Political – not party political

We saw a post going around this week about a coffee shop displaying a board saying Tory voters are charged 10% more.  

Whilst it was mildly funny, and obviously meant to be a joke (how would they enforce it, what with the secret ballot and all?!), it was the opposite of our reaction and approach to the next five years.

True, Bik has opened his heart about his views of how we handle this election result and it’s pretty clear he isn’t happy about it, and honestly neither am I!

But let’s just get one thing clear.

Party politics can be very divisive – those in power would like nothing better than to split ordinary people like you and I into factions, pitted against each other instead of keeping a close eye on them.

We don’t want to play that game, frankly it’s up to you which party you support.  

I wrote a while back about how we are politically gentle – but not politically naive and at the moment we’re talking a lot about how we create the world we want in the context of the new government and the planned austerity, which we know will affect our community more than most.

There’s a danger, when you are committed to the values inclusivity and fairness to all, of coming over as wishy-washy about your beliefs.  In fact, I think it’s a reason right-wing politics is still so successful:  it’s easier to come across as strong and decisive, frankly – at least it seems to be – when you are coming from that angle.

I do think that we need a change to our political system, I do think the election results, reflecting only about a quarter of people’s votes, was hugely unfair and I do think the dice were loaded.  I do know that I’ll be called a moaning lefty for saying so, too!

But it’s not time for moaning, or getting into arguments with people.  I have work to do, and I’m saving my energy for that.

So, you’ll be seeing more positive social action coming out of this little place, as we will do all we can to create the world we want in our usual practical, positive, pro-active way.

Within our crew, directors and volunteers, there are a range of ideals and leanings, to be honest.  Not even Bik and I see eye to eye on everything (that would be weird) so we don’t expect to all agree, all the time – and whichever way you lean politically, you should never feel unwelcome here, because you really aren’t.

That’s not us sitting on the fence – that’s us sticking to our value of inclusivity, which means a lot to us.

That said, we’re not going to stop talking about the things that matter to us, even if they are controversial and annoy some people, or lose us a few customers.

A while back somebody complained about the political posts on our Facebook wall and said ‘stick to being a cafe’.

I think they may have missed the reason we are here at all!

See, we’re not really a cafe – at least, that’s not our main purpose. The cafe, whilst it’s a huge part of what we do and something we’re super passionate about doing well, is the way the space is funded, a way for us to stay independent and do things according to our own principles.

This is what we are:

A space for grassroots art and artists, a champion for the environment and part of a global movement to build a positive community for the future – which includes speaking up about social justice, taking take of those who are vulnerable and all the things that go with that.

It’s a big mission for a little place, but we’re up for it and we know many of you are, too.

So I hope you can love us as we are, a mostly-left-leaning mish-mash of kind people trying to make a difference, using cake and art as our tools for doing so.

We certainly love you as you are, dear friend, and appreciate your support so much!

About arthousesouthampton

The Art House is a not-for-profit café, gallery and arts venue in the centre of Southampton. We are a place you can meet new people, meet up with friends or just come in by yourself. Our licensed café offers delicious organic lunches, Fairtrade tea and homemade cake. We also have a busy programme of events, workshops, and art exhibitions, a clothing and crafts boutique and lots more. Most of our crew are volunteers and you might even want to apply to join them. Come along and enjoy our unique, community run space.
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