5 articles Tag Tories

NO MORE TOREEN! An Alternative Malt Loaf Recipe by Mummy Pat

malt loafMy friend Sarah is awesome. I’ve known her since I was 11, when we were united through a shared love of Friends and Oasis and although we rarely see each other, she’s one of the people I’d really miss if I ever did the unthinkable and quit Facebook. Amazingly, she seems to be one of only a small bunch of girls from our school who is a dyed-in-the-wool Leftie, although not really that amazingly since we went to a particularly snotty all-girls grammar school, populated mostly by girls from upper-middle-class-pull-the-ladder-up-behind-you types. Also, not all that amazingly because Sarah was raised by her Mum, Pat, who is about as awesome and righteous as it gets and so she was bound to turn out pretty bloody brilliant.

Since the news broke that the Tories would be dictating to us all again for the next 5 years, it’s become apparent that there are several brands who are big donors to the Conservative party and now loads of people have decided to boycott those brands, one of which being Soreen, as revealed in an article in The Mirror a couple of months ago.

Anyway, being the super amazing lady that she is, Mummy Pat has decided that she won’t be buying oppressive patriarchal malt loaf anymore and has allowed me to share her recipe for homemade malt loaf which, as a bonus, won’t try to strip you of your human rights. Here’s the recipe:

5.0 from 1 reviews
Mummy Pat's Amazing Tory-Free Malt Loaf
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Baking
Serves: Depends how thick you cut it!
Ingredients
  • 1 MUG ALL BRAN
  • 1 MUG SULTANAS
  • 1 MUG SUGAR
  • 1 MUG MILK
  • 1 EGG
  • 1 TEASPOON MIXED SPICE
Instructions
  1. Add all of the ingredients to a LARGE bowl as the mixture swells
  2. Leave overnight, covered with a plate or tea towel
  3. When ready to cook, place mixture in a lined loaf tin
  4. Cook in the centre of an oven, preheated to gas mark 3/140 Fan Oven/160 Conventional Oven for around 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean when poked into the middle
  5. Leave to cool and enjoy with lashings and lashings of butter

Eat and enjoy, safe in the knowledge that you won’t be contributing to the Tory coffers! Thanks Pat!

In The Wake of the General Election. #GE2015

It’s been a funny old weekend. I woke up on Friday morning before 5, feeling like I’d had concrete poured into my stomach and couldn’t get back to sleep again because my brain was racing. HOW could this have happened? How could the country have voted the Conservatives in again for another 5 years? Over the course of the morning, my fear turned to anger. I couldn’t see how a vote for Blue was anything other than self-serving and utterly lacking compassion and social conscience and so I made a declaration. I took to Facebook and wrote this:

Capture12

Yeah. I know. Pretty divisive.

My reasoning behind such a statement was that I genuinely cannot see how I have a single thing in common with someone who would willingly vote the Conservatives back into government. I can’t get my head around real, actual people thinking that the Tories can do anything but serious harm to this country. Anyone who can look at how ill and disabled people have been forced back into work, how the NHS is desperately over stretched, how the rich have been given tax cuts while the poorest of us are being fined for having too many bedrooms in our homes, are not people I’m happy to call my friends.

In the following hours, I had a lot of backlash. I had people calling me names, suggesting that I was ‘pathetic’ and ‘small-minded’, I had people outright challenging me to stand by my statement and then having tantrums when I did. I had another blogger (who, I must say, I really barely know) start a whole new thread on her own Facebook page, inviting people to agree with her on how despicable I was for removing her as a friend because of our conflicting views.

All in all, I’ve now got 20 less friends through Facebook than I had this time on Thursday. I know because before I posted the status above I took a note of my numbers, just for the sake of science. Many of them are people I’ve known since school, girls who’ve known me since I was 11 years old, and some are other bloggers. People were really quick to tell me that I was wrong and a few tried to defend their reasons for voting Tory, saying that they thought the Tories represented what was best for them and their families. Hardly anyone tried to engage me in a reasonable debate, rather choosing to call me a bigot and an idiot.

I’ve got to say, I don’t think I’ve ever been more disillusioned than I am now. For me, the Conservatives represent everything that is wrong with this country. I simply cannot get my head and my heart to reconcile the fact that so many people are willing to see the death of the NHS, the repeal of the Human Rights Act and so many other key tenets of what makes this country great. All I can see is that the people who have voted Tory have happily taken from the state, in the form of healthcare, emergency services, education and cushy Government funded jobs, and then pulled the ladder up behind them. What’s that old phrase? Oh yeah…”I’m alright, Jack”.

One person, someone I’d previously liked and respected, told me she’d voted Tory because if Labour had got in, the proposed Mansion Tax would have prevented her and her Husband from buying the lavish new property they’d had their eye on, while another said that, because her Husband was a Letting Agent, the Labour proposal to cap letting agent fees (fees which have got so high as to be utterly prohibitive in recent years, forcing families into unregulated slum housing) would mean they could no longer afford their lifestyle. If that’s not a massive “FUCK YOU” to the rest of our country, I don’t know what is.

