I didn’t want to share the contents of those emails, certainly not publicly. I live in fear of my daughter reading them. I have had a few messages about them, and I thought I would say this., I know that stuff sounds brutal and am not going to lie, brutal does not even begin to sum it up and it wasn’t all the elite left, they compounded a problem. Shit happens. And it happened.
The reason austerity was always going to hit me hardest was I am a care leaver. I don’t have the same structures other people have and so when I hit periods in my life where I earn less, retirement, childbearing, I am more or less guaranteed to need state support. That decision was made for me a long time ago. I know that for some of you reading you think that what you read is awful but it’s not compared to other people. I have a brain the size of a planet I went into the family courts unrepresented yes, but not without a clue. I knew the legislation and familiar with those courtrooms even if my new role within them was a shock. In the nicest possible way, I was raised in abject poverty and my mothers poverty it turned out taught me everything I needed to know. I am not going to say the last seven years haven’t been grim, they have. But i ended them with a masters degree from LSE, because resilience factors like above average cognitive abilities did what they always do for me, provided a safety net and that was a fluke of biology. The question is not me, but what happens when that isnt the case.
Nothing described in those emails was uncommon, food scarcity, the family courts shit, poverty, homelessness, that’s what austerity did. Except it didn’t just do it to women with a degree, and te ability to climb out of it. It did it to people who won’t ever recover, it did it to people who never had a single chance to do what I get to do all the time. Austerity has given me a great deal, I understand my mother and feel like I got her back, I found out what am capable of and what I can withstand, and I managed to get to LSE and do that and we all know what that means. There are women I know who won’t see their kids again till they are 18, and people whose health won’t ever recover from the the way the DWP terrorised tem when they were sick, social workers working in situations where they were utterly fucking helpless as their departments were destroyed and they watched their jobs become coercive. refuges turn away hundreds and hundreds of people, we should have refuge beds available and that’s the bottom of line of chaos. We should have entire systems functioning and we don’t. Every means women had to leave abuse was taken, that meant women were trapped and still are. The people who were already on the bottom they got squashed when people like me were thrown down there. The people already on the fringes who used the foodbanks got pushed out by the making of the mainstream food bank. They still exist.
I would like to be able to say that the stuff that is referred to in those emails is remarkable or makes me remarkable. In fact it makes me lucky, because there was never a question throughout that time of me not being ok and coming out of it ok, with many people there was no chance of making it through intact at all. What the left have done to me is savage, and that on top of this was unbearable sometimes. BUt by and large I was always going to be alright.
If you are shocked by those emails, I am sorry you shouldn’t be. That’s what happened to people. I wasn’t the only woman in the family courts, there was a reason I was in tears when Peter Kyle stood in Parliament. Most of those women lost and because they lost they got hurt or their kids did. The DWP is mangled and not functioning and I have to sleep at night knowing we really don’t have a child protection system at the minute and what that means for the children in it, and the children who need to be in it and the children who should not be in it. I may not have kinship arrangements like most people but am connected to those people and those systems. I do appreciate that you may have found those emails shocking reading but really they were not shocking, not shocking enough at all and the only thing shocking about those emails is the number of people whe lived this who won’t recover. Who won’t walk out with a masters or a child whose development wasn’t impacted. If you are thinking I’m remarkable for just making it through that, that was systems that did that and if I had to many others did. If I was remarkable then many were not as lucky. I can guarantee you that my peers from those systems, they didn’t fare as well. At all. They never got chance to be remarkable cos the hand they were dealt said drowning was all there was available.