Posts Tagged ‘women’

Freedom of speech?

ukip

A couple of days ago, blogger Michael Abberton  got a visit from the police. As reported in the Guardian:

“He was told he had not committed any crimes and no action was taken against him, but he was asked to delete some of his tweets, particularly a tongue-in-cheek one on 10 reasons to vote for Ukip, such as scrapping paid maternity leave and raising income tax for the poorest 88% of Britons.”

Michael described his experience in his own blog here. As he put it:

“…they said this was in relation to a complaint that had been made by a certain political party in relation to tweets I had published about them and one tweet in particular which talked about ten reasons to vote for them. The PC wanted to know if I had made that poster.”

from Paul Bernal’s blog

Irene Sendler verses Al Gore

irena

Nothing Changes

Taken from A Girl Called Jack’s blog. 

Hunger Hurts. (July 2012)

Today has seen fourteen job applications go in, painstakingly typed on this Jurassic mobile phone, for care work, shop work, factory work, minimum wage work, any kind of work, because quite simply, this doesn’t work.

For reasons unbeknownst to me, this month my Housing Benefit was over £100 short. I didn’t get a letter that I know of, but I can assume that it’s still the fallout from the cockups made by the various benefit agencies when I briefly went back to work from March to May. Whatever the reason, it’s easy to work out that £670 of rent can’t be paid of £438 of Housing Benefit. So I’m a week in arrears, almost two, as by the time Thursday comes and the next £167.31 is due, there’ll still be nothing coming in. The Income Support went on keeping me afloat, briefly, as did the Child Tax Credit. Now I’m not only in arrears, but last night when I opened my fridge to find some leftover tomato pasta, an onion, and a knob of stem ginger, I gave the pasta to my boy and went to bed hungry with a pot of home made ginger tea to ease the stomach pains.

This morning, small boy had one of the last Weetabix, mashed with water, with a glass of tap water to wash it down with. ‘Where’s Mummys breakfast?’ he asks, big blue eyes and two year old concern. I tell him I’m not hungry, but the rumblings of my stomach call me a liar. But these are the things that we do.

I sit at the breakfast table, pencil and paper in hand, and I start to make a list. Everything that I have was either given to me by benevolent and generous friends, or bought when I earned £27k a year and had that fuzzy memory of disposable income. Much of it has gone already. The Omega Seamaster watch, a 21st birthday present, was the first to go when I left the Fire Service. My words, ‘you can’t plead poverty with a bloody Omega on your bloody wrist’ now ring true for most of my possessions as the roof over my head becomes untenable. My letting agents take care to remind me that I am on a rolling contract, and they can ask me to leave at any time, for no reason. I sell my iPhone for less than a quarter of its original price, and put my SIM in this Jurassic Nokia that I found in a drawer from days gone by.

Tomorrow, my small boy will be introduced to the world of pawnbroking, watching as his mother hands over the TV and the guitar for an insulting price, but something towards bridging the gap between the fear of homelessness, and hanging in for a week or two more. Trying to consolidate arrears, red-topped letters, and bailiffs, with home security, is a day to day grind, stripping back further the things that I can call my own. Questioning how much I need a microwave. How much I need a TV. How much I need to have the fridge turned on at the mains. Not as much as I need a home, and more importantly, not as much as small boy needs a home.

People ask me how I can be so strong. People say to me that they admire my spirit. Days like today, sitting on my sons bed with a friend, numb and staring as I try to work out where the hell to go from here, I don’t feel strong. I don’t feel spirited. I just carry on.

First you turn your heating off. That was in December, it went off at the mains and I parked furniture in front of all the heaters to forget that they were ever there in the first place and alleviate the temptation to turn them on. Then you turn everything off at the wall sockets; nothing on standby, nothing leaking even pennies of electricity to keep the LCD display on the oven. Then you stop getting your hair cut; what used to be a monthly essential is suddenly a gross luxury, so you throw it back in an Alice band and tell your friends that you’re growing it, not that you can’t afford to get it cut. Everyday items are automatically replaced with the white and orange livery of Sainsburys Basics, and everything is cleaned with 24p bleach diluted in spray bottles. You learn to go without things, and to put pride to one side when a friend invites you to the pub and you can’t buy yourself a drink, let alone one for anyone else. There’s a running joke that I owe a very big round when I’m finally successful with a job application, and I know I am lucky to have the friends that I do.

