Tuesday, 16 May 2017

“Young people should live within their means”

Young people need to fight more than ever for their future and this in itself is an understatement. Almost every sphere of politics contains a cost benefit outcome for youngsters and never have the stakes been so high. Throw a dice up in the air with the words 'housing', 'education', 'work', 'open spaces', 'living costs' and 'political structures' written on it and, no matter which way the dice falls, each issue carries a weight of negative repercussions for young people. 

What is worse is that this six issue list of does not cover all that affects youngsters which is why it is super imperative for them to take ownership of their future through a vote. 

Some days ago I was having dinner with a friend whom I thought shared my political beliefs. I brought up the subject of young people and was flabbergasted when he launched into one of those "when I was young" claiming the high moral ground type anecdote. No doubt we have all heard one of these before. Your grandparents tell them, your parents tell them or, in my case with a 17 year old daughter, I tell them too but the chord of superiority that was evident in my friend's narrative stopped me in my tracks. 

He spoke about how young people want more than they have and are not willing to put the work in to achieve this. I challenged him all the way. His killer line, as he saw it, was "young people should live within their means". This was a killer line, come to think of it, in more ways than one. 

It is a statement that is as loaded as a dead weight sinking into the sea because of its' presumption that young people have an oyster at their feet as opposed to a broken system that has undermined their prospects. Take education for example, there is not a level playing field with schools what with comprehensives receiving a low priority on the political agenda, academies sucking up huge amounts of money and failing too and the possible introduction of grammar schools. 

The education system is being re-landscaped over and over again to create an outcomes based field. By this I mean that whether a young person has attended a comprehensive in a low income area or a grammar school in a posh area their entry into the world of work or further education is decided by a grade system that assumes a level playing field. 

This dystopia is masked quite cleverly by stigma. It deems young people's existence as being unworthy of high political attention. Flash a few pictures of drunken youngsters at raves, brandishing smartphones and dressed in the latest fashion gear and you have a picture that plays to this stigma. 

These scenarios area mask for the reality of youngsters who are struggling to find their way around an education system where head teachers have to beg for money from parents; and for dejected youngsters who have been sold a puff dream of 'independence' but can't get a foot on the housing ladder because there is not enough social housing or because rents in the private sector are too high. The assumption that behind every youngster that there is a set of parents who run a domestic bank from their living room is another mask for the growing poverty that underpins young people's lives. Parents themselves are struggling with a low wage economy which does not leave much money left over at the end of the month. 

This election could be THE game changer for the young. I have a 17 year old daughter. I have a vested interest too in getting the young vote out. She can't vote yet but those who are 18 years old can. Older people have a huge stake in the young vote too. The stakes are high. The solution is to register to vote and get out and vote on the 8th of June. 

There are a number of great organisations listed below which are encouraging the same. Seek their help if you are unsure of anything. Email me even if you wish: ambitiousmamas@gmail.com. 



Saturday, 6 May 2017

A Twitter take on the Trump family

But money can buy you more money at the expense of the masses:

(photo allegedly taken some years ago but Trump properties still trade on the Phillipino market)



Thursday, 20 April 2017

What do you do with a problem like Corbyn?

If ever there was a politician caught between a rock and a hard place it is Jeremy Corbyn. Seldom do you find a politician who possesses those rare qualities that aligns itself with a vision of what politics should be about. Corbyn cares for the vulnerable and needy, subscribes to the 'greater good' principle and dares to confront the social reality of inequality. Despite all this he is still unpopular and is not predicted to take Labour to victory.

So when the election was called on Tuesday 18 February why did Corbyn endorse it? Surely the safest option would have been to have refused to vote in support on the grounds that the Fixed Term Parliament Act 2011 was passed precisely for the reason that Prime Ministers would not be able to call elections when it suited them.

By forcing the Government to wait till 2020 would have given Corbyn enough time to prove that he can (or cannot) be a capable leader. A common defensive argument made in support of Corbyn is that he has not been given the time to prove himself seeing that a lot of his time has been taken up with internal fighting.

But is it as clear cut as that?

Corbyn is a case of 'doomed if you do and doomed if you don't. What this translates into is the fact that if Corbyn had refused to vote in support he would have faced a barrage of criticism under the headline of being an obstacle to democracy, never mind that he would have been following a democratic rule i.e the Parliament Act. People would have been blind to the fact that the PM has called the election to knock the opposition sideways and at such an angle that it would not be able to provide any substantive challenge her.

Corbyn then opts to support the election call and is called a turkey who votes for Christmas. He can do no right. While I do think that Corbyn has problems projecting himself as a leader much of the arguments against him have been media constructs. Like a stuck record the media play and replay the same old arguments such as Corbyn's supposed anti-semitism. He is starved of the oxygen of publicity while other politicians, in comparison, speak drivel and are given an easier time.

As an example, Corbyn is making social inequality a centre point of his election campaign but has not received praise for this even though the evidence is overwhelming that the equality gap between rich and poor is growing bigger by the day. On the other hand other politicians who bring the same topic up are seen as tackling the problem of a social ill.

Jeremy Corbyn is caught between a rock and a hard place if there ever was such a political situation.


Friday, 14 April 2017

A Good Friday prayer by a Liberal feminist mother

Dear Lord, I pray that the sacrifice of your son Jesus Christ will shine a light on the world on how much needs to be done by and for humankind to overcome the hate and prejudice that exists in our world. I pray that wars made in the name of religion will cease bcause your message was one of unity and not division.

When the Alt-Right claim a Judeo-Christian right to spread their message of racial hatred under the guise of 'Patriotism' please bring your light to shine on their vainglorious behaviour. Save those who do not subscribe to such misuse of your name from their intended consequences. Please save us from terrorists who wish to see so much lost.

I pray for guidance and the discernment of our world leaders who see their power base as a private matter and not one that carries enormous implications for people in every part of this globe that you made. May those who brainlessly cheer on these demagogues come to quickly realise that the phrase 'and then they came for me' applies to them too.

I pray for the children who suffer from terrorism, state sanctioned acts, state sanctioned retributions, poverty and abuse. You always implored Christian to seek and protect those who are most vulnerable. Children in the middle east are dying everyday. Children in western countries are suffering the effects of neoliberalism that favours the rich.

I pray for the safety and equality of women everywhere. Rape is a weapon of war and a weapon of the denigration of women. In the Western world rape happens in places where women are meant to be safe like in universities and in well lit roads. Your son revealed himself on the third day to a woman. It was a woman who was given the first privilege of proclaiming the rise of Christ. I pray for the equal status of women to be recognised and honoured in a big way.

Lastly, I pray that war will not break out in Asia, on the borders of Eastern Europe or anywhere else while our world leaders preen and strut and play golf knowing that no matter what happens they and their families will be safe, but not the rest of us.