Cameron Must Go

I am a woman of quiet values, I vote at every election and referendum. I read widely across the media, I watch interviews on Newsnight and on Andrew Marr. I take in everything, but rarely open my mouth; why bother when there are those much more politically articulate than me, more passionate about their cause, more able to instigate change. But I can stand no more.

I am a woman of quiet actions. Food banks are my own personal cause. I know what empty cupboards and having a hungry child can be like. I don’t like to think too hard about the empty bellies of the children my donations feed, I quietly collect what I can, non-perishable items which are sent to whichever local foodbank shouts the loudest that week. This is England. This is 2014. We should not have hungry, malnourished children living and dying in extremes of poverty.

I am a woman of quiet pain. My story is no secret. I have a debilitating spinal injury. I am in pain every day and will be in pain every day for the rest of my life. Right now it is a level of pain I can manage and cope with. Without the NHS I would be at best paralysed in a wheelchair, or worse, dead. I used to work for the NHS, I know what it achieves every single day, what miracles it performs, it’s not perfect, but it’s a billion times better than any alternative and it is worth fighting for. We must not lose it.

I am a woman who quietly notices. I see more homeless people on our streets. I hear of friends who have lost their homes and are “sofa surfing” until they can get back on their feet again, but that might not ever happen. I see children staying in hostels and B&Bs, wholly unsuitable places to raise a child, but better than the streets. I notice more soup kitchens, more shelters, more help needed. Government cuts biting hard at the most vulnerable in our society.

I am a woman with a quiet voice. But it doesn’t make my words less valuable. I am prepared to stand up and argue. I won’t be waving any placards anytime soon, but I will do what I can in my own way. The world is full of people like me, introverts with quiet voices and passionate hearts. As Stephen Hawking once said “quiet people have the loudest minds”.

Don’t underestimate the public and the strength of feeling about the current regime. No government pleases all of the people all of the time, but any government which gleefully pushes families into poverty, sanctions the sick, brushes the homeless under the carpet and at the same time gives themselves a whopping pay rise isn’t a benevolent, caring, supportive government serving its people.

I’m not seeing any significant positive economic changes as a result of these apparently cost saving measures, only poorer people getting poorer and hungrier, the vulnerable being victimised and treated unjustly and the systematic breaking up and selling off of the public service infrastructure of this country. The UK is a not for profit organisation. It should be run by the people, for the people, not by the privileged, for the privileged. This is why Cameron must go.

Cameron must go

Sorry Son – how it feels to struggle to feed my family

Sorry son, we’re not on the breadline just yet, but mummy looked in her purse and could only afford milk. I know you want a ham sandwich for your lunch but there’s no ham and no bread. Sorry son.

Sorry son. I know you want a cheese sandwich now, but the same applies. We’ve got no pesto to make you pesto pasta. We’ve got things you won’t eat like tomatoes and celery, but that’s no use. Sorry son.

Sorry son. We’ve only got two eggs, so your lunch is two scrambled eggs and some ketchup. I won’t have lunch so you won’t be able to steal mine. Sorry son.

Sorry son, I think your tea might be a packet of vegetable curry flavoured noodles with some frozen peas. That’s all that’s in the cupboard. Sorry son.

Sorry son, I’ll find some money from somewhere and buy you something nice to eat tomorrow. At least some ham and bread and cheese. Sorry son.

Sorry son for letting you down. For not earning more. It’s not that I don’t love you; I do with all my heart. Love doesn’t put food on the table. It’s a hard lesson I know. Sorry son.

I’m sorry.

Giving back this Christmas - Our Reverse Advent Calendar

Update 2019:

I wrote this post back in 2013. Since then we’ve had financial highs and lows; we’ve had empty cupboards and we’ve scraped together meals out of seemingly nothing. It’s turned me into a hoarder of food. Whenever I have a few extra pounds in my purse I stock up on big bags of dried pasta and tins of chopped tomatoes. I have bags and bags of rice, tins of tuna, lentils and beans.

I always want to be able to feed my family. To have nothing but a small 25p packet of noodles to feed your growing son is a terrible, terrible feeling. I never want to feel that way again.

We’ve recently lost our tax credits since we were moved over to Universal Credit, so right now things are tighter than they have been, and will be for a while. You can only tighten your belt so much. We will be ok, because we have no other option than to be ok.

For more information about food poverty, visit the Trussell Trust website.

Sorry Son - how it feels to struggle to feed my family