June 20, 2016

I have copied and pasted this from Facebook, it’s a reply to a remain post. I haven’t changed it at all. The person that posted this is just ordinary and not alone in his views and that is what is so scary….

“Like I’ve said a million times 10 billion Muslims love and cherish Muhhamed who’s wide was 8 years old.. he had sex with her at 7… and that was just one of his wives before he turned into a fucking murderer… no wonder the faith of Islam is fucked.. it’s like 200 years from now.. 10 billion people cherishing Jimmy Saville   .. Muslims are fucked.. Turkey has the worst human rights records to date..save the other Muslim countries like Dubai.. sorry but OUT VOTE OUT VOTE OUT..Then wait till our streets are way with these scum.. and butcher the lot..”

Farage and his cohorts in the brexit campaign should not be allowed to pretend that they don’t know that their campaign is racist and is being exploited by racists.


The Truth

October 27, 2020

It was just a cheap Matchbox toy, a dark red pick up truck. It’s paint was scuffed because it was a well loved toy. It was the only ‘boys toy’ that she was allowed to play with, the rest belonged to her brother. She knew deep down that he only let her have it because he didn’t really like it anymore, he had picked his worst toy offering it up as though it was a chest full of silver. He wanted to play with his new shiny sports cars, but it didn’t matter she loved it wobbly wheels and all.

Her brother had loads of cars, lorries and trucks and he had a big wooden box that Dad had made. There was a badly painted rabbit on it and it was full of his much treasured Lego. She had dolls of varying sizes and a massive dolls house that her Dad had made her. She loved them all, but sometimes she just wanted to build rocket ships and have car chases with her brother. They were still young enough to have a shared bedroom with wooden bunk beds and most of the time they were best of friends.

Dad could be so much fun, he enjoyed inventing games like treasure hunting where he laid trails and clues, and he introduced new hobbies to them all, but he had a temper and his mood could change quicker than a sneeze, and just like most sneezes you wouldn’t see it coming in time to avoid it. Year by year her brother came to emulate his father in more and more ways. ‘coughs and sneezes spread diseases’ is the saying and a change in his mood could elicit a hidden shove or a sneaky punch or a foot ‘accidentilly’ put out to causing a trip, the louder she cried the wider his grin. But he was still her best friend, when your’e 7 and 8 that’s just how the world works.

She however grew quieter and more watchful. She Learned how to appease, how to charm and outwit, how to run the gauntlet of the men in her life. Unlike her brother she chose the path of caution and least resistance. She knew that her brother had started to think that she was the favourite because somehow she avoided the smackings and the shouting that he got, he couldn’t see that they had hurt her in a different way, leading her to behave in ways that avoided being inconvenient to her dad, to shrink so small as to not be any bother at all. When however it was realised that the smacking and shouting wasn’t working on her brother, and that her brother was stubborn, and remained inconvenient and badly behaved a new strategy was formulated. Dad was determined to control him and that’s when the toy homicides began. The Lego being expensive wasn’t targeted, the Matchbox cars and lorries and trucks, especially his favourites were another matter.

Dad had a brick shed in the back garden and in it was all his wood working tools including the big vice that he crushed my brothers toys with. She never saw it happen but she heard it, she would sit on the sill of their bedroom window staring down at the shut door of the shed listening to the screaming and crying of her brother who was lost in rage and grief as he lost yet another car or truck or lorry. Nine times out of ten he was being punished for hurting her, she cried harder at his punishment than at his bullying of her, she hated the thought of him being hurt. He started to get away with more because of her reluctance to get him into trouble, Dad was a far scarier prospect than him. She started to become very small almost invisible, everyone said what a well behaved child she was, if they noticed her that is.

