In some parts of England, the state of housing in some areas is like a Dickensian novel. There are families of five or six or more in one bedroom properties, and children are being bitten by rats, and teachers have observed children reaching in bins for food, and going through other children’s pack lunches.
We should be generally shocked at the conditions that children and families are living in, and it’s hard to believe that we’re in the 21st century and people in a wealthy country are living in those conditions.
A teacher looked into a child’s mouth and she had these brown and black pegs, these were her teeth, they weren’t even teeth shaped anymore, and teachers have two-year-olds coming into the nursery school with missing teeth because they’re rotten.
It’s one of those things that people learn about and say, that’s absurd, children shouldn’t be going to school to learn about brushing their teeth, that’s something parents should be teaching them, but it’s pretty disturbing to discover the number of children who don’t actually have their own toothbrush at home.
Coats are being passed around three siblings, one day the older brother will have it, the next day the sister, the next day the younger brother, one coat between the three of them. Then you get a child whos shoes are too small for them, and when the teacher mentioned it to the parent; when the child came in the next day, the front of the shoes had been cut off, and this sequence of poverty is simply going to continue if we don’t get children and young people in a place where they can live their lives in a joyful and fulfilling way, and then education is essentially secondary to that.
Gone are the days when Britain was one of the greatest countries to live in. Gone are the days when NHS, Education system, Public Transport, Emergency Service, Bin Collection, Social Housing et cetera was all at its best. Now is all a huge mess and the party in number 10 couldn’t care less.
But the onus lies with contemporary politics, and all main parties are liable, Labour and Tories alike, even though it was the Tories who insisted on austerity supposedly to get the country out of debt, and they closed services that Labour had put in place that supported families, but the debt meanwhile got bigger and bigger while affluent families paid less and less in tax, and too many people have forgotten that austerity was and is motivated by the Tories.
And there’s no point saying that if a person can’t afford children they shouldn’t have them, the children are here now, and they’re suffering, so how will the government morally obligate to alleviate that, and where is their humanity? It’s called poverty, which means that most families incomes dropped after the recession, so you can’t then question whether these children should have been born because it’s then like closing the barn door once the horse has bolted, and the fact that any child is hungry and hunting through bins should horrify everyone.
But then this government want to pit ordinary people against each other, and we need to quit condemning the poor and look at the top of the food chain, and where our money is going, and to stop people who dodge paying their taxes, these children are starving, and they deserve more than this.
Any family could find themselves without an income due to sickness, disability or loss of a job, and the benefits system used to provide a security net which met a families essential need, but obviously, it doesn’t do that anymore.
The fact is, the child is now alive, and the parents are poor, and something has to be done no matter whose fault it is, and judging debate doesn’t help them, and the truth remains that numerous families have children whilst they’re financially stable, but anything can happen, none of us knows what’s around the corner: accidents, sickness, redundancy can change that, we are all two pay cheques away from poverty.
What about those girls and women who fall pregnant by mistake, maybe as teenagers or through a failed relationship, should they be punished because they don’t have the means to support their children? What about domestic abuse situations?
Families are on the edge income-wise, and some are poverty-stricken, but the government won’t do anything about the low wages, the zero hours contracts and job insecurity. Then there’s the growing cost of living and the state of our welfare system, but those who have watched a few episodes of “Benefits Street” think that they can judge, but if they spoke to those people for a little while, perhaps then they might find how real life is lived and the physical challenges that they face and their judgement of them might fade away.
There are those families that have children and everything is fabulous and they’re eating healthy and life appears normal, then there’s this financial shift and they say well we’ll manage but little by little things get difficult until one day they find themselves eating cheap jam sandwiches so that their children can eat, and glueing their shoes back together and using a black sharpie to cover the marks so that the shoes look okay, but no one wants this to happen, and it’s not always about having children you can’t afford.
It’s also a basic human right to have children; after all the United Kingdom is deemed to be the fifth wealthiest country on the planet, the problem is the uneven distribution of wealth, but that’s not the responsibility of the children, it’s the government’s fault for allowing it to happen.
People have been demonising the poor and putting the blame at their door for hundreds of years rather than putting the onus where it rests, with governments and exploiters.
Fortuitously, during that time there have been politicians and social commentators, like, Engels, Marx, Dickens who’ve highlighted the situation of the poor and over time we’ve produced a more balanced culture, but it was a lengthy aggression as there are those who believe the poor are there to be exploited and believe they have only themselves to blame.
Ultimately, through trade unions, workers rights and equal rights the working family started to make economic progress until most families, with two working adults had a comparatively comfortable life, and deservedly so, but with a welfare state that would properly support them when needed.
