Jan 6, 20201 comment

Imagine a world in which we do more than turn up once every four or five year and mark a cross on a piece of paper and then sit in the pub with our mates and whinge about politics.

Imagine a world in which the electorate feels informed, engaged and empowered.

Imagine a world in which we hold our MPs accountable for the actions they take and the decisions they make.

That’s the world I want to live in and the one I want to do something to contribute to.


Well that’s simple.

Because politics is important.


The school your children go to

The age at which those children can buy cigarettes, buy alcohol, have sex

The amount of tax you pay

When your rubbish is collected

How many hours you work

How much holiday you can take from work

What side of the road you drive on…and how fast


What do all of these things have in common? They are all dictated – or at the very least influenced – by political decisions at either a national or local level. Not to mention the million and one other aspects of your life and the life of the nation that are determined by politicians from Bank Holidays to whether or not we go to war.

Our lives are shaped, confined and to some extent defined by the politicians we elect. And yet, the vast majority of us have absolutely no interaction with politicians beyond the ballot box. We elect them – quite often without even having read their manifestos – and then largely ignore them and let them get on with it.

I don’t know if you employ staff in your business but if not, imagine that you do. Imagine that you’ve just recruited a new member of staff. Maybe you read their CV. Maybe you even interviewed them. Or maybe someone else did that and told you which person to recruit. Either way, you now have a new member of staff in your business; responsible for work that could ultimately affect how much money you make.

Would you give them the job for five years with no probationary period and no supervision of any kind?


Nor me. And yet that is exactly what we do when we elect politicians. Remember – they work for US. And often, even when their performance has been demonstrably bad, we keep renewing their contract every five years.



When I talk to people about politics I hear a whole range of objections to getting more engaged:

  • One person can’t make a difference
  • I don’t have time
  • It doesn’t really affect me
  • It’s all too complicated

Of course one person can make a difference. Greta Thunberg is doing it right now and she’s 16.

And ‘I don’t have time’ is really ‘It’s not a priority’ in disguise. But unless you are dead, politics affects you. Wouldn’t you prefer to feel empowered about it? Wouldn’t you rather have a voice?

The objection I have the most sympathy with is that it seems too complicated. I’ve studied politics for years and worked in it for most of my career and there are definitely times when I find the system a little…ummm…opaque? So I get it.

But you don’t need to understand every line of Erskine May (the handbook of parliamentary procedure and process) in order to get more empowered. You can start by holding your local MP to account a little more actively; learning a bit more about how policy is made and making sure that you have your say when policies that you are passionate about are being discussed. 

The philosopher and diplomat Joseph de Maistre once said that “In a democracy people get the leaders they deserve.”

Isn’t it time for us to deserve better leaders?

Let’s ACTUALLY get more engaged, more informed, more empowered.

Let’s ACTUALLY hold our MPs to account and have our say.

Let’s ACTUALLY make a difference now.

Then perhaps in five years’ time, when the next Election rolls around, we will have gone some way to creating that world I imagine. 

Let’s ACTUALLY make a difference!


Sara Price

Founder, Actually

January 2020


PS: If you want to know more about how to make a difference, how to engage in politics in a meaningful way, hold your MP to account and have your say I am developing a series of online workshops: Actually Make a Difference. The first is on January 18th and I’ll be focussing on demystifying politics and answering the most common questions people ask. For more information, contact us here. 

PPS: If there’s a specific question that you want to ask that would help you to understand our political system a little better, drop it in the comments below before 18 January and I’ll try and cover it in the first workshop.


1 Comment

  1. Sarah

    The only response I get from our MP (who was voted in again…) is “I don’t agree with you”. How do I get past that?


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week I wrote a newsletter that caused more people to unsubscribe from my list than almost anything I have ever written before. I'm not concerned - clearly they are not my people - but I thought I'd share it here so you can tell me: would this cause YOU to unsubscribe?


"Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, except backwards and in high heels."

I remember the first time I heard that quote.

I was in my teens. I laughed.

Then as I began to think seriously about my career, my Mum explained to me that to be a successful career woman meant working twice as hard as a man to be considered half as good (and paid half as much).

I was in my early twenties. I thought she was exaggerating.

After I burnt out for the second time, I went to a conference and listened to a passionate and eloquent woman - who has subsequently become a great friend - explain something that should have been utterly obvious to me: that our entire cultural paradigm is based on structures set up by men and for men.

I was in my forties. And I cried.