Then you start to take lightbulbs out. If they aren’t there, you can’t turn them on. Hallway, bedroom, small boys bedroom, you deem them unnecessary, and then in a cruel twist of fate, the Eon man rings the doorbell to tell you that you owe £390, and that he’s fitting a key meter, which will make your electricity more expensive to run. So you turn the hot water off. Cold showers were something of the norm in my old flat, where the boiler worked when it wanted to, so you go back to them.

You sell the meagre DVD collection for an even more meagre sum, the netbook, a camera, you wash clothes in basic washing powder that makes your skin itch. You pare back, until you have only two plates, two bowls, two mugs, two glasses, two forks, two knives, two spoons, because everything else feels like an indulgence, and rent arrears don’t wait for indulgence.

In a world where people define other people by their job title (this is Sue, she’s a lawyer, and Marcus, he’s an architect) and by the number plate on the type of cars they drive, and the size of their television and whether it’s 3D or HD or in every room, my world is defined by the love and generosity of my friends, and the contents of my bin shed. You sit on the sofa someone gave you, looking at the piano someone gave you, listening to the radio someone gave you, perched on the chest someone gave you.

Poverty isn’t just having no heating, or not quite enough food, or unplugging your fridge and turning your hot water off. It’s not a tourism trade, it’s not cool, and it’s not something that MPs on a salary of £65k a year plus expenses can understand, let alone our PM who states that we’re all in this together.

Poverty is the sinking feeling when your small boy finishes his one weetabix and says ‘more mummy, bread and jam please mummy’ as you’re wondering whether to take the TV or the guitar to the pawn shop first, and how to tell him that there is no bread or jam.

Ms Jack Monroe, Southend on Sea.

Darling Happy Anniversary …

15 years of love and laughter, Onward to the “ever after”,

remember this?

remember this?

Over the last 15 years we have weathered: floods, death, job changes,  and a host of setbacks. However you have supported me through health changes employment issues and general life circumstances.

I, on the other-hand have been through 14 years of your reluctant academic wanderings (are you sure they only give one degree certificate?) Any more PHD’s and I will get custody of the camper van!

Offering as much love now as always.

Still under threat …

Women fleeing abusive relationships could be faced with the stark choice of sleeping on the streets or returning to a violent partner due to the benefit cap a leading charity has warned.

lord-fraud-freud

Meanwhile Lord Fraud’s dithering means that many women’s refuges and homelessness hostels may be forced to close when the benefit cap is introduced in July.  The cap on benefits, set at £500 a week for families, or £350 for single people, includes housing benefits which in some cases meet the cost of supported accommodation.

Last year  Women’s Aid issued a stark warning that this change could potentially close every single one of their refuge’s for those fleeing domestic violence.  Homelessness hostels are also under threat.  Hostels and refuges charge high rents to pay for the cost of support staff, with most supported housing having 24 hour staffing cover and specialist support workers

Astonishingly neither bungling Lord Fraud or Iain Duncan Smith appeared to know this.  In a panicky response the Government hastily u-turned, saying that the benefit cap would not apply to “supported exempt accommodation”.  Ministers also claimed that when Universal Credit is introduced, the system of Housing Benefits, administered by local authorities, would remain in place for this type of housing. 

From : http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com

Now more than ever?

Lots of Rosie

Lots of Rosie

Keep Fighting, we are worth it!

Mend : Wash : Iron

Mend

Mend

Wash

Wash

Iron

Iron

Mend : Wash : Iron

What is this?                 A comment on marriage.

What inspired it?          The assumption that lesbian marriage will offer equality and that same sex legislation has improved lesbian relationships.

What was I thinking?    The traditions of marriage began with ownership and expectations. One of the contributions to married life being the servicing of the male by the female.

 

What to look for ...        Mend : The darning of socks and the mending of clothes have been subverted into the mending of bodies. Whilst covered in black, an open wound is being treated by acupuncture. But it could so easily be …

Wash : The washerwomen of clothes now plumbers and gas workers. Their path made difficult despite their ability, acceptance or law. Note the way the colours, kept separate, are still bleeding  into and onto the image; the uneven paint; and the extras placed in the way of the initial task.

Iron : These reclaimed 100 year old floor board nails, from a time when ironing was practised on shirts for Sunday Best only. This image offers the isolation of the irons, whilst in the midst of a bejewelled background. Is that really golden or is it rust?

Amanda J. Wells 2013.

 

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