In the Swim

I have been finding it tougher than ever to combine study and being a mother. The MA is absorbing and I am learning plenty but struggling to find the time to do it justice.

Sam is settled into school and enjoying it immensely but is also exhausted, needing his mum’s attention, as a four-year-old should. As well as my own paperwork I now have a file for school forms and am way behind with Sam’s school ‘admin’ and need to buy material for and make him a King costume for his nativity play.

Mothers everywhere are doing the same juggle in varying formations the world over. As we ride one financial crisis after another, not knowing whether we will sink or swim, only being sure of being sold out on a daily basis, literally, by our current ‘Call Me Dave’ poor excuse for a government, I can only feel lucky to be where I am and be grateful that I can continue to study for now…

This time last year I was diagnosed with post-viral fatigue, also known as M.E or chronic fatigue syndrome. I’ve never felt so poorly in my life, or concerned about if and when I would recover. I seem to be ok  – if I get tired I am more likely to stop or have an early night. I have more or less given up gardening this year, cut back on the booze and caffeine and tried to live a more steady life and all of those things have helped.

In the last few weeks I’ve started going swimming again and it’s been fantastic to do some proper physical exercise. I swam twenty lengths this afternoon and came up with the structure of a new, long poem I am currently working on, and a few lines of verse too. Swimming as poetry methodology-who knew?

And Happy Birthday to William Blake.

Nadine Dorries “I am pro-choice and pro-women’s rights” Really?!

Take a deep breath before you read this by Dorries in the Daily Mail today-it goes for the emotional jugular- and then imagine how you would feel if you had to have ‘independent’ counselling of the kind Dorries is advocating. Dorries thinks there are too many abortions happening and the amount could be reduced significantly if this second tier is introduced:

Dorries: “I am pro-choice and pro-women’s rights”

Now think about the ‘support’ being offered to mothers by this ‘government’: cuts in housing benefit, cuts in support for childcare costs, cuts in working tax credits, forcible return to work that doesn’t exist, benefits taken away completely, scapegoated if you are a single parent for all the ills of ‘broken Britain’…

Here is a quote from a recent Daily Mirror piece on what the ‘coalition’ have done for women:

“..Since coming to power the Coalition has cut the childcare element of tax credits, abolished the health in pregnancy grant, raised the threshold for child benefit and put hundreds of sure start centres at risk.

Chancellor George Osborne’s deficit reduction plan is taking £4.20 a week on average from men and £8.40 a week from women says Labour’s equality spokeswoman Yvette Cooper. Campaigners say women are also unfairly penalised by the Government’s cuts to public services. Women make up 65% of the workforce in schools, hospitals and local government. And in the NHS 73% of the staff are women…”

Mixed messages?

Here are two extracts from Zoe Williams’s recent interviewing Dorries:

“It’s only a few days since I heard Anne Marie Carrie, chief executive of Barnardo’s, bemoan the fact that the proposed universal benefit cap will actively force large families to split up and live as two households. “I’d want to check that before I commented on it,” Dorries says. But it’s obviously true: if you cap benefits by household, it’s only logical that a family with, say, four children, would be better off as two single-parent units of two children each. “Well, Iain Duncan Smith would never introduce a benefit that would break up a family,” she insists. “I know Iain well, and everything he champions, pursues, pushes, is to create and support and reinforce relationships.” So that’s all right then.”

And this-

“…To return to those measures: moving guideline responsibility on abortions from the RCOG (Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists) to Nice sounds fine, but validates the claim that the RCOG is motivated by profit and not female welfare, which I am amazed members are not more furious about. I’m also surprised they’re not better defended in parliament, because it is a slur. In any case, it’s not their fault we keep getting pregnant by accident. They bust a gut to give us contraception. This “independent counselling” amendment insults the BPAS and other abortion providers on the same grounds. I remain sceptical Dorries really is pro-choice, and I’m even more sceptical 20 weeks is really the limit she’d like to stop at. She is eroding the good name of people who support abortion and, if she succeeds, this will leave women’s rights, in years to come, poorly defended…”

We can’t let this happen. Women fought long and hard for reproductive rights and health…there are good reasons for the system we have currently in place. Don’t let it slip…write to your MP today- this could be voted on next week!

In my opinion this is just another part of this ‘government’s’ concerted attack on women.

Time to fight back!

Click here and spend 2 minutes telling your MP what you think.

Memo of a Demo

Kids smoking rollups

Looking cool with filters

Pushing a butcher’s bike

Stuffed with subwhoofers

“Fuck You I won’t Do What You Tell Me”

The protest posse posing for the long lens of the press pack

Do they know that demos are meant to fizzle like a sparkler

And then it’s time to go home

Job done, it’s been fun

Light the touch paper of democracy

A process hard won

If it looks like it’s gone out don’t go back-

It could explode onto the front page,

And riot rozzers are all the rage in this

Day and age

Legal Observer in orange gives me a bust card

“In case you get arrested”

Me, a 40 year old mum,

With a four year old son

I know what a bust card is

From way back when

But I never got caught up in any bother then.

As I leave Parliament Square lines of hi-viz cops

Become backdrops for tourists pics- memo of a demo

I clock the riot gear in the vans as I walk back across Westminster bridge

This poem was written in response to attending the strike rally at Westminster, a demonstration against proposed changes to public sector pensions and retirement age.

It was performed on the same evening of the strike.

For more information click here.

Entered into One Shot Wednesday at the fantastic One Stop Poetry site.

Comprehensive spending review

After your tea of cauliflower cheese

We count out blueberries

You say “that’s eight blueberries”

I say “it’s five” and we both laugh

And share a banana

And a muffin with fluorescent pink cherries

That i’m sure are not good for you

And have hugs on the sofa

I read you bedtime stories after your bath and

While you sleep I wonder where

We will end up and whether my plans will

Bear fruit after the news of this

Comprehensive spending review?

I can’t sleep.