What follows is an imaginary’ish letter to the Government, to any and all past present and future representatives of the same entity, some observations from a disappointed and disgruntled UK citizen.
You really need to know a little about me to fully understand why I am feeling this way right now, so let me start from the beginning.
My mother was married, albeit unfortunately to a man who chose to drink a lot after a hard days work breathing in steel dust, there was no such thing as Health & Safety at work then, and thus she had to get part-time work in order to feed us as he spent all his money before he came home. The jobs my mother secured allowed for her to take my brother and I into work with her, no silly rules in those days, and thus we had an interesting and colourful upbringing in real life values, such as you have to work hard to get anywhere in life, nothing is ever for free etc. We were never rich, but we did have that work ethic drummed into us.
We also had a lot of freedom in those days, there were always the same Policemen walking around our home streets, and not that we had any drug dealers hanging around then, we knew who to run to if we needed a hand. We also knew damn well that if we were to damage anybody’s property or cause trouble, not only would the policeman tell us off, he would then drag us home and present us for a ticking off there also!
There was a lot more respect in those days!
Dear reader, rest assured my mother bided her time until the day I left home, then she followed suit and has lived happily if frugally ever since! ( in those days women were fed Valium to cope with husbands like that, and encouraged NOT to leave them!)
Why Dear Government, did you feel the need to completely eradicate the ability for people to at least try to take care of themselves by putting so much Red Tape in the way, and where are those local policemen nowadays?
At school, and god forbid if you ever caused trouble during a lesson there ( I had the ruler across the fingers once, once was enough!), my year was the last year to take the old-fashioned but effective O’Levels and C.S.E exams. I gained some 13 O’Levels grades A & B and 8 C.S.E’s also high grades, having just missed out on a place in the local grammar school due to lack of spaces, my mother paid for the extra exams I wished to take which I studied for at the local library!
My brother however, left the same school three years behond me after studying the “new curriculum” , unable to read and write properly. Believe me he is far from “stupid”, and he wasn’t the only one to be failed by the system changes.
Now you have seen the results of those changes, why are you Dear Government, STILL changing the school system every couple of years? Why not just simply put it back as it was, surely it must be obvious by now that people trained in the basics can then use their brains to work out the rest themselves. Computers and calculators are useful tools granted, but they should not be replacing the thought processes behind an activity, what if, electricity becomes a commodity for the rich only?
Or worse, we simply run out of power? Then what will us peasants do?
Dear Government, when I left school, I was rather hoping for a much revered position as a Mechanical Engineering Apprentice, being one of those rare females at the time who wished to enter the world of engineering, instead, a careers advisor, whom I listened to wholeheartedly at the time, placed me in a Youth Training Scheme, for which I did a full days work 6 days a week for barely enough to cover the travel costs to get there! Nevertheless, I loved my work, and progressed to a full time “real” job for not much more money, which led to me getting a much better paid position offered me by the company next door!
Sadly that company lost out on contracts due to Red Tape here in the UK and the ability of a faraway firm to produce and ship the very same components at a much lower cost, and there began my first redundancy, not that we got any money in leiu in those days.
Due to my being taught by my mother and my teachers that you never give up, I promptly walked around every company in the area, regardless of what they manufactured, and simply asked for work, one single day of doing thus gained me a new job in a slightly different trade. I learnt from scratch how to read electrical drawings, and produce wiring looms on a large scale, on a very low wage compared to my male counterparts, but still satisfying and rewarding. This company was unfortunately, mainly manufacturing for Government projects, and when these were farmed abroad due to pricing differences, a new career in Electronics beckoned!
During all my time working in these varied engineering firms, I probably encountered pretty much every mild indignity known to man, vis a vis, one application formed actually asked me the dates of my periods, one company, despite there being female receptionists on the premises,claimed they did not have facilities for female shop floor staff, pin-up posters in the locker rooms, the age old Engineers Blue trick etc etc you name it they did it at some time or other, yet not once did I feel the need to sue any company nor to complain at any great length. Most of it was good natured and the suing culture just wasn’t around in those days, maybe we had far more common sense then.
Through this third career path, I felt confident enough to actually start my own small electronics contracting business, in which I actually did quite well considering the whole of engineering in the UK at the time was tolling a death knoll which as a mere peasant working hard at the time, I had failed to notice!
Dear Government, why did you feel the need to let our country lose it’s age old and time honoured trades and skills?
