I’d rant for a good hour or so. Here is some of what I’d say:
Stop blaming everyone you can think of for the riots, especially those who you think won’t argue back.
Stop touting ridiculous, draconian measures that you know will excite your supporters. (Where do you propose the families of rioters will go to live when they are evicted from their council homes?)
Stop saying this happened because of children who have no father.
By blaming the absent fathers, you’re saying that single mothers are doing a rubbish job.
If you think the children of single mothers are to blame for this, are you suggesting parents should stay together at all costs? Research conducted by Refuge* recently revealed that one in four women will be a victim of domestic violence at some point in her life. Don’t blame that on your ‘Broken Britain’ – it’s been happening since time began. Should these women shut up and stay put, for the sake of a ‘happy family’ and a tax break?
My son has no father. Sometimes, he interrogates me about where his daddy is and I can’t answer. All I can do is bring him up the way that seems best.
So far, it’s going well. A couple of weeks ago, my son won a trophy, for his outstanding attitude to school life. Last week, his sports teacher said he is ‘an absolute joy’ to teach. His school report described him as ‘a lovely, bright little boy’ who is ‘very well behaved’ and has ‘impeccable manners.’
I know there’s nothing worse than a parent boasting about how wonderful their child is, but there is a place for it here. Lots of other single mums are also raising lovely kids.
Don’t get me wrong, my son is only five. I know there’ll be trouble and angst in ten years from now. But he watched with horror when he recognised his local shops on fire on the news last week. I’d like to think that if he was fifteen when Salford Precinct, just down the road from us, was being looted, he wouldn’t have joined in.
My son hasn’t got a father, but he does have family and friends who love him dearly and help me endlessly. I know I am lucky to have so much moral and practical support – support which some parents, single or otherwise – simply do not have. Some parents struggle. This where brilliant projects like Reclaim come into play. We can help children to become leaders in their own communities, to realise their potential, to buck stereotypes, to have ambition. It works. Some of the most sense I have seen in the media about all of this has come from the young people of Reclaim.
I went back to university and finished my degree when my son was a baby. I don’t think I could have done that with the changes you have made to the system. Having a degree made me more employable and enabled me to get a good job. It was only then that I could afford to stop claiming child maintenance. I wouldn’t have been able to start claiming it in the first place had there been a charge of £100, plus money deducted from the rare fiver a week I got. That’s what you’re about to start doing. Charging people to claim child maintenance because they have ‘chosen’ not to come to an amicable arrangement is a spectacular example of the ignorance your government has for people living life as it really is.
I know I’m lucky Dave. I know my education has made it easier for me than it is for others, but what does that mean for the next generation?
Education just got more elitist. EMAs have gone. Degrees will cost 50k. There is no incentive for children to stay on at college. They are watching the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. They’re bored, they’re frustrated and they’re furious. They’re constantly told that massive tellies and flash trainers will make them look good but there is nothing to make them ever think that they will be able to obtain them. They feel like they’ve got nothing to lose.
There is no excuse for what people did to their own cities last week, but there are some explanations as to why it all began.
If Britain is broken, who broke it?
Last week didn’t happen because of single mums, but a lot of it was to do with you and your policies.
If I could speak to Dave, I’d say all of that and a whole lot more… I wonder if he’d listen.
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