The invisible children, @headinbook

Cross-posted from: Head in Book
Originally published: 30.05.17

Luckily, I’m past the stage of needing to use the Parent & Child parking spaces at the supermarket. I still play the game of “spot the invisible child”, though: eyes peeled for that strange phenomenon afflicting people who nab a convenient place presumably on the basis of owning a parent, or having once been a child.

There are ripe pickings for “spot the invisible child” in politics, too. On a more serious level which I’m not qualified to discuss, there are severely disadvantaged youngsters, whether through poverty, neglect or unmet special needs, whose plight too often goes unmentioned. On a level that affects me personally, though, along with millions and millions of others, are the children in the current hot topic of “childcare”.

To listen to politicians and most media coverage, you’d be justified in thinking that it’s an issue which applies only to tots. There are endless reams of thinkpieces on the harm or otherwise of paid care for babies and toddlers; endless (and fiendishly complex) policy wrangles around entitlement to free childcare (or is it early years education?) for the 3s-and-unders.


Read more The invisible children, @headinbook

Austerity at Blues in a Tea Cup

Cross-posted from: Blues in a Tea Cup
Originally published: 12.10.15

I’m never going to forget the smell. This unspeakable blend of stale urine and rotting vegetables. It stings my throat. Clings to the air so thick you think you’ll never get away from it. The street’s uneven. Dirty. Dark as pitch. You can’t see where you’re putting your feet. The day’s debris is strewn everywhere, so you’ve no idea what that squishing on the sole of your shoe might be. The blackness deadens everything, except the smell. The chaos and colour of the market all swallowed up by the night. We speak in whispers, as if we might awaken something unholy. A scrabble and it breaks cover in front of us. Just a rat. The silence is broken though. From the shadows under the abandoned stalls, they emerge. A skinny boy. A girl, the baby on her hip almost as big as she is. Two younger boys. They crowd us. Seize the bread and the coffee, eating as if they’ve not seen food in weeks. They grow louder. The boys jostle and bluster. They flex their muscles and elbow one another aside. The girls hang back and watch the sideshow. A scrap of a girl’s tugging at my coat. She talks in a half-whisper. Rapid. Incoherent. As if our attention’s too brief for her need. She’s drunk. I hear babyDead. Anniversary. She can’t be old enough to have a baby, much less to lose one. Her first one died too, someone says as she melts back into the shadows. I feel sick.


Read more Austerity at Blues in a Tea Cup

Smoking your cigarettes, drinking your brandy. Messing up the bed that you chose together

Cross-posted from: Sian Steans: Thoughts on a page
Originally published: 04.10.15

I am a socialist feminist. In that order. This is because I am a working class woman. Also in that order.

I have been a socialist since I was old enough to understand that I was poor and not everybody else was.

I have been a woman since a dirty fucker flashed his flaccid penis and grey hairy sagging balls at me. When I was in my school uniform. So as a girl child I felt like being a girl is over now for me, best crack on and act like a grown up fairly sharpish.

I have been a feminist since I thought well this shit isn’t on. My brother and me cousins and me mates don’t have this shit on top of everything else we all have.

Working class women fight. We organise. We agitate. We do it for our communities, our families. We often do it seemingly for men. It is not new to us. We know why we fight. Putting the “feminism” on hold for the sake of class struggle is standard. We’ll get to that woman stuff after the revolution or what have you. You all know the type of comrade. Doesn’t mean the work being done isn’t for and about and often times led by women. We know.
Read more Smoking your cigarettes, drinking your brandy. Messing up the bed that you chose together

I don’t want this for my children by @mummytolittlee

Mum-blogging often has an air of ‘dinner party’ about it. “No politics, sex, or religion, thank you very much”. But those are 3 of my favourite subjects, damnit. So, at the risk of totally alienating myself, here’s my take on the general election, and why I’m now nervous to be raising my children in this country. Brace yourselves, it’s a bigun’…

As we inched closer to the result of the British general election the days took on a surreal, limbo-like quality. I was distracted, desperate for change, and I genuinely hoped we’d see a cultural shift within government to allow for fairer, more humane politics. As it stands more than 1 in 4 children live in poverty in the UK, and the latest figures from The Trussell Trust show a 163% increase in demand for foodbanks over recent years.  Our loudest political and media voices depict benefits fraud and immigration as the source of Britain’s financial and social problems, and actively dismiss the huge elephant in the room: tax evasion. We have the world’s most billionaires per capita, and our richest 1% has reached giddy new heights, having accumulated as much wealth as the poorest 55% of the population put together. These facts have undoubtedly contributed to Britain becoming the only country in the G7 group of leading economies with worse inequality than at the turn of the century.
Read more I don’t want this for my children by @mummytolittlee

‘Manifestly Inadequate’: austerity and cuts are punishing and devastating by @PhilippaWrites

‘Manifestly Inadequate’: austerity and cuts are punishing and devastating 

(originally published in the Feminist Times)

After being found ‘fit for work’, Miss DE committed suicide. Her benefits were cut, despite her long-term depression. Without consulting her doctors, ATOS decided she should lose her Incapacity Benefit and the drop in income made her fear she would lose her home.

On Hogmanay last year, she killed herself.

Normally it is unwise to speculate on the cause of somebody’s suicide but, in this case, the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland (MWC) carried out a detailed investigation and found that, despite years of stress-related depression, she had never before displayed suicidal behaviours. She was doing voluntary work, getting married, and undergoing treatment. The MWC concluded that: “There wasn’t anything else which we could identify that would lead us to believe that there was any other factor in her life that resulted in her decision to end her life.”

….

The rest of the post is available in the Feminist Times here

The Scandal of DWP Silence by @JayneLinney

(Cross-posted with permission from Jayne Linney)

We know from  the official DWP report that between January & November 2011 10,600 disabled people either in receipt of or awaiting benefits died.

Since then the DWP have, despite numerous requests refused to release further updates; we can only speculate their reason why, as we can only surmise just how many more disabled people have since lost their lives?

It is well documented how the ‘Scrounger‘ rhetoric have adversely affected disabled people  and those who are chronically ill, and even Esther McVey – Minister of State for DWP stated she “would not disagree” when it was put to her in October 2013 that “ hundreds or even thousands of people who had died sooner than they should have done, or had a much lower quality of life over their last few weeks or months because of their experience of the WCA.”.

From this we believe it is safe to presume there has been an increase in the number of annual deaths of disabled people in 2012 & 2013; given the loss of life in 2011 was 10,600, even a 2% increase per annum would result in  12,720 in 2012 and a startling 15,264 in 2013. That would give a overall figure of 38,564 deaths over the 3 years the Coalition has been in Government.

Is this shocking statistic what the DWP don’t want us to know?

 

Jayne Linney: I’m a disabled woman, a life long feminist and Social Activist- I write from a personal perspective, usually about the current Political climate and its affects on disabled people. On Twitter @JayneLinney

Director DEAEP – Social Enterprise ran by & for disabled people

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jayne.linney