Food Banks Bad, Welfare Good?

I haven’t written a new blog for a while (would love to say I’ve been incredibly productive elsewhere, but…) and technically I haven’t written one today. However, I did find myself getting a leetle bit annoyed by the tone of an article I read online about benefit ‘dependency’, to the point that I started typing a short, swift reply. That short swift reply turned into, hem hem, a bit of a soapbox rant, so for those who like – or at least have a passing interest in – soapbox rants, this is what I wrote:

I think the word ‘dependency’ being used here is disingenuous. It has many negative connotations (drug dependency, alcohol dependency, etc) that by implication stigmatise the ‘dependents’, and redesignate them architects of their own misfortune, which is simply not the case. Drug and alcohol dependency are not simply lifestyle choices and neither is poverty – the reasons they happen are complex and myriad, many of them being social and situational and having little to do with personal choice. Generalisations about the causes and effects are misleading and unhelpful…

That people in poverty are forced to rely on welfare – whether money or food parcels – is a growing reality of our times, but it’s not because they view the welfare state as “an entirely benign force for good in their lives and not something from which they should be parted” or because they have “divested responsibility for themselves.” They are in poverty because they have no jobs (or extremely badly paid jobs) and/or are unable to work for personal reasons. Those are the social and situational causes, and poverty and welfare reliance is the effect. Continue reading

A Blog About Worms and Scars…

It’s been a while since I posted a proper ‘blog’ rather than just linking to a piece of prose or a poem, so… 

That said, this is another recycled one from my old website, originally published just over a couple of years ago. It should be new to my reader(s) here, though, and there’s nothing particularly time-sensitive in the content needing wider explanation. It is, like many of my blogs, just nostalgic ‘family life’ waffle, so if that’s not your thang feel free to go and peruse the other areas of the site instead! 

I was talking on the phone this morning and pretty much out of nowhere the conversation turned to that scene from Jaws where they all sit around and play Top Trumps by comparing their scars. Well I got to thinking about it, and while I’ve never been bumped by a shark with sandpaper-like skin or bitten by a moray eel while pearl diving in the Bahamas (I wrote a song about that: “When you swim in the sea and an eel bites your knee that’s a Moray…”…) I have got quite an extensive scar collection that would probably have given Quint a run for his money prior to his acquisition of that dirty great big one that circumnavigated his body and met in the middle. That said, I’m not sure that ‘bitten in half’ actually qualifies as a scar anyway, so maybe I’d get to keep the trophy after all?

Anyway, here’s the story of my first scar… Continue reading