Now though, through the near annihilation of our safety net, the welfare state, zero hours contracts, a parsimonious minimum wage, homelessness at an abnormal level, and victimising TV like Benefits Street, the disadvantaged and vulnerable are once again being exploited, and are oppressed and frequently have nowhere to turn.
So, we’ve gone backwards, we’ve reverted to levels of poverty and disgrace for the poor as seen in Charles Dicken’s day. There’s even a return of Victorian diseases, so all that laborious work by the generations before us, of which everyone profited, have been essentially wiped out by the far right, in the last 9 years, but they’d love to go further.
Now though, people have attitudes with an acceptance of the situation, turning a blind eye to poverty and the people of this country are allowing that to happen, but then we can all now blame it on the children, but of course, the entire method of austerity is a conspiracy to privatise all services, and really we should be condemning the government for the chaos, along with the “Oops” Conservative party, rather than criticising parents who have children.
Of course, there are some of us that make bad life decisions and do get pregnant, but they have to live with those decisions. The point is, you can’t make presumptions about people, even if on the surface they seem to have made poor life decisions, we’ve all done that at some point or another in our lives.
So, what should we do, support some deserving families but not others? So, who determines this, or should we just shrug our shoulders and do nothing to reduce poverty because we’ve concluded that some people are very bad apples and don’t deserve to be helped? After all, it’s easier to be ignorant, contentious and self-righteous.
If we go back in time it was rather normal for mothers to knit their children’s clothes, patch up holes in their clothes, cut their children’s hair, go without meals so that they could feed their children, use unused food for the next nights supper, no heating, or share bath water with the whole family, it was all rather routine back then, but we’re now in the 21st century and it’s still happening and it’s actually shocking, and it’s going back to how it was, but it shouldn’t be happening.
Although it’s not happening in quite the same way, we had a greater sense of community back then, but Margaret Thatcher whacked that over the head and cremated it in the 1980s. Now, all we have to do is blame the victims, and to be fair, it’s far simpler to do that and doesn’t require anything more from us than the capacity to pass judgement viciously.
I suppose everyone was in the same boat years ago whereas now only a tiny minority are suffering, but we have too many ‘I’m alright jack’ people being judgemental, and to be honest, I don’t remember it ever being this bad even in the 70s. I don’t remember there being so many homeless people all over the streets, or food banks, or shops, libraries, and community and youth centres shutting down everywhere.
This entire thing is unethical, especially when Boris Johnson is making more for a single speech than some of these people will make in 10 years, and then there’s poverty, abject poverty, people who are poor and then there’s the Uber rich who exploit the people and evade the tax system, and it’s not good for the country, but these Uber wealthy people expect the comforts and perquisites and protections of their government, but poverty is very wrong.
I was a teen in the 70s, and parents were a lot more practical back then. I can remember “hand me downs”, but nobody went without anything. A coal fire took care of the heating, hot water and the drying of clothes. My mum would mend socks and mend my clothes, and other families would knit jumpers for school and make clothes, but sadly these skills are dying out.
A lot of today’s children don’t even have basic skills, such as changing a plug or fuse or even how to stitch on a button, and schools should have someone there to teach pupils these basic skills, it would make all the difference in their adult life, and the more we look around us we realise that the Tories are going to be in control for a long time.
And if people don’t believe that modern poverty isn’t real, simply take twenty minutes to visit a food bank, take some toothpaste and chat to the volunteers, it’s only twenty minutes out of your day, less time than an episode of Eastenders, and our government should be doing more to help parents on low incomes because no children should stay hungry or eat from bins.
It’s shocking and it will only get worse when we finally do leave the EU, and how can the 5th wealthiest country in the world have children in this kind of poverty? And getting rid of this Tory government continues to be a national priority.
But at the moment it’s okay that the fat cats are getting fatter, and Tory values and policies have taken us back to low wages, poverty, inadequate housing and a wider gap in social mobility that’s not been seen since the first world war, and they should be ashamed of themselves, and according to Theresa May, we’ve never had it so good, can you all smell the bullshit?
Of course, this is nothing more than engineered devolution, and this is very disturbing as the Hitler regime rears its ugly head once more, and we should have complete compassion for those parents who find themselves in a bad situation through no fault of their own. Perhaps their husband or partner died or was made redundant, although it’s a little different when parents have children knowing that they can’t support them or have poor lifestyles themselves, but we can’t tar everyone with the same brush.
But the Tories don’t appear to have a clue why this kind of thing is happening, and they’re in charge of nuclear weapons, scary, isn’t it? And they’re happy to send food and money all over the globe, and in a rich country where sovereignty, government, members of parliament and all their associated business friends demand obscene, totally unnecessary luxuries, and cheat, manipulate and grow fat on those indulgences.
It’s not about giving advice about making ends meet, it’s about inequality, desire and a crap system that needs fresh air and new people in it that have integrity.