The bedroom that they shared was large and square, big enough for a small wooden desk each. they were like old fashioned school desks but they had blue metal legs and matching folding chairs, the chairs had soft red rippled plastic covered seats. They were things that she used a lot. One afternoon she discovered her chair covered in a fine silvery powder and her Etch a Sketch broken on her desk. Before she could really take in what she was seeing her brother and Dad were in the bedroom and her brother was accusing her of deliberately breaking his Etch a Sketch and ruining his chair. Her dad began to shout at her, but in a quiet moment given to her to explain her actions, the now quiet and watchful girl told the truth; ‘look at my hands and look at his’ she then timidly held out her non-silvery hands and her brother hid his hands behind his back. Then she pointed out that it was her chair that had been ruined and not her brothers. (he had forgotten about the tear in his chair) When he finally got lead down the stairs towards the shed he was holding the little red truck in his dirty hand, he had picked it as his favourite and was taking it to its doom. Apart from the triumphant look he managed to shoot towards his sister as he left the room he acted his part well and she remained silent.

Moments later when she heard her brothers rage and sorrow echoing from the shed down below she cried painful tears, tears for herself, for him, tears full of hurt, not for the broken Etch a Sketch or the ruined chair (the silver powder never came off and the chair was eventually thrown away), maybe not even for the red truck, they were tears of grief as she knew that she had lost her best friend and it wasn’t fair. She knew that nothing would ever be the same, as she listened to her brothers anger at his failure to land her in trouble she also felt fear. She knew that she had committed an unforgivable crime and that she would have to pay. This toy massacre didn’t bring obedience (not from her brother anyway) it just brought harder punches for her; who he saw as dad’s favourite. Not long after this incident she was moved into the small bedroom to sleep and play alone. As their friendship ended so eventually did their childhood.

She hadn’t spoken to him for over 30 years, as far as she was aware he had led a bitter and lonely life whereas she had filled hers with love and light, but right now she was feeling rather uncomfortable, all those memories flooding her brain and derailing her train of thought. People were expecting words, appropriate words. How to honour the man who died alone in a house full of toys and no family, several people had already expressed their surprise that she was his sister and so close in age! So she simply thanked everyone for coming and repeated several times that he had been her childhood best friend but of course she was a girl and he was a boy so that could never have lasted, then the world and life drew them apart.

Most people there seemed to be work colleagues, neighbours and toy collectors, no one close to her brother. She felt a little guilty for not feeling sadder but she had mourned his loss years ago, so she smiled whilst quietly listening to their stories about him. She nodded and told half truths when needed, wondering if they too were telling her palatable stories about him. She really wanted to ask are you telling the truth but then that could lead them to asking the same of her and that she wasn’t prepared to do. Would any of them care or be surprised that he had bullied her? To be interested in her truth? To be honest she wasn’t really interested in their stories she just wanted this task and this day to end and eventually it did.

She sold everything he had, apart from a little red truck she had found amongst his belongings. All his immaculately boxed untouched, uncrushed cars and lorries and trucks went to auction, once the estate was settled she donated it all to a children’s charity. The truck wasn’t her little red truck but it was similar.

The day she picked up her brother’s ashes all she could think was how odd the plastic urn was with its peculiar shape and dark maroon colour, it reminded her of something but she couldn’t think of what. The urn sat on her mantle-piece for three days. Three days to think about him, her best friend, her bully and the truth of what he meant to her. The truth of her childhood, so different to the one she gave her children, so different to the one she had ever admitted to having.

On that third day she stamped on that little red truck many times until it was scuffed enough to resemble her old one and then she quietly popped it into her brothers urn, that she now realised reminded her of the tubs of quality street they used to have at Christmas. On the morning of the fourth day, at 5am, a time so early she was certain that no one would be around and that she would be invisible, she placed the urn into a carrier bag, tied the handles into several tight knots then threw the bag into her bin which she then dragged out as quietly as possible to the pavement ready for collection. Then she went back to bed.



February 7, 2017

So I’ve been diagnosed with M.E.

Now M.E. Has loads of symptoms apart from tiredness which everyone knows about. One of the ones I suffer from is anxiety, but I have a very simple antidote to that, let me explain, for example I’d just settled into bed yesterday and I started to worry that I’d not turned the hob off, I knew deep down I was worrying about nothing so but was I? I turned over in bed and instantly forgot about the hob. Because forgetfulness is another symptom, I personally see that as a bonus because anxiety is far worse forgetfulness. 

I tried explaining this to the fire chief last night and he didn’t quite see it my way.

