The Prime Minister has done a very good job, hasn't he, of pitting the people of this country against one another.
"Divide and Rule!! Divide and Rule!!
There were about a dozen of us who turned up to lobby against the Governnment's Welfare Reform Bill yesterday. Not many, but the Single Mother's Self Defence group and the Global Women's Strike Group and Winvisible, had big banners, and anyway, we were there, standing up for the rights of millions of people.
A man drives past in a van that says "Thrifty" on it. My first assumption is that he's a worker and probably doesn't earn much, then before I can think anything else, he's given us a one fingered salute.
I was so shocked, I walked forward with my own one fingered salute and shouted "Fuck you too!" That's not like me, to be honest, and this morning my anger became clear.
Yes, we were only 12, but one woman in a wheelchair, one woman with a baby in a pram, one young black girl, one young white girl who was also there on Monday and might be one of the organisers, one married mother with a daughter my son's age, one male pensioner, one priest. A pretty wholesome demographic of people. How dare Mr Thrifty stick his finger up at them when they are standing there for his benefit too.
"7 out of 8 housing benefit claimants are in work" shouts one banner.
Anyway, not long after Mr Thrifty's gone, two wealthy looking gentleman walk by and one, the older, balding one, comes up to me and says, in his cut glass accent with venom in it's delivery:
"You should all get a job!"
"Do you have a job?" I ask politely.
"Yes, I've worked all my life. Many years ago I went to Canada when it was freezing cold..."
"Well I'm glad you haven't been made redundant," I interrupt him.
"I said I'm glad you haven't been made redundant and are competiting with hundreds of other people for one job."
Bluster bluster then: "I met an Indian lady with two children living in Hampstead! Hampstead! It's disgraceful, these people living in places...."
"Well if there was more social housing, perhaps it wouldn't be such a big problem now would it?" I feel the anger bubbling beneath my surface.
"Where are the father's? Where are the fathers? I have lots of children and I look after them all, where are they!"
After quoting Michael Gove saying pregnancy is a male problem, "a male problem, a MALE PROBLEM Mr Gove the Tory said," I said:
"And how many times have you been unfaithful to your wife?"
He stepped back and smirked, shocked then gaffawed, and I was about to sneer "hypocrite" when the pensioner intervened, saying money shouldn't be taken from the needy but taken away from fuelling wars such as in Afghanistan... and they were off..shouting, I couldn't kkep up...The Jews, more protestants that catholics leaving Ireland back during the potato famine... I could'n't keep up, I don't know enough.
The row was broken up and the odious blue-eyed baldy smiled at me skulking off to rejoin his friend who, as I eyeballed the Fascist, didn't look quite so odious, had not come up to us and joined in, kept his distance and so well he might, if he too had nothing good to say)
Some members of the group came up to me afterwards and asked me if I was alright, which was really kind, because you don't really expect that, when the level of abuse you've just received, is what you receive all the time if you read right wing papers. So nothing out of the ordinary really; I shouldn't have been so shocked myself.
I know I shouldn't be at the lobby. I know that I am the Great British Problem. I know that I am universally hated by greater numbers of British society today than ever before (Thanks Dave).
I'm a single mother. I'm 'unemployed' I 'live in a flat hardworking people can't afford' and what none of my fellow lobbyists know, am in reciept of a sickness benefit, so 'disabled' (I do not see myself as disabled but depression is a disease and it's no higher payment than income support, where I could hide my 'disease')
Perhaps for all these reasons it's my duty to be there, so I can stand on behalf of all the men, women and children who cannot be there.
Hit me baby ONE MORE TIME?
I will defend myself
I will defend you
Our first duty is to ourselves.
Without ourselves what hope for our children?