Politics: Why I feel that those at the top don’t care.

Warning – this is a long post.  

 

It contains my opinions about BRITISH POLITICS. 

NOT American Politics / the American Election. So if you aren’t in the UK and aren’t interested in what we do here, I’d move on and find something else to read.

Should you be trying to avoid the UK Election, I suggest that you don’t bother to read this post.

Should you be balancing on the fence about who to vote for in the UK, feel free to read and see if it helps you.

If you have a comment that may help people with making a decision, feel free to read and comment. 

If you just want to upset people, then go away – I have no time for flame wars or trolls, and your comment will be deleted.

So keep it informational and friendly PLEASE!

 

Got that? Good… here we go then.

In the UK at the moment, we are in the run up to a general election. I’ve voted in each one that has come up since I was 18, and I’ve always voted for the same party – Liberal Democrat (yellow) – simply because I loathed the attitude of the other two parties (Labour (red) and Conservative (blue)) towards the people with the same background as me…

…Yes, that’s right… I’m a born and bred Council Brat.

It has always seemed to me that the two main parties hated the people that I grew up with. To be honest, not every single person on the estate I lived on was a shiftless loser the way the two main parties painted them; in fact that was the exception rather than the rule. They were pretty much all hard working people who needed a little extra help to make ends meet.

I studied hard and got myself into university – as far as I saw it, it was a step up (remember at the time I was a kid, please.) and I was glad to get out of there. Politically it made me the sort of person that the parties wanted to vote for them – educated, neat, polite and wanting a job. so they tried their best to persuade me to support them. At the time, I stuck with Lib Dem because as I saw it, the Yellows had never had a chance to show what they were made of and actually change any of the injustices they talked about (yup, I was such a kid…)

Fast forward a few years and there I am; a hard working Mother with a fiancé and a future. I’m a teacher, paying tax and NI and in a Union. The Blues tried their best to persuade me that they had education’s best interests at heart. My union urged me to back the Reds because that was what a good Union person should do… I stuck with the Yellows, hoping to see a change in what I thought was a world crashing down.

Then my personal world crashed down around me. I went from being employed to being on the Dole, on BENEFITS, and in a way that added to the depression that came from losing the baby and my job. I was at rock bottom and none of the parties cared – I’d landed back in the place I came from – POOR STREET.
That hurt (well of course it did, falling tends to hurt) and no matter how much I tried to climb out of the impact crater , it didn’t matter.  The place I was in politically was vilified and no help was extended to help me out.

When the economic crash happened Poor Street was considered a money drain, so the parties cut things to the bone. The Yellows had joined up with the Blues to deal with the work of government and they’d betrayed my support. They didn’t want to help Poor Streeters, they wanted the MONEY Vote from Big Business and the Wealthy…

…nothing new there, huh?

Anyway, when this year’s election was announced. I started looking for another party to vote for. I’m sick of the rhetoric that the main three parties come up with. But as soon as I started reading their manifestos I realised that they were all alike. *sigh* None of them really seem to care about the normal person except as a way of getting into power. They all want the Money Vote and they don’t seem to care who they squash to get it.

In some constituencies, they care about education – so the schools get a good deal there, but other things go to the dogs. In my constituency, all they want is the Money Vote, so they are pushing through hundreds of houses all over the place, without regard for where they are placed, without making sure that  the infrastructure for the residents is there. They’ve ignored local people’s views left right and centre… and here’s my biggest bugbear…

Currently all the smaller towns and villages have their own library. They’re all useful places and in the village ones, they’re often the only library that the elderly can get to and the only internet access that the poorer people can access. The local schools use the libraries to bolster their own lack of resources and it provides a lovely way of getting kids interested in books and the community.

In the latest wave of AUSTERITY cuts, our Blue led Council decided (against all the evidence contrary) to downgrade the village libraries. The Town libraries are getting left alone – they’re too important apparently…

I read that as  “They have too many voters with money.”