Forgetfulness really is a thing that I struggle with, I thought of that joke whilst I was walking to the library where I volunteer at and I had to keep repeating it to myself all the way there and until I could write it down. I don’t even know if it’s funny anymore.


Not the Decent Hard Working Guy

November 15, 2016

Sitting in the pub smiling,talking, living.

Aware of the next table, of being glared at,

by those that say they know you, never having met; 

but you know someone told them this and crap.

 What are they saying; they cant say that!

Don’t you go and correct them, sit down,

don’t go giving them my pain; laying it bare like a carcass bleeding, 

let them think what they think,

 let them imagine my stink, my crime,

 my dishonour, my mystique. 

For I’m just The Cunt with a cunt

 with poor excuses,

 not the decent hard working guy.

Expose the truth, leave it out in the air, 


baked bare in the bright moonlight,forever seen unseen; they will still call it lie.

Why? Because I’m just a Cunt with a cunt, not a hard working guy 

that’s why.
Today I bent and kissed my Granddaughter

 goodbye at the gates of learning

 and I whispered, be a good girl; as the sound was leaving my lips

 I wanted to grab them and shove them back down my throat, swallowing hard so that I’ll never say them again.
Digesting all the injustice,

 the pain the anger, 

the shock the disapointment 

the shame, the disgust the hate,

 the distrust the paranoia the fear, the anger, the lies, the saddness 

the anger the fear the confusion. The confusion.
Better to be a Cunt with a cunt 

than the eternal Good Girl, bending so hard 

that the spine permenantly cracks

 and the pages, sliding fall out; 

he wanted me to burn my pages.

 Burn all those Daddys little girl t-shirts; 

burn tradition, 

destroy the Big day, say no to that guy.
Smile and be polite, its in their eyes even if they dont say it. Don’t explain; your truth isn’t meant for their gossip,

even though they desire it. 

be the Cunt with a cunt, they wont like it;

they dont understand it.

They want it; 

ownership of your story, to tell it their way, 

the guy’s way.
Superglue your tearducts and vasaline that smile.

Fix the spine.

Rearrange the pages, set the title, tell the story,

living, talking,being the Cunt with a cunt

with the angry eye, with the knowing look


Smiling the Good Girl smile, they don’t believe it;

 the good girl smile, but then you don’t either.

 Your the Cunt with a cunt not the decent hardworking guy.


Sir Terry Pratchett

March 12, 2015

Some Lights Shine So Bright That When Put Out There Is No Darkness. There is gloom though and sadness especially for his family and friends to whom I can only send my sympathies. Terry Pratchett’s presence has transcended his books, as did his humanity, his morals and his sense of justice. The world is a poorer place without him, but thanks to his books we will never be without him. I have his books that I have lent to my children and will eventually read to my Granddaughter and the ripples will go on.

My first Disc World novel was Weird Sisters it got me hooked, but it wasn’t until I read Captain Vimes angry thoughts, as he patrolled the streets of the Disc World in his cardboard lined boots; of how the poor ended up paying more because of their never-ending need to replace their ‘cheap’ boots than the rich, who could afford one expensive pair that would last a lifetime, how angry Vimes was at the injustice of it all. For the first time ever I think in my reading experience, was possibly a writer who had walked in my cardboard lined boots, well maybe not mine as I’m only a size seven, but you know what I mean; if he hadn’t walked in them he at least understood.

I made it my mission to read all his books and I was never disappointed in the invention, the history, the philosophy, the humour and the heart held within the text. I have admired other authors obviously but the thing that endeared him to me was his passion to do good. Also the fact that he was prepared to reveal his own humanity and frailty in his last few years. It feels strange to be grieving for a man who I never met, maybe it’s because I’ve imagined myself in many roles on the Disc World and it felt like he knew me.


I Hate Myself Every Time I Tell Her To Be Careful (Why Do We Tell Our Daughters Not To Get Raped?)

