Johnson’s call to “go shopping” is patronising and pointless. We are so much more than Consumers.

Be quiet, little people, leave the big stuff to us.

Just go shopping.

  1. Spend, but spend smart. Right now, every pound we spend has far more significance than ever before. Every choice is an investment in our collective future, a statement as to what you want to thrive and what not. So yes, let’s shop, but let’s shop local, for the sake of the local businesses whose years of hard work could be for nothing (this will be safer, too, with shorter supply chains and greater care for staff). And let’s not just shop. Let’s use crowdfunding channels like Spacehive and kickstarter to contribute to the places we live and the things we believe in. Let’s support BAME-owned businesses and donate to anti-racist charities. Let’s donate to others charities too, because it’s morally right but also because it’s economically smart: when people get the support they need, they’re more likely to be able to contribute themselves. Let’s not just buy what we want now for ourselves, let’s fund what we want for our future together.
  2. Share. There’s so much that we all have that can be helpful in this time. With better government, our will to share resources and skills could achieve huge things: what if, for example, shuttered offices and furloughed staff could be redirected towards our education crisis? We can start more simply. Sharing food via apps like Olio, for example, is a great way to build on the communities created in lockdown. Our experiences are worth sharing too: understanding how we’ve changed in this time will be crucial to developing our national response over the coming years, and is something we can all contribute to. Signing up for research projects like Exeter University’s exploration of social interactions or the Young Foundation’s Covid & Me Diaries, or completing surveys like Renew Normal are all very real contributions. Let’s ask ourselves what we have, beyond money, in possessions or experience, that others could benefit from.
  3. Get political. The greatest risk of this moment is that everything just seems so awful that we want to tune out. That is exactly what Johnson wants usto do, and that’s why the biggest thing any of us can do is to get political. It might mean signing your first petition, or maybe contributing to the crowdfunder to get the investigation into Dominic Cummings reopened. It might mean joining a political party. It might mean running for office in the local elections in May 2021, the first electoral opportunity we will have to call for another way of doing things in this country. Our political system is far from perfect, but we have to start from where we are, and the more of us that get involved, the better the future we will build.

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Co-Founder, New Citizenship Project and Author, CITIZENS: Why the Key to Fixing Everything is All of Us

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Jon Alexander

Jon Alexander

Co-Founder, New Citizenship Project and Author, CITIZENS: Why the Key to Fixing Everything is All of Us

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