So they had a consultation.
In our village a small proportion of the people who live here cared enough to take part. Letters / emails were sent to the Council. The children in the local school sent letters to the council about why they shouldn’t close the library that they use weekly as a part of the school’s literacy lessons. Petitions were signed, questionnaires filled out (and very heavily weighted questionnaires they were) and sent off. Meetings were held and physical protests carried out.

But one thing that wasn’t mentioned was that the council expected the Community to fund the library as well as do the work inside it.

That’s right.

Whoever takes over the running of the library will also have to find the £20,000 per year to keep it open.  

The council will very kindly (sarcasm) provide the services of a lone peripatetic Professional Librarian and won’t cut the library off from its supply of books.

So when the Council ignored the people who responded to the consultation period and decided to go ahead and make it a community led library, they asked for “expressions of interest” from local groups to decide who will run it. These  “expressions of interest” take the form of business plans; each group that submits has to show that they can provide the wherewithal to keep the library going.

Basically, if they don’t get any  “expressions of interest”, they will CLOSE the Library.
Should they get a group volunteering to take it over, they will let them do it, wait until the group fails to provide any money (through whatever means necessary) for the running of the library… they will CLOSE the Library.

So, downgrading the library is just the slippery slope into oblivion because…

they will CLOSE the Library.

So if anyone asks me who I am voting for this year. I’ll tell them who I am NOT voting for.

I am not voting for the Blues – they only care about  the Money Vote.

I am not voting for the Reds –  they only care about  the Money Vote.

I am not voting for the Yellows – They refused to take the reins when they finally managed to get into power and actually change the things that they said were injustices.

I refuse to even discuss the Purples (how dare they steal my favourite colour!) because of two things – they only care about  the Money Vote and they are the worst parts of the Blues under one umbrella. And the other party (a step beyond the purples) shall not even be named, they are racist, sexist bigots.

There are other parties though:  Plaid Cymru (Dark Green) and The Green Party (Green). If I were living in England I’d only have the Greens as a choice. If I lived in Scotland, I’d have the SNP (Gold) as a choice instead of Plaid Cymru. There are also a couple of Irish Parties – the DUP and Sinn Fein.

Dark Green, Gold and the Irish Parties only really care what happens in their own countries. Theywant their countries to be free of England’s rule, but for the moment they will settle for being able to control what happens in their respective Assemblies.

They don’t care about the health of the whole country. 

The Greens have some very good ideas in their policy manifesto. They also have some very odd ones…  and no, I’m not going to quote any, that’s counter-productive. But…

…Now we hit the Rub.

In Britain we run elections on  the FIRST PAST THE POST system… (go through the link to find a site to explain that one if you don’t already know)… but that means that the party with the clearest majority will form the government. As long as that happens, then the rest of the votes get wasted.

So if there is  a 40% majority for one party, that means that 60% of the voting public are unhappy with the government they get.

FPTP takes away the choice.

Now you might say that this is just how life works; there have to be winners and losers. But it leads to a lot of people thinking “Well the party I vote for never gets in, so what’s the point of Voting?” and they just don’t bother (aka voter apathy) to use the power they have been given.

So, if you live in a Blue Led Constituency (like I do) as long as there are enough blue voters who actually bother to vote (*sighs* and they always do here) then that party gets returned to lead the constituency and gets a seat in parliament.

Have that happen often enough and the Blues form the next Government.

As I said earlier. I voted Yellow all my life because I thought that if they got in, they would change things in Education and for the Poorer people for the better. I was wrong; they got in and didn’t use it. That means that I am not going to vote for them again. It doesn’t mean that I am going to vote Blue / Red either though.
It also doesn’t mean that I am going to NOT VOTE either. I could use my vote tactically and vote for the next biggest party that will probably win and keep the party that I really don’t like out… but that means I have to vote for another party that I really don’t like.

I always vote with my conscience, so that I can say  “At least I didn’t waste the power I have been given.” but what it actually means (if I don’t vote red or blue) is that my vote is wasted in the process. *sighs*

It’s a LOSE/LOSE situation in my mind. Not a WIN/LOSE…

And that is depressing.

