I’m guessing (by that jumper I’m wearing) I was in my mid-thirties here and that therefore my mother was in her mid-seventies. She lived to be 89. But that was ten years ago now and tomorrow — 6th March — would have been her 99th birthday. Of course not many live to that great age.
She had some fascinating tales to tell — life on the farm and life below stairs and she’d gone from a world of ceramics and white enamelled buckets, to a world of plastics, from a world of home-made entertainment and radio to a world of television and computer, a world where man had walked on the moon — a world where she was able to travel to South Africa — from a world where servants did the work to a world where machines had come into service for ordinary people like herself.
Not that she was ordinary people! She liked Boy George and Stargate and Somewhere Over the Rainbow made her cry. She took us to every church in the town. Her favourite thing at school was English, especially writing stories! and she never cooked lamb. She had a whole clatter of we’ans of course as many women did in those days — 10 in all — of whom only 7 grew to adulthood and one of those pre-deceased her. That in itself is extraordinary to me — who was blessed with the choice to have none. Had she had the choice, perhaps I would not be here typing this…
Choice is what the modern world gives us. But take heed — choice only comes with socio-economic equality, sexual equality, racial equality and all manner of other equalities attached. The people of the past fought for these equalities!
Those in power today are trying to take away rights and services hard fought for by ordinary people to favour the wealthy elite. Because to the Tories, ordinary people are a burden their wealth will not afford. So in C21st Britain elderly and disabled people are being forced to leave their rented accomodations because they have an extra bedroom. The elderly people who live in Buckingham Palace aren’t going to be made to move out because of their extra bedrooms. And surely everyone ought to have the right to a spare room where a guest or relative can stay at need or just for Christmas?
Rich people’s graduate children aren’t made to work where they are told to or lose benefits — daddy pays of course! But to waste the abilities of graduates is an unconscionable farce.
Here in the Northeast, libraries are shutting. That has implications for education in communities where books are not always available at home. Leisure and arts are also under attack.
Who was it said that Capitalism wastes men and materials? — Oh aye, it was Marx.
Our society is becoming less equitable with each parliamentary decision made. These are backward steps.
My mother’s tales of below stairs were not of the romanticised TV Upstairs Downstairs variety, I can assure you.
Don’t dishonour the memory of the past by allowing those battles to be in vain. These people won us choice — people like Emily Wilding Davison who died 100 years ago and is buried here in Morpeth.
Think what legacy you are leaving your children.