This graffiti appeared a week or so ago down by Markeaton Brook. And I respect its message (though not the way it has been delivered).
Anger can be good. It can motivate.
The first time that I recognised this strongly in myself was a month or so after our second child had been born. The day after he’d been born, on my first visit into Littleover after his birth, I had discovered a poster warning that the local library was about to close.
How could they do this?! Even now I’d be dismayed and perplexed, but this was 1990 – before the internet and before Kindles. Didn’t ‘they’ realise that people like libraries; that people needed libraries?
How would my toddler, a newly signed up member of the library, my new baby and I get to the next nearest library, a good walk away?
Working with another young mum, we organised a petition and took it to Matlock, from where the County Council then provided our library service. I listened to councillors explaining that they had no choice – it was the other lot’s fault they had to make cuts. Hardly anyone mentioned the library users, and I left angry and disappointed.
Previous levels of anger about politics had seen me at Greenham Common or joining a peace vigil, but this time there was no group to join, I had to lead.
So I started campaigning as a Liberal Democrat; I’d joined the party just a few months earlier.
Once talking to people on the doorstep and in the street, I found there were many other local subjects which made people angry needed someone to provide leadership. From the speed of traffic on local roads to the lack of facilities in local schools; action was needed.
I continue to feel that anger at all sorts of injustice, short-sightedness and waste. I have learnt that the best thing to do is to channel that energy into action. It may now be writing an email, speaking out at a meeting, organising others to work with me, or empowering them to campaign on their own behalf.
I’m convinced that we won’t make Derby or the world fairer, and safeguard it for future generations, by sitting quietly on the sideline. Action is needed.
Anger can therefore be good – if channelled the right way. Keep angry!