s only fair. Stay tuned to hear further thoughts of some more twenty-somethings living in the capital…

See you at the Polling Station on Thursday, I’m excited!