I RETURN TO ONE OF MY FAVOURITE RANTS. What, exactly, is a “hard-working-family”? I don’t think I’m likely to get many answers from front-bench Conservative (UK) cabinet ministers. Nor am I likely to get too much from Labour’s ‘shadow’ front bench. Alan Johnson, regardless of many faults — we all have them — is probably one of the only leading Labour MPs who actually knows what a ”hard-working-family” is. What is a “hard-working-family”? Well … I think that my adoptive parents were “hard-working” — well … for ‘f**k’s sake they took me on and that was obviously “hard-work”. Especially when it came to paper-work — Christian socialists eh? — bloody useless! “Roland needs to start school.” “Yes … but he doesn’t officially exist. Call a taxi!” Forgive the artistic licence; I was only four or five years old for f**k’s sake. In some small cubby-hole in the district council’s offices I was officially declared ‘in existence’. Mercy me! Eric and Marjorie did work hard — if in a somewhat unorthodox fashion. They knew a good William Morris design when they saw it but were not so good in other matters. It was not until I was about seven year’s old that I was diagnosed with epilepsy. This occasion I do remember clearly. There were the three of us; Eric and Marjorie looked at each other, then they looked at me, and they looked at the neurologist. “What is epilepsy?” Good question! There are quite a few useful links in the left-hand column. I think that when I was a ‘teenager’ I may have murdered my adoptive parents — metaphorically — during some of my theatrical ‘stunts’ for the community college drama club. “Get down from there!” As I recall I was crawling down a scaffold wrapped in a brightly ‘dotted’ cloth. You would’ve had to have been there. Dadaist? Don’t take the piss!
What is this “hard-working-family”? Don’t even bother to ‘google’ it; it’ll be a waste of your precious time. Let’s start from the end and work backwards (no sexual innuendo intended).
• Family. Difficult one to start with I think you might agree! “Not like it was in the ‘old’ days.” A good thing too! What was mine like? Well … not very orthodox. If today’s Tory front-benchers have even an inkling of what a ‘family’ is they clearly never visited Valjean Crescent. Labour party voters on the Barry Drive estate would, literally, group at an anointed venue and march to the polling station, arm-in-arm. I was there; I witnessed the spectacle! A sight for sore eyes. I’d call that solidarity; others may describe it as stupidity. Perhaps it was a combination of both. I was, as far as I’m aware, the first independent socialist to be elected to Kirby Muxloe Parish Council. The ‘Barry Drive’ estate — choc-a-bloc — with “hard-working-families” came out in force and chose me to ‘represent’ them for the Hinckley Road ward. Hinckley Road? Well … It goes to Hinckley. It’s the A47 if you prefer. Let’s get up-to-date. Families today do not match the ‘model’ that UK coalition government ministers might like. However, they are living in ‘cloud-cuckoo-land’. Single parent families; mainly women as principal parent/carer, sometimes men. They are still a family — no more or less dysfunctional than a ‘model’ two-parent family. Complications may occur. What on earth do you expect?
• Hard-working. Eric and Marjorie were both music teachers. Sounds a ‘touch’ petite-bourgeoisie doesn’t it. If you had heard what they were capable of getting a group of kids to produce you would understand what ‘hard-work’ was! La, la, la? Get stuffed! I was brought up surrounded by such people; skilled labourers, ‘posties’, local shop workers (always a good source for gossip). How many of today’s UK members of parliament know what a ‘hard-days-work’ is? Perhaps I should take one of these front bench ministers out to a ‘conflict zone’. They’d quickly learn what ‘hard-work’ is — as long as they didn’t get their leg blown to pieces ✪
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