But it won’t stop me voting.

If you have been paying attention, you can probably work out who I am going to vote for. None of the parties really fit what I believe in, but I’ll vote for the one that fits the best.

Biting the bullet…

Warning – this is partly a Pity party, but the whining does have a point… eventually.

Asking for help is one of the hardest things in the world.

All my life, I was told not to ask for things, “You’ll get what you’re given and like it.” was a common refrain throughout my childhood from a variety of people; not just my parents.

I was taught that if I needed something, I should work for it myself. So I was working from the age of 12 3/4 years old.

Yes, that was technically illegal, I didn’t care and my employer didn’t either.

I sampled lots of menial jobs in my early working life. I was a Chambermaid, a Market Seller, a Paper Girl, a Waitress, a Bar Steward, sold Fish’n’Chips, broke up fights, drifted into sleep doing data entry, tried to sell double glazing, sold computer games, tried to help people with their digital TV…

I got up early and stayed up late in pursuit of the money to be able to live in the way I wanted. I often didn’t have the money to eat from those jobs – I only just made my half of the rent a lot of the time.

It was irritating.

I earned enough (with my partner’s income as well) to be ineligible for any Govt. help (there was no such thing as Working Tax Credit then) and we ate  pasta and ketchup way too much. I already had a degree, but it was useless for almost everything I tried to apply for.

So I took a PGCE in the hope that becoming a Teacher. I passed (it was difficult) and got a NQT job to finish my training. I passed that and got a full time teaching job. Which ended a year later.

 

Ah well, there’s always supply work. I thought to myself when I tried and failed to get another full time or part time teaching job.

HAH!

I joined agency after agency. I got very little work and was told that it was because I couldn’t drive. But I couldn’t afford to learn to drive… so I was in a Catch 22 situation.

By now, I had two children to support and my partner was driving over two hundred miles a day, just to keep us in the house we were in…

Fast forward to today.

The Kids

The Kids

This is my family. My partner has been diagnosed as Aspergers. NOS has been trying to cope with both Aspergers and High School for over two years. And we have the wonderfully entertaining Princess Wriggles to enjoy.

We’re still in the same house. That’s right. 3 Kids, two adults and all the attendant stuff in a small 3 bedroom house. Just about liveable… or it would be if it weren’t for the state of the roof and the plumbing (but that’s another story).
We’d planned to put the baby into the same room as PT when she turned a year old. We didn’t count on PT possibly being Aspergers as well.

What is Aspergers?

“As soon as we meet a person we make judgements about them. From their facial expression, tone of voice and body language we can usually tell whether they are happy, angry or sad and respond accordingly.

People with Asperger syndrome can find it harder to read the signals that most of us take for granted. This means they find it more difficult to communicate and interact with others which can lead to high levels of anxiety and confusion.” – From The National Autistic Society

One of the things that those with Aspergers need is a safe, secure and above all, calming environment to recharge and relax.
Dealing with the outside world causes all sorts of problems. While an adult can find a quiet place to calm down while they’re out and about, a child can’t. Add the school environment to their daily routine and you have daily sensory overload.
So a quiet bedroom / private space is essential to their well being.

We have the space for NOS to have this. The only way we can give PT the same space and give ourselves space (TOH really needs a private space) as well, is to put the baby in our room and sleep in the living room.

Not an ideal situation, more of a last resort.

So why don’t you move?

And here is where the earlier whining is relevant. I haven’t been able to return to teaching since I lost my job. I’ve updated my qualifications and still not been able to get a job. TOH is in the midst of changing career and while he has a part time job at the moment, it’s not an ideal long term solution as it’s only temporary.

We are reliant on Benefits to help us live day to day. There is very little spare cash and what spare cash there is goes on clothes or shoes etc. We’ve not been able to save up the money we need to move.
The deposit, the rent in advance, the moving costs – when I’ve figured it up, we’d need about £3,500 to be able to do it. And every time I manage to save money, it flies out the door again on the wings of an emergency / unforeseen bill.

