In 2010, as a single parent, it became apparent that austerity was going to target single parents. MY mother had been a single parent, giving birth to me in 1978 at the birth of Thatcherism and the trajectory that accelerated during austerity, was trialled throughout my childhood, as the estates I grew up on(there were many) were systematically attacked and turned into demonised matriarchies.
I have always been politically aware, and through working at the DWP and then as a social worker, my personal understanding of the intersection of politics, economics, social policy, was contextualised with a professional experience and theory base which ensured I was fully aware of what would happen. I wrote a guide to delivering public service cuts, several months before the election which turned out to be quite prescient. As Labour and their poppets got ready to capitalise on austerity and exploit the feelings of the anti-cuts movement, I was picked up by Guardian to write about my perspective. I was invited to an event called Netroots, which I naiively attended. This is what I said. I said that welfare reform, social care cuts and social work cuts were subject to political consensus and outlined how false left/right tribalism in the political media served to sell this.
I was so threatening at the event I had been invited to speak at, that I travelled to at my own expense, that Jessica Assato, Jennifer Mahony and Sunny Hundal concocted a smear against me, which Ellie Mae O Hagan put on the New Left Project. The labour blogosphere then went on to whitewash the cuts I discussed and the effect, and there was no mention of welfare reform the Tories were pushing through within the Labour blogosphere for quite some time. While Ian Duncan Smith showed how vicious the tories would be on the people and areas I spoke about, if he had no opposition.
From that point on I critiqued the centre left and the left and their role in selling austerity. I did this eloquently. articulately and as austerity developed and I watched people around me crushed under the weight and tried to keep upright, I continued to do so. The blog I kept was then shortlisted for an Orwell Prize. I was smeared when the New Statesman validated a women who had been stalking me and my family for several years, with the assistance of a man local to me, with Mehdi Hassan and Helen Lewis both fully aware of the effect on my and my family.
At that time, Owen Jones was using the twitter bubble that was feted as the way to oppose the cuts, to publicise his book, ‘Chavs; A demonisation of the working class’. I had naiively thought that Owen didn’t know that his colleagues and friends were whitewashing austerity, and politely on several occasions tried to explore with him the problems with the narrative in his book. Which was largely a discussion of broadsheet editorial, left and right, which had served to disenfranchise the very people he spoke about. Rather than discussing Labour movement indifference to the women, the sick, the ill, and the unemployed who fell outside the Labour movement and the preservation of labour movement fiction in disenfranchising the estates I grew up on, Owen’s book chose to paint those people as our saviours.
I am a chav, have always been a chav, and am fairly proud of where I come from.
After several months of trying to engage with Owen, only to receive gaslighting, abuse, or have him hold up a straw man he could knock down so he didn’t have to engage with my substantive critiques, I realised my initial belief that he was not aware of the effect of what he did was wrong.
However, as I am not an unpleasant person I did the following. When I received updates about his facebook feed, on my facebook as a result of the message in the last blog post on here, I blocked him as I assumed he would not want me to see these as they were private. When I was invited to attend an IPPR event in Manchester, where he would also be in attendance, I declined the invitation, because I didn’t want to make him uncomfortable. I notified him of this.
As he had blocked me on twitter and he could not see my tweets, I used his twitter id to tag my critiques of how the centre left were selling austerity before my eyes, often noting how his particular narrative was clearly disingenous, confident that he could not see my tweets at all. As he claimed validity on the basis of twitter, this was valid political action. I was subjected to repeated abuse his followers, as he showboated to them knowing I could not respond, and he watched as i was abused by his followers.
I continued to include his id in conversations about the effect of the narrative he sold, as he had established he was a media entity. You can see posts deconstructing centre left narratives he has sold, throughout this blog. I refused to write for the Guardian and turned down all media opportunities as i did not want to contribute to the hardship suffered by those around me. I have been very open about trolling Owen as the point in our political media machinery which claims to speak for those he disenfranchises.
I recently christened him Midget Jones. Which I think was very funny.
This morning Owen accused me of stalking him, and other people, presumably using the platform he once feted as a way for ‘working class people’ to make their voices heard. Presumably not my voice.
Twitter is a tool I do not only use to deconstruct the left and centre left, who have placed me and my family at risk on several occasions, but a tool I use to pick up work.
His defamation of me comes after he has refused every single opportunity to discuss the very substantive criticisms of him i have made. Valid criticisms about the imposition of labour movement fiction and false left right tribalism, on austerity which is largely about the intersection of economic inequality, social policy and political narratives on the people he claims to speak for.
I have always accused Owen of having no first hand experience on which to base his false narrative about the demonisation of the working class. I now know that is not true. Owen is willing to demonise the working class, if the Chavs he writes about dare to point out the effect of the false narrative he sells. And as he finds it increasingly difficult to justify his position as a triangulation point selling Labour austerity, he will resort to defamation of character and attempting to undermine the reputation of the Chavs he speaks of, even knowing they are in poverty, if it threatens his career.
Far from being upset about his defamation this morning. I can only conclude his disingenuousness as he fakes shock when Labour confirm what I outlined at Netroots, repeatedly, is deliberate. And he does know about the Demonisation of the Working Class and like his peers is willing to do what is necessary to perpetuate it.
I apologise to Owen for my blindingly brilliant and eloquent critique of the way the centre left worked together to sell austerity for Labour and thank him for this morning’s demonstration. Sincerely and from the bottom of my heart.
As austerity continues to target the people around me, I will continue with this critique, and will be continuing to use Owen as a vignette to demonstrate.