There followed a period of gaining any employment I could whilst deciding which direction to take next..I undertook cleaning, cooking and packing, all at the same time.I actually wanted to go into the music business, as writing lyrics and music has always been the love of my life, in fact as a hobby during most of the above I managed several small bands which did quite well considering, yet after a conversation with a careers advisor, I was pointed in the direction of working in a pub, which I was assured was the better way forward for me!
And so I started as a bar cleaner, fast progressing up the ladder to a bar personage, followed by bar management and then the lofty position of a licensee. Ok, I was fairly good at this career, but had NO social life, still wasn’t getting paid the same as my male counterparts and ultimately suffered due to more Red Tape, and the increasing wage pressures on companies to only employ younger people on lower wage rates!
Oh and Dear Government, at no time have I ever been able to claim expenses relating to anything pertaining to my job, the seven times I have had to relocate thus far seeking work, I have had to do so at my own personal expense, I had to fund my own transport, buy my own food and work clothing, if I had chosen to keep ducks at that point, it would have been at my own expense or the building of a DIY Duckhouse!
Dear Government, where were YOU when I needed a helping hand? Where were you when I was bullied into not discussing what had happened in my newest career several years after embarking upon it? Where were you when I tried to seek advice after losing not only my job but my home also, after being compelled as a condition of my employment to live on-site.
Where were you when one of your council tenants, unbeknown to me, was illegally renting out his UNFURNISHED council flat to me AND YOUR LAWS STATED FIRMLY that despite my paying him the rent he was due, apparently according to the police I called out, he had every right to change the locks one day, and steal everything I owned except the clothes I was wearing. I wasn’t even allowed back in to my home accompanied by a policeman to get my rent book to PROVE my case! He is now the proud owner of all my legal documents, my washing machine, cooker, fridge, bed etc, all my family photographs that I cannot replace, literally everything I had in the world pertaining to my life up to that point, and everything he needed to commit ID theft, which he has done since.
Turns out he doesn’t even hold a British Passport, I found that much out, yet he has more rights than I do!
Dear Government, where were YOU when, as a long time tax payer in need of a hand, I spent a year homeless, cold, hungry, sat for hours in the warm council offices begging for help only to be told that as I had unlawfully been living in council accomodation already, not that I knew that at the time, (how could I?) that despite my renting that flat on good faith through a letting agency, as one is supposed to do, that there was nothing that could be done to help me.
Where were you exactly, Dear Government, when company after company refused to employ me due to having no fixed abode, when the police, bless em, asked me to move on from the only safe place I could find inside a large bush in a public park, that was sheltered from the wind, out of sight from the drug dealers who frequented the place at night, and caused no-one any harm nor upset?
At no point, even then, did I turn to drink or drugs, although upon reflection I may well have been better off doing so, due to the enomous amount of financial assistance you bestow on those who have fallen into that trap through sheer boredom and/or laziness on their parts.
After a very trying period where I almost gave up on everything, I found myself half-way across the country, and actually managed to get a part-time job despite being homeless, after a generous helping hand from a librarian who gave me some sets of clothing that weren’t ragged and threadbare, making me slightly more presentable than I was at that time!
I met what appeared to be a nice man, and indeed really he is, and we settled eventually and had a son together, although not planned, being a mom was never a part of my career plan but you see Dear Government, by then any faith I had had in the correct “ you must have a career” path had long since died. I must have a neon light flashing over me, as it turned out the nice man was a career criminal, upon discovery of that little gem, I departed from his company. I do have very set principles, and have and had no wish for my son to be born into that lifestyle, nor to witness it.
Even then Dear Government, why did you have to set really stupid rules regarding employment whilst pregnant? Thanks to more of your Red Tape, I was quietly but surely shown the door the minute my bump began to show, and throughout my pregnancy, despite my wishing to work as long as I could no-one would employ me, not even if I wrote and signed a disclaimer notice for them?
And then Dear Government, you really excelled yourselves, by sending me some official pompous clipboard wagglers, as after having my little bundle of joy at home, ok home was at that point a smallish but pleasant enough and imminently affordable bedsit, it had been noted that my accomodation was deemed unsuitable for a child.
It was clean & affordable, I could just manage the bills there, the shops, parks and the sea were a few minutes walk away, and we even had our own enclosed outdoor space that was ideal for a child to play in safely.
Also, after a couple of years, I might have actually managed to hold down a job that paid enough for me to move on up the ladder, you know, been able to save a little here and there to get somewhere better in time But no, Dear Government, more of your amazing Red Tape meant that although no council accomodation was offered, I was STRONGLY advised to seek a larger more suitable home! This coming from the same people who place young addicted to drugs/drink mothers, and their children into Bed & Breakfast accomodation long term!