I’m forced to ask for help.

None of my immediate family can help – they’re in similar straits. We can’t get a Bank loan big enough because we don’t have a big enough income or full time jobs – the banks are suddenly feeling responsible!

So the only thing left (other than sleeping on the sofa) is to ask for help generally.

I’ve started a GoFundMe campaign to this end. If you feel like donating money to help our family move to a more suitable house, then feel free to click on this link – House Move  – and donate whatever you feel you can afford.
There’s no time limit to the campaign and I’ll keep it open until either we get the amount we need, or we get kicked out of the house we are in (not as far fetched a prospect as you might think.)

If you feel uneasy about donating to a complete stranger (and believe me, I understand!) then look up my books (under Kira Morgana or A. E. Churchyard) and buy a copy or two – any sales from my work will be put aside to add to the Moving Fund.

If you don’t want to do either of those, then I won’t be upset – I realise it is a difficult world out there and there are people who are worse off than we are. If you want to support the campaign emotionally / promotionally, then feel free to tweet nice things about it and/or share it on FB.

I realise that this is a bit of a pipe dream.

However, I’ve already had four lovely, wonderful people donate to the campaign already, meaning it isn’t as much of a dream as it was.

So there you have it. I’ve bit the bullet and asked for help.

Plotting for complete world domination…

While the Landlord was playing with the electrics and installing a new shower today, I was forced off the computer.

This isn’t the catastrophe that it used to be – I find that forced time away from the PC can often help me think about my plans for world literary domination and give me a fresh hope that I may actually, one day, be able to put food on the table with the proceeds of my warped imagination.

It’s not warped; just slightly twisty…

Yes, thank you Puff.

Ahem. I was thinking about what I would like to publish next. Obviously, TTATE #5: Nightbringer, is very much on the cards; but there are a few things that I have had in mind for a while…

… so here is a run down of the books I have on the TO BE PUBLISHED list:

KIRA MORGANA

The Tower and The Eye: Nightbringer
(TTATE, Book 5)

The Dragon’s Pendant
(The Secret of Arking Down, Book 2)

The Tower and The Eye: Creation of The Lych Mistress
(A ‘Tower and the Eye Tales’ Novella)

The Bog Boy
(A ‘Secret of Arking Down’ Novella)

The Tower and The Eye Omnibus Edition
(TTATE Box Set)

The Tower and The Eye Tales
( Story Collection)

The Secret of Arking Down Chronicles
(Story Collection)

The Mind of Morgana
(Box Set)

A. E. CHURCHYARD

Genesis of the Churchyard
(Box Set)

The Song of Albion
(Novel)

Now, there aren’t any dates on these titles deliberately. I’m not the sort of writer that can work on one thing, finish it, edit it and publish it within a definite timespan.

I can do deadlines for small pieces, but the big ones take time, thought and mass amounts of energy. For example, the first drafts for three of these are finished, but I’m not doing any editing on them until I’ve finished the first draft of Nightbringer.

Essentially I follow the 8 Rules of Writing that Neil Gaimen came up with:

1) Write

2) Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.

3) Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.

4) Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.

5) Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.

6) Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.

7) Laugh at your own jokes.

8) The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.

I’ve got rules one to five down pat. Six is something I tend to have trouble with – I can never be certain when to let go…

I like “Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.” – it should be on a T-shirt.

All right Puff… actually you have a point there; it should be on a T-shirt…

I also like “Make Good Art” which is another of Neil Gaimen’s sayings.

Ahem… enough of that Puff, can we get on with this post, please?

Of course, all of this is subject to the approval of my overlord (or should that be overlady?) the beauteous Princess Wriggles:

maia
That’s just an excuse to put a picture of her in the blog post…

Shhh, Puff!

PW is the main reason I don’t have any dates for publication of these books; I can never tell from one day to the next if I am going to have any time to write… *grins*

But it is a lovely excuse not to write, or do housework…

“The Baby needs me.” or “I’m playing with the Baby.”

…both go down quite well with everyone!