A letter a day to number 10. No 1,506
Friday 29 July 2016.
Dear Mrs May,
In my letter of 26th July I wrote that we are ‘patronised and even despised for our modest lives’. Just writing that I knew it was a subject I needed to come back to.
My life is a small life, lived from a small space and place. No £millions here. Thank goodness. I’ve never aspired to that nonsense.
As it happens, there is nothing wrong with modest lives and modest living, but that is exactly what is being brutally attacked.
There has been a relentless campaign against us and I am not immune from its insidious power. In a few days I will lose my vehicle, which, as someone with mobility difficulties, is a cause of enormous anxiety and distress. I literally do not know what I am going to do, but here’s the thing, the worst of it is that I feel ashamed in a way I never have before. It is a shame based on fear of deliberately targeted brutality.
In an area and indeed a country where so many are struggling just to get by and doubtless also shamed and fearful, I am ashamed of having such a need. And that feeling comes right from the top, a measure of the success of the war on poor and vulnerable people.
I have no reason to be ashamed, especially living in rural Britain, or of having restricted mobility. But here it is, it’s crept in, promoted by maliciously vicious politicians and a maliciously predatory media intent on shaming our lives. As Guardian writer Barbara Ellen put it, “How shaming the poor became our new bloodsport.” “How long would it take,” she asked, “for “poor-shaming” to embed itself in the national psyche as borderline normal?” The answer is six years, from 2010.
I loathe that it has got inside me, that it has risen unbidden and certainly unwanted, promoted by shamelessly evil people, such that it should be treated as a hate crime and the worst of it is that it’s just a PR campaign to undermine us, a way to inflict policies that no civilised society would tolerate for one moment without that relentless campaign. This is what David Cameron, George Osborne, Iain Duncan Smith (“Poor-Shamer General” – Barbara Ellen), David Freud, Esther McVey, Priti Patel and many others, including the mainstream media, have achieved, wilfully, deliberately and with malicious intent. It is a pernicious evil that is going to take years to undo, it has dragged us into a gutter world of lies and violence, and it is utterly unforgivable.