Thursday, April 26, 2012

'(Re)defining Liberal Values' - Stella Duffy, Novelist

I write this from Brixton, the morning after looters smashed in my local shop windows. The morning after ‘Gay’s the Word’ was the only shop in its street to suffer violence. The morning after a weekend of sadness for London. I see young (mostly) men attacking property in their own neighbourhoods. I see our politicians on holiday and not coming home to address the problems. I see that their neighbourhoods are well away from any signs of unrest.

I am a white, living-middle-class, raised-working-class, Labour-voting, feminist, lesbian, woman. And not one of these labels even begins to speak for me.

I want change and an equitable society, and I don’t want a violent revolution to get there. I see no evidence that any revolution anywhere has ever worked.

I believe in dialogue and discussion and hope, and I don’t care if that sounds airy-fairy or hippy, I care that we get on with talking to each other and making a difference. I do that by being out to a group of 100+ fourteen-year-olds in Enfield when I taught writing for my niece’s boyfriend’s school. I do that by working with a local community for a pre-Olympics arts project on the south London council estate where I was born. I do that by speaking out, sometimes to my own detriment, always as honestly as possible.

I don’t have an academic take on liberal values – I do have heartfelt commitment to positive change and hope. I believe they are the same thing.

Stella Duffy's blog

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