January 13, 2015

The world of media, Facebook as well as Twitter has been full of conversations about rape and sexual assault over the last few weeks. There are conversations about Ched Evans and what are called ‘political sex scandals’ (rape of children) and most recently there has been a groping incident on celebrity big brother. These conversations have become intertwined with people discussing degrees of rape, because some rapes are seen as worse than others. One journalist tells the story of how her friend was attacked and raped in a dark alley by a stranger and how this is far worse than the victim of Ched Evans whose victim can’t remember the rape as she was so drunk, so that’s not real rape, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11226209/Ched-Evans-Sorry-but-all-rapes-are-not-the-same.html .Perhaps if all rapists simply knock out their victims to impair their memories there wouldn’t be so young men whose lives are ruined when they are caught and prosecuted? Maybe all rapists should carry a bottle of spirits with them to make sure their victim is discredited because as we all know rape is an acceptable punishment for being drunk if you’re female.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/former-judge-says-rape-conviction-rates-will-not-improve-until-women-stop-getting-so-drunk-9691911.html Yes because all rape victims were drunk.

Let’s be clear, rape is rape, it is a deliberate physical act, whether it is a predator in an alley or a pub or a club or a kebab shop or in the home of the rape victim, at some point the rapist makes a decision to rape, the intended victim has no control over that and to keep insisting that women are responsible for the decisions of their abusers has to be one of the most bizarre and unfair fallacies known to womankind. Even if the victim is stone cold sober her testimony will be suspect.

One post on Facebook sympathetic to Chloe who was groped on this years CBB was soon full of victim blaming replies. “Chloe poses for page three she should know the effect she has on men”. “She was naked under her robe what did she expect?” These were women attacking and victim blaming and eventually sadly the post was removed as the negative comments and arguments grew and grew. Firstly we are all naked under our clothes, if one layer isn’t enough is two or is three enough to prevent groping? I wonder if all women who have worn swimming costumes and bikinis deserve to be groped as well? The irony is many of these people showing sexist attitudes would be the first to criticise anyone wearing the veil or the burqa. Can you blame any women from hiding from men?

Being raped by a stranger is uncommon, people are generally raped by people they know and trust, we will never know exactly how many rapes go unreported but as the conviction rates are so low it’s hardly surprising women don’t report, especially if the rapist is known to you and possibly your friends and family, would you risk reporting it? Can you imagine your friends and family accusing you of being a liar? Meanwhile it is deemed normal for women to walk around in a constant state of high alert making sure they’re not accidentally alluring to any strange men unable to control their basic animal instincts to rape, which is all men if you read any Facebook or Twitter comments. Of course if you know the rapist you must have been asking for it, because were you drunk? What were you wearing, were you alone with him, have you ever had sex before because once you’ve given consent to one man it applies to them all didn’t you know that? Of course don’t think being a virgin means you don’t deserve to be raped if you look, older, sexy and have ever flirted with anybody ever. It’s even your fault if you’re naive, because even though we value innocence you should always be aware of the effect you’re having on those poor men.

If I was a man I would be getting really pissed off being referred to as some sort of animal that cannot control themselves. Men do have brains, men do know right from wrong, men do know about consent, men do know if they get a woman drunk they can get away with rape, men do know rape is about power and not sex, men do know about the violence done to women, men know what men do. Men know they will be believed over a woman, men know all the above, silent men are complicit men. Men need to listen to women and to talk to men. But then again given the attitude of the chairman of Oldham football club  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2905199/Oldham-Athletic-director-Barry-Owen-never-regret-trying-sign-Ched-Evans.html  better not hold your breath. Sadly there are other examples such as this Oldham one, this isn’t a lone male voice.

But if we’re honest we’ve all known, or heard of a man known for getting women drunk in the aim of having sex with them,lots of us have probably had someone topping up our drinks whilst the predator has been on orange juice. I even had someone put vodka in my orange juice thinking I wouldn’t notice ( I was 14 at a village disco & I spat it out, I got called a prude), because once you get a girl drunk… I’d imagine a lot of men are very uncomfortable with the Ched Evans conversation, because they used to think it’s not rape if she can’t pick you out of a line up because she was unconscious.

