Last night the big lad and I went back to his High School for the evening .. yes! we are actually on our summer Holidays at the moment and we chose to go back to school for the evening.
My wee lad …. met a wee lassie ……….
………….. now for those of you who don’t live in Scotland .. the lady in the lovely green jacket is our First Minister …. the equivalent of other country’s Prime Minister. “Oor Nicola” as we call her .. or Nicola Sturgeon as the press refer to her.
Actually the press tend to refer to her in not very flattering ways …. all I will say is she is bright and powerful lady and the press tend to be “White, Male and Upper Middle Class”. Politics aside they would hate her – add in the politics then she is referred to as “the most dangerous woman in Britain”
Aye! all five foot four and eight stone of her LOL
However – misogynistic attitudes aside I just wanted to give you a flavour of how we “Do politics” here in a small, damp Northern European country of about 5.5 million people.
The politicians get in their cars and they come to your town and hold cabinet meetings in any place big enough – community centres, church halls and schools.
Can you imagine the American Senate doing that? Can you imagine the Secret Service letting the President rock up in his car and walk into a hall and start conversations?
In fact – can you imagine the Prime Minister doing this? Can you imagine him ever turning up and actually talking to people just like us and answering the questions we want answered?
I can’t on either .. not that Scotland is a special case. Many European countries have a set up just like ours … politicians seen as ordinary people doing a job and interacting with their constituents. I confess I like it – I like people feeling that they can be involved in the decisions that shape their lives …. Politics being something you engage with not something that is done to you.
However – interesting though a little snippet into the rather odd political culture in Scotland is – enough of the preamble.
Today has been all about “Benefit Cuts” …. a deluge of them. Hundreds of emails and contacts from people living here in my area absolutely terrified that in the Westminster “Emergency Budget” tomorrow they are going to see their family incomes slashed.
People frantic with worry, living on the very financial edge by trying to work on zero hours contracts or minimum wage jobs petrified that they won’t be able to feed their kids.
All day …..and it’s been exhausting!!! And it’s been depressing .. because until we know exactly where these 12 billion pounds worth of cuts are going to fall tomorrow we can’t even make reassuring noises never mind offering up solutions.
Our desks are cleared – our phones are charged and we have arranged a place to watch the budget as it starts at 12.30 … and never have I felt so down about what I am about to experience. Tomorrow I fear that it will be those that can least afford to bear it that will be asked to shoulder the bulk of these cuts.
It will be the single parents, the under 25’s, those who work hard but don’t earn enough to keep a home running, carers, the disabled and the elderly…. and I am not sure where we will find the solutions.
Except that I know we will have to .. like we do here in tackling our debts!! We will roll our sleeves up, pull our BGK’s on and set to work trying to make life better in any way we can.
Its going to be a rocky one and we are going to need all the skills we have shared over the last few years to see us through.. but together we will … no-one gets left behind here!!! Pull out your spreadsheets and input any cuts that are coming. Get real about how little you may have to live on and change your plan … but don’t give up .. please don’t ever give up …. your strength gives me strength and that gives me the courage to reach out and help other people right here in my own community who need a wee hand-up … not a hand-out.
So … be brave .. and lets cross our fingers tomorrow is kind to those who need our help.