Because it is exhausting having to don your Superwoman cape every day to ‘compete’ in the workplace.

As a single woman, I didn’t have to juggle work with family.

As a white, middle-class, cis-gendered, heterosexual and mainly able-bodied woman, I wasn’t dealing with the raft of intersectional prejudices beyond your average, everyday sexism.

But I was still exhausted.

And it wasn’t just because the systems that we work within weren’t designed for women but for men who had stay-at-home wives doing all of the work in the home.

It’s because for me - as for so many women - every day was and is a balancing act.

Every day is a tightrope walk between safety and danger; between being listened to and dismissed; between familiarity and harassment; between authenticity and playing the game.

Every day is a fight to be seen, to be heard, to be respected, to be autonomous, to be considered, to be valued, to be safe.

Every day.

In the workplace, in our social spaces, in our homes, in our politics, in our media.


This week my friend and client Harriet Waley-Cohen shared a post about this on LinkedIn. I’m going to share a section of her post here because she has put this so much more eloquently than I could:

"Sometimes it amazes me that there isn't a massive uprising.

Women are fed up of being objectified and judged on our looks, and only respected by how fu*&able we are deemed to be.

We are exhausted by feeling unsafe everywhere we go and watching our backs.

We are exasperated with not being paid the same, of our careers, choices and finances being marginalised because of caring expectations.

We are in despair about our allegations against powerful men being ignored because these men are too valuable to be held to account.

We are done with being told our tone of voice is the bloody problem, that we are too emotional.

We have had enough of not being able to trust the police or the legal system, and of people saying 'innocent until proven guilty' when the stats for prosecutions are laughably low and we all know most rapists never face any real consequences.

We are fed up of being told that it's not all men, because we never said it was, and it hurts to see so few men actively working towards making things better."

There has been an outpouring of grief, support and righteous anger in the comments on Harriet’s post. Of course there has. Because this is nearly every woman’s lived experience. And it is not OK.

I have written about these issues before in this newsletter. In the wake of the Sarah Everard murder and after the US Supreme Court struck down Roe v Wade. And there’s a part of me that didn’t want to write about this again. A part of me was concerned that you - my wonderful community - would grow bored of me ‘ranting on’ about this issue. A part of me that feared being judged or dismissed.

And that’s exhausting too, right?

The constant self-censorship. The constant voice in my head telling me that I can’t say this, shouldn’t write about that, mustn’t be too emotional, too strident, too ‘shouty’.

Well, in the nicest possible sense: f*&k that.

I am in my fifties now and as tired as some people may be of hearing me talk about these things, trust me I am WAY more tired of still having to talk about them. But until there is equity, it is up to every one of us to keep ‘banging on’.

And we need to do more than rant, we need to ACT.

Because here’s the thing, whatever your gender, you can either be an ally or you can be complicit in the problem. Please choose to be an ally. Here are three things you can do:

  1. Support people like Harriet when they share publicly about these issues. This kind of content often attracts trolls and the ‘not all men’ brigade - and it can be overwhelming to have to do all the rebuttal yourself. Another friend and client - the fabulous Stephanie Aitken, also did a post this week on a related topic and spent many hours having to deal with trolls in the comments. Help them.


  1. Call out misogyny, sexism, harassment, prejudice and bigotry when you see it - and when you feel safe to do so. I’m not advocating that you intervene when doing so would put you in real physical danger. But if a colleague makes an off-colour remark; if a family member behaves in a way that is inappropriate; if a friend displays ignorance, aggression or bias: name it. Don’t just smile and secretly roll your eyes. Don’t dismiss it. Don’t be afraid to be ‘awkward’. Have the conversation.


  1. Engage the next generation. Several of the commenters on Harriet’s post talked about children watching violent porn. They shared stories of how boys’ attitudes to girls are in some cases worse now than they were when I was a teen. The murder of Elianne Andam this week makes it clear just how important it is to speak to our children about these issues. Talk to the young people in your life. Find out about their experiences. Give them a safe space to explore these issues. And educate them about respect and equity. If we are going to break this cycle, this is VITAL work. Don’t shy away from it.  

There is so much more that we could all be doing but this would be an amazing start!

OK. Rant over, for today.

I’m not promising I won’t come back to this again.

My most fervent wish is that there will come a day when it won’t be necessary.

I hope to see that day in my lifetime.

My biggest fear is that I will not.






I think that will do for now - I do hope it has been helpful!

Big love