To anyone who has suffered rape or abuse or any type of sexual assault, it wasn’t your fault, you are neither a mind reader or responsible for other people’s decisions or actions. Whether a page three model, a nun, a stripper, a prostitute, naive, drunk, drugged, half-naked, alone, dressed in hijab, dressing gown or asleep you deserve to be treated with respect.


Why Controlling violence shouldn’t be called Domestic Violence. Violence is violence.

December 15, 2014

Put the word ‘Domestic’ into the Google search bar


and these are the first entries relating to the word ‘domestic’

1 – relating to the running of a home or to family relations

2 – existing or occurring inside a particular country; not foreign or international.

3 – a person who is paid to help with cleaning and other menial tasks in a person’s home.

4 – BRITISH informal
a violent quarrel between family members, especially a couple.
“they are often called to sort out a domestic”.
Domestic isn’t a violent word it’s a word that indicates something that generally happens within a confined space usually the home, something that is private just between families, something that doesn’t concern others. And that right there is why I think ‘domestic violence’ is such an inappropriate term, because somehow all these so-called domestic violence incidents happen in isolation to all other incidents. Everyday you read somebody’s shocked statement that they didn’t see it coming and the people next door seemed so ordinary and he seemed so nice.  How many isolated incidents does it take before the admission is made that ‘domestic violence’ every time it happens is connected to all other incidents of ‘violence including so-called domestic violence’, Because it is common garden,cruel, selfish, graphic, painful,soul-destroying ‘violence’. Generally violence is about control and we live in a society where having and gaining control is seen as a positive thing especially if you are a male. The word ‘domestic’ is used to dilute the word violence with ideas of family and love, it’s also used to conjure the idea of privacy and isolation, the same isolation that is used against many many victims. There is violence against strangers, friends, acquaintances and there is partner violence and this violence is everywhere and more often than not it’s male on male violence, partner or not. Maleon female(partner) just being referred to ‘domestic violence’ serves no-one, it just allows heads to turn away as doors and curtains shut.  Time to educate our sons and daughters that relationships shouldn’t be about control but  partnerships of equals and that violence isn’t an acceptable way of solving problems or of punishment. I suspect we have a long way to go still.

what Came First Unequal Power Structures or Genitals?

June 8, 2014

I’m not going to post the link to the blog I’m responding too and I’m not going to pretend to remember having any thoughts about genitalia as a child, my brother had a penis and I must have seen it because we bathed together as small children I’ve seen the standard family photos and that’s about it. It wasn’t until sex education at school that I realised that peeing wasn’t the only reason I was made the way I was, I may have noticed my vagina before then but I’m not certain about that.

It was the emergence of breasts that brought about awareness of female bodies as something that was the ‘other,’. I was the 3rd girl in my year to get them unfortunately the first girl was rather large for a nine year old and she was immediately labelled a slag and the older boys wouldn’t leave her alone, girls and boys were cruel to her just because of a body part that she possessed that they didn’t.I remember being relieved that it wasn’t me, I also remember how confused she was and how upset at times and realising it could be me. Consequently hiding my breasts became part of my life, in PE and in swimming, I hated them and I started to hate being female as I had to hide more bits of me. Then of course as we got older the tide turned and the girls with no breasts and the girls that were large were mocked, picked on and generally treated in ways that expressed only their (sexualised) breasts mattered. I know I’m not alone in feeling like that as a child, teenager and young adult. I wish I could say it was different as a fully matured adult but I can’t ignore my genitals or others because nobody ignores mine (please stop talking to my breasts). Should it be different yes of course it should be, but the truth of the matter is we do make judgements based on genitals.

You might think my last statement is outrageous or simply disagree and that’s fine but my own experience of life shows me that it is true. I am a lone worker, I am a school caretaker and at least once a week I am explaining to a workman “yes I am the Caretaker and I’m a woman (woman can lock up a school shocker)” sometimes I am avoiding them coming on to me,(I’m working leave me alone ffs!) Btw having a man coming on to you when you are alone in a building you can’t leave changes the power dynamics considerably, almost in the way puberty does.  I have in the past hidden in the school, sometimes I’m nervous because their attitude has triggered alarm bells; I am always very aware that I’m alone and I’m vulnerable, they don’t ignore my genitals and I can’t ignore theirs. No this has never happened to me when I’ve been alone with a woman incase you’re wondering.

