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Poverty is in my blood! / 23 June 2011

a series of black and white photos of the authors family and a steel girder bridge

Pictures: Top left: Mum & Aunty Anna, Middle: Great Aunty Annie & Cousin Annette, Right: Sister Susan and Mary. Bottom: Steel Girder Bridge under Arkwright Street with thanks to the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland.

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In doing research for my next story, ‘Smoke’ I discovered that people with Cerebral Palsy are more likely to be born into disadvantaged families, as this report illustrates, Unhealthy lives: Links between Child Poverty and Poor Health. We all know this but I have never linked it to my own childhood experiences:

Poverty is in my blood, like smoke from the endless roll-ups my family consumed; I still smell it sometimes oozing from my skin. Somehow, I find it comforting; I’m proud of my family and our Working Class roots.

The Recession is an excuse!
Society hasn’t addressed the causes of poverty in relation to Disabled People and the recession is a convenient excuse to do even less. This ‘blame culture’ that the Tory government has adopted around benefits and unemployment is a smoke screen for their own inability to understand the real causes of poverty; society’s inability to imagine and create a world that allows us to live equal lives.

It’s no good trying to break the glass ceiling if the accessible bus to work only goes one way or the boss demands 100% all the time when you know you’re only able to give 50% sometimes but then a 150% when you need to.

Who’s Problem is It, Anyway?
In the trailer for his film, The Beaten, Simon Mckeown, reflects back at us, our very real fears in Liz Carr’s brilliant performance of total imprisonment. It conjures up nightmarish scenes in my own imagination. How will society deal with the perceived problem of disability? A problem largely created by social policy made by the rich and powerful?

Keywords: creative writing,disadvantaged families,discrimination,politics,poor laws,poverty