Monday, 6 June 2011

Not into politics so it's personal

I don't pretend to understand politics or indeed politicians and I admit the only time I get really interested is if it affects me or mine, other times I have one eye on what's happening so I'm not completely out of touch, but I certainly wouldn't claim to be knowledgeable on the subject.
I was brought up in a 'working class' family that were originally from the East end of London and staunch Labour supporters. I understood Labour represented the working classes and what my dad called 'our sort of people' and the Conservatives were for the wealthy and 'upper classes'
As a child I don't remember giving it much thought, my parents voted every election because it was their right to do so and they believed their vote made a difference. Thinking back now it had no real impact on my life until I got married and had children. From then on I was responsible for my own family and started to notice how our lives were made better or worse by whichever party was in Government. We were a young family during Thatchers years who were led to believe that if you worked hard you could own your own home, could choose to live somewhere nice where your children could grow up safe and well educated. Well who wouldn't want these things? My husband had worked as a builder since age 15 and was very knowledgeable about every aspect of building and had got himself a good reputation, although I had worked I had stopped during those few years to have our family. I wanted to buy into the dream although I was more resistant to buying our home than my husband, I suppose my Labour roots made me uneasy. The councils were being forced to sell their properties and the opportunity appeared too good to pass up.
So along with countless others we bought our home.
I won't bore you with the details but 6 years later, after a terribly hard few years we like many many others lost our home. This was the first recession I remember being so aware of, the first trade to be hit as always was the building trade, the mortgage went up and up and our earnings came down and the Government that had encouraged us all to believe if we worked hard we could have it all sat back and watched as it was all taken from us. We sat and watched the 1992 general election as a homeless family in temporary accommodation and my despair deepened as the Conservatives were again voted in, what was wrong with people? Couldn't they see this wasn't a party for the people, it didn't care about the normal hard working man, if you were wealthy you would benefit but if not they didn't want to know you. I stayed up all night watching with dismay as the results came in and I vowed that night that never again would I have anything that could be taken from me and never again would I believe what a Government told me.
From then on I have watched subsequent Governments with suspicion, when working with homeless people I had close contact with our Labour MP and was impressed with his Attitude and helpfulness. I found I now voted for the 'person' that was doing the most for me and mine and the rest of the country could fight it's own battles.
I was far from happy when Conservatives gained power by inviting the wishy washy Libdems to join them, I might have moved on from my last experience of them in power but I hadn't forgotten or forgiven but as always I was willing to wait and watch. We don't own our home now, we live to our means so could they affect us this time?
Well I didn't have long to wait, I am disabled, it's taken many many months of proving over and over again that I am genuinely disabled to finally get the benefits I am entitled to and what is the first thing this Government does? It turns on sick and disabled people, it makes me fearful and furious and concerned for my future all over again. Memories of before? Does this feel personal? Do I feel persecuted?

1 comment:

onethoughtfulwoman said...

I only was talking about this very same thing yesterday with a labour women committed to carers, women and pension rights. She works with the labour party on this very issue and is speaking to a shadow mimister for work and pensions I believe on Thursday about the cut in incapacity benefits.
I am not to be fair a labour supporter, nor Tory but I am disappointed with the cuts and the coalition policy on this, as they appear. The gov is set to penalise those who are in need, to save money from some who could work but do not.
I can understand you anguish and anger over this. You have worked hard and now, you should be entilled to the benefits your stamp paid for.
There does need to be welfare reform but the gov is hitting the wrong people.
Great post Penny and if you ever need someone on your side, then my friend would do all she could to help I am sure.