And so, I find, after much hassle and travelling on foot, a so-called suitable home , almost twice the rental cost of my lovely little home, it was the cheapest I could find for miles around, and moved, not an easy task on a low budget with a baby in tow and no car or friends to assist, believe me.
And now Dear Government, I am trapped by your Red Tape, this so-called more suitable home, as I have since discovered the hard way, is riddled with damp and mould, the rent, council tax and water rates alone are more than your “average take-home pay” figures, which themselves are far higher than most people here earn per week anyhow, I also found that my son cannot play outdoors as the garden here isn’t safe, it is open and ungated due to communal paths that lead directly to a busy road, yet your Red Tape deems it suitable?????
I cannot walk my toddler to the shops as they are far away from me now, actually, we can barely afford to eat anymore if we don’t wish to get into debt with bills or rent.
And now to the trigger that has riled me enough to bare my soul on here, a certain insignificant yellow letter that keeps coming through my door. Change For Life. You Dear Government, on top of telling me how to raise my son, and threatening to teach him sex education at the tender age of FIVE, yeah like thats going to be a great idea, you are now, after forcing my outgoing costs to almost double these past two years, trying to guilt trip me if I DONT spend a fortune on the kind of foodstuffs you no doubt take for granted, or claim on expenses for. It is so easy for you in your ivory tower to load your shopping basket each week with such delectable goodies as stuffed peppers, and the other gourmet meals you “advise” us mere peasants to be presenting to our families, I really want to see how you could manage to purchase your entire weekly needs for both your homes after rent and bills, so that means food, cleaning materials, clothing, transport, leisure etc on a budget of just £23.70 leftover cash per week! This time last year I had the princely sum of £31 left over for this purpose.Even then there would not have been anything left over to gain entry to public swimming pools, or any other of the activities you suggest….even walking in a forest requires the transport to get there with a young child!
I only wish I had a moat that required cleaning, Wellington Boots and some netting can’t be all that expensive if one can afford the moated area in the first place, and that would make for asuch a fun healthy outdoor exercise surely?
Don’t get me wrong, my son eats very healthily, not a burger in sight, but nowhere near as well as your offspring are able to enjoy. Unfortunately I often have to field the question as to why mummy isn’t hungry today, actually I am most days, but am restrained financially.
Oh, and every job I have applied for in a year, I have been told off the record that they are only seeking to employ school leavers due to costs!
AND FINALLY, Dear Government, what IS it with all this Climate Change guff?
As I mentioned earlier, I am but a mere peasant in the food-chain pecking order, but even I can see through the ability to read and reason with the one gift you cannot tax me on yet, MY BRAIN, that our beautiful Mother Earth has been undergoing changes on a fairly cyclical basis for millions of years, without our help or interferance, and I rather suspect she is doing much the same now. All the classic signs are there for those who can be bothered to notice them, an increasing multitude of earthquakes worldwide, rising waters due to heat coming from below no doubt, there was a great deal of extra activity from the sun a little while ago, oh, and those Volcanoes that keep rumbling to remind us we are NOT the supreme residents here on her back! The animals are trying to tell us also, the Thames Whale, the bees, birds dropping from the sky, pre-cooked fishys in our seas, even our own humble but strangely now absent Sparrow!
YET YOU USE THIS AS AN EXCUSE TO TAX US BEYOND LIVEABILITY UNDER THE GUISE OF GREENESS AND CARBON FOOTPRINTS
I haven’t really noticed any of YOU walking to work, nor giving up your fancy holidays abroad, nor even suffering the cold indoors to save on your home’s Carbon Footprint.
I seriously doubt that anything you purport to be doing in the name of Climate Change is either actually happening, or will have any real effect in preventing what is happening naturally. I am more than happy to recycle and reuse, and have always done my bit to not spoil mother nature in my day to day life, but I am getting just a little tired of this “do as we say not as we do” attitude that you seem to have.
And finally Dear Government, in the highly unlikely event that I am able to somehow manage to pull off my dream of getting a smallholding close to my family in Wales on which to assist with helping to prevent the decline of the Bee population, to pursue my dream of producing my own music, and to attempt to be as self sufficient as possible, even so far as to home educate my son if at all possible, please could you see fit not to throw too much more of that beloved Red Tape of yours in my direction?
Thank you for your time Dear Government, oh and may my son and I book a place on one of those 2012 style Arks you have no doubt been building with that huge deficit in recent times!