But then it’s not really about genitals it’s about power and you are assigned power or not according to your genitals,we know that historically men decided this assignment of power because let’s be honest female genitalia is much more powerful,multi functional and beautiful than men’s genitals, the penis afterall is tucked away hidden most of the time and it’s fragile as are the testicles (ask any man), no contest really, maybe that’s why the war on women was started in the first place ‘womb envy’ anyone?

The fact is women and men are socialised differently purely because of their biology and unfortunately women are taught they are weaker, lesser and the other, not the standard unit just a companion piece; this is what is wrong, being different isn’t what is wrong. Feminism for me is about being different but equal, it’s about recognising that the world is set up to suit men and their biology and not mine, this is what needs to change, if we pretend to not see genitalia nothing will ever change it will remain geared up to serve the standard unit, because equal doesn’t mean the same.


Where Are the Women In Your Life

February 10, 2014

There has been a lot of discussion about all male panels on TV programmes of late and Katy Brand said on Twitter how the vision of a 50/50 split was a far away dream and I remember thinking that if it was representative it should probably be 52/48 split in favour of women. In an earlier twitter conversation on a similar topic about who represent us I tweeted  ” I don’t live in a world with only middle-class/rich white men in it”. Well I’ve been thinking about that statement for the last few days and it’s bugging me, because sometimes it feels like the world is over-flowing with them. Yes middle-class/rich white men aren’t don’t make up the majority of the world population, they don’t even make up the majority of Britain’s population but the power they have wielded of my life have been overwhelming. The majority of my teachers, my childhood doctor, my local MP; The sixth form head who told me that “he didn’t want a girl like me in his sixth form” , my crime was that I’d failed my O’level maths (they probably designed the course and wrote the exam paper). The owner of a local cafe where I worked when I was 17 who tried to kiss me in the stock cupboard then fired me when I told the other waitresses. The surgeon who called a meeting to keep me as his department receptionist (I was working there under the youth training scheme) but was defeated by the board members as they couldn’t afford me; they never employed any of their subsequent youth trainees either. The man in the council who said I seemed like a nice girl & my next offer of housing wouldn’t be in a troubled area where they preferred to put the problem families as he could see I wasn’t going to be a problem. The careers advisor who said I was a sturdy girl and I would be fine. The Maths teacher who hated me. The Head of my Primary school who didn’t like me. I could go on but it would get very boring. When you list it like that together it seems very different to the life lived and experienced maybe you (and I) can’t fully appreciate the huge impact these men had on my life, maybe you’re doing what I am doing and thinking ‘hang on’ how is this fair where are the women in my story and would it have been so very different?

The women in my story are my Mother, my friends, my daughter, Grand-daughter, daughter-in-laws. They are the women I work along side with in the various charities that I have worked at, the nurses, PSCO’s,  the women on Twitter and they have always been the people who have inspired me; the thing that the majority of these women have had that I have found lacking in the men that have wielded their control over MY life is passion for something other than themselves. I often wonder if being denied access to the positions and places of power, this constant keeping down of women just meant that they were pushed sideways? Historically women may have put all their passion into their families but it wasn’t enough, it’s never been enough. We’re intelligent and capable but a woman like me for example could never be a local MP let alone Prime Minister because women are STILL held back by the idea of the IDEAL woman and no woman can be this ideal created by the media and be a woman of noticeable power. What about Margaret Thatcher I hear some of you ask,well I say she wasn’t a feminist, did she have passion for something other than herself? I can’t answer that it wasn’t immediately obvious to me, all I heard was criticism and disapproval and blaming and finger-pointing, no encouragement or understanding, or solutions that didn’t have casualties and losers, like families and communities. This is unlike the ‘ordinary’ women in my life and that I observe, who think to themselves how can I make this better and act in non-destructive ways.

