Helen Dunmore, who sadly died this year, wrote an afterword for her last novel Birdcage Walk in which she talks about her interest in how very few people make any mark on history. History as future generations will know it is written by a privileged few who all have their own spin to put on events. The vast majority of us will have to be content with having been a part of the big picture, despite huge output on social and other media types. Hardly any people stand the test of time and are remembered. Even people who may have been mildly famous (or infamous) for a period often are forgotten by the next generation. Wouldn't it be interesting to see, in a century, if anyone knew what Instagram had been? Who Beyonce or Taylor Swift were? Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep? Which books had stood the test of time? And as for politicians, well, each UK Parliament has 650 Members. How many of those will leave a dent where they sat? Even in their constituency's history?
There was an article recently about the imminent return of Peaky Blinders - can't wait - and apparently a new major character will be a female trade unionist and political activist named Jessie Eden. She was a real person. Who achieved amazing things. But how many people will have ever heard of her before now? Well-known and influential at the time. But part of a much bigger picture of discontent and unrest in the Twenties and Thirties therefore consigned in accounts of that period to a footnote if she is lucky.
Banding together is more powerful in any situation. That is not to say that one person should not do or say what feels right to them. Look at Rose McGowan recently. Someone has to start each ball rolling. But if we are to make a real mark, leave a proper dent, it seems to me that the best way is to find like-minded people and work as one.