I went for an interview aged 40 something for an Access course in humanities and yes there sat the middle-aged white man, yet a man very much out-of-place a brilliant, passionate capable man who dedicated his life to helping mature students mainly women to reach their potential I’m sure there are others out there who make the conscious  decision that power isn’t their thing, not how power is generally perceived anyway, but how many women have that real choice, maybe it’s not actively removed (though I’m not convinced it isn’t). This choice that women may think they have is a guided choice; women are seemingly channelled by their own decisions, for example you choose to have a child therefore only doors D & E are open to you career wise forget A,B & C unless you are prepared to sacrifice X and if you complain that this isn’t fair well you chose to have a child. For example trying to negotiate maternity leave is unpleasant and unsatisfactory for many women especially the lower the pay scale you are on, employers aren’t always accommodating, they don’t have to be really if they can get away with it and after all they have the power. Equality hasn’t arrived in Britain well maybe it’s arrived but it hasn’t got through customs yet and we need to stop pretending that it has. Too many middle-aged middle-class/rich white men make too many decisions about my life, my daughter’s life, my grand-daughter’s life, your lives; whether male or female; so few people with so much power, are they wielding it for your benefit or for theirs, is their passion for helping you? Where are the women in your life?


Where Is Benefits Street

January 22, 2014

Somebody posed a question on Twitter a few months ago and that was ‘If you were a young Mum did you ever stop being a young Mum?’ For me that’s an easy question to answer and that’s no, I am still a single Mum in my mind, even though my children are grown up. I suppose it’s like class and status do you ever move up the ladder or do you just appear too? For example I’ve seen several people on Twitter who to me seem like middle class state that they are working class. Are some things intrinsically part of you know matter how far you distance yourself from them physically?

My friends and I lived on our council estate bringing our children up together and over the years our lives have separated I no-longer live on the estate though my financial situation is worse than some that remained and better than others, you don’t have to be out of work or live on a council estate to be on benefits or poor, you just escape some of the stigma if you’re lucky, hiding in your privately rented house amongst the owner occupiers you could nearly become one of them. I wonder what’s more important you knowing or others? Mind you everyone in that row of seemingly owner occupier houses could be claiming benefits believing they’re better than those on actual Benefits Street, or they could praying that the neighbours don’t find out because well just because.

Now myself and friends have adult children and are now becoming Grandparents and I just witnessed a Facebook attack on one of these children because of the money they are spending on their child. She is a full-time mum living with her working boyfriend who owns his own house but she is still seen as one of those kids off the estate with the single Mother. Apparently she still lives there. Benefits Street isn’t just a place, isn’t just the place the unwanted are sent to, isn’t the purgatory that some want it to be. I think people like to think that generations upon generations of work-shy people live on Benefits Streets because that way they can pretend that they wont end up there themselves, because they’re better than that, deserve better than that. The reality they see is that it’s hard to move from Benefits Street literally and figuratively and the reality they avoid is that is that anyone can end up there through no fault of their own like illness, redundancy and through other events out of their control, as well as consequences of mistakes that we all make throughout our lives.

I’ve decided to try (and it’s surprisingly hard) and not to judge my successes by others successes, or failures for that matter, seeing others fail does not make me a success and vice versa. Having a job, claiming no benefits or owning your own home doesn’t mean you’re more deserving or necessarily harder working, it doesn’t make you a superior being, it’s a difference just as being healthy and unhealthy is. One day those hating on those ‘Others’ on Benefits Street will be collecting their pensions, their pensions that they’ve worked hard for and deserve but is still a benefit when all is said and done if you want to argue that point; but this benefit is paid from a pot that we ALL pay into through VAT, income tax, fuel duty, duty on alcohol and cigarettes, council tax, income tax and so on and we all take out of the system from birth to death, what is fair about this system is each according to their need , it’s not about amount it’s about support, you get the minimum amount you need to live on and no more.

Where is Benefits Street? It’s everywhere, as wages freeze and rents rise the minimum amount needed to live on becomes harder to get hold of and the need for support is going to grow. It’s an employers market they have control as do the landlords and anyone with money, it talks you know money and it says if you don’t have me no-one has to listen to you and they wont and those with money will try to persuade you that you deserve this and the really sad thing is you might believe them.

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Caroline Criado-Perez

A Pox on the Patriarchy


Lady things, explained.