Being willing to watch families stand in queues at food banks because they can’t afford to eat and old ladies dying of hypothermia because they can’t afford to heat their homes, for the sake of your own prosperity, shows a complete lack of humanity.

I’ve done a lot of soul-searching over the past few days to try to work out how seemingly decent people can so happily drop the axe on everyone else for their own gain. My poor Husband (a paid-up member of The Green Party) has been a sounding board for most of it, and although his politics are in line with my own, he’s able to be a little less ‘black and white’ about things than I am. He’s of the opinion that good people can still vote Tory and that there’s been too much misinformation by the press, manipulating the moderate middle to believe that the Tories have their best interests at heart. Hard working people who don’t have time to research policies, people who come home and read the Murdoch-poisoned rags and believe what they’re seeing.

I can’t say that I’m entirely buoyed by the thought that, of the people who voted Tory, half of them did so out of selfishness and greed and the other half did so because of their utter lack of research. I’ve only been on this planet for 30 short years, but I think it’s safe to say that this has been the most information-rich General Election to ever have been run. There have been websites inviting people to test their opinions against policies to see where their actual values should lead their affiliations and yet people are still voting blindly. I’ve heard untold people say that they voted for the Tories because their parents did, or because their Husbands did. Sister Suffragette, I think not…Mrs. Banks

I’m not suggesting that every single person who voted Tory did so out of either stupidity or selfishness, but not one person yet has managed to give me a reason for their vote which I’ve been able to get my head around, or reconcile with them also being a good person.

The one good thing that’s come of this is that I’ve sorted my own political affiliations in my head. In the run up, I was wavering between Labour and Green, but ultimately went for Labour as I had strong faith in Milliband and his genuine socialist views. In the wake of him leaving the party, I’ve come to the conclusion that New Labour isn’t quite the socialist party across the board that I had hoped it was, and as of this week will be a paid up member of the Green Party. There’s a meeting in a coffee shop locally next week which Husband and I are hoping to attend as I’m done with being an keyboard warrior, I want to get out and actually act. I’m also now part of a few online groups of women who are banding together as a sisterhood against Conservative rule. I genuinely think we’ve got the power to make a huge change.

I was also hugely relieved to see the protests in London, despite ALL of the major news sources refusing to give it coverage. In the run-up to the election, I actually said to Husband “there’ll be riots if the Tories get in”, and then had to face the sinking realisation that if they DID get in it would be because the majority of people wanted them in power and therefore probably wouldn’t be unhappy about it. So to see that there were plenty of others as unhappy as me has given me hope, albeit small in the face of another 5 years of right-wing oppression.

To the 20 friends I’ve lost in the wake of this election: I’m sorry that things had to be this way. I’m sure you did what you thought was right for YOU. Unfortunately, I’m more interested in what’s right for everybody and I just cannot carry on pretending that it’s okay to screw everyone else over for your own gain.

If you’re interested, there’s a list below of posts and articles that I’ve found really interesting and informative over the past few days. Please also link me to anything you’ve found useful in the comments below:

Chrisopher Everard: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200525108166139&set=a.1179223136677.19518.1711111543&type=1

Dissapointed Idealist: https://disidealist.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/that-wasnt-an-election-result-it-was-a-5-year-prison-sentence/

Douglas Hine: http://dougald.nu/the-only-way-is-down-18-notes-on-the-uk-election/

Green Party Women: http://greenpartywomen.org.uk/news/2015/04/10/green-party-candidates-campaign-to-lift-ban-on-job-share-mps-begins/

The Independant: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/every-major-british-political-party–except-the-conservatives–currently-led-by-a-woman-10238390.html

The Ramblings of a Formerly Rock and Roll Mum:  http://www.rocknrollmum.com/2015/05/general-election-outcome-my-dads-thoughts.html

Bright Green: http://bright-green.org/2015/05/09/ge2015-left-you-feeling-1-dejected-and-disappointed-2-exhausted-3-relieved-read-on/

Another Angry Voice: http://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/asset-stripping-bankrupt-britain.html and http://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/austerity-is-con.html

Lest We Forget

As with most people, I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I love how it can spark and nurture debate and communication, I love how it can bring people together and I love how easy it is to find a friend when you need it most, long nights with colicky babies or times when you just need to click the ‘like’ button to know you aren’t the only one and someone out there does relate.

I don’t know if it’s just indicative of the way the world is at the moment, or maybe it’s just because of who I choose to follow, but my timeline has become a lot more politcised of late. I see a lot of meme-style photos and captions which make a point in a funny way and I share a lot of them too as I think other people will appreciate them. The cost in doing this is that everyone has the right to share and not everyone shares my politics, so there’s an element of tolerance all-round (unless you just hide people…).

In the last week, since the death of Margaret Thatcher, Facebook has been awash with hyperbole and opinion from all sides of the debate, but I’ve noticed a growing number of people using the “You weren’t even alive” argument with regards to other people’s opinion on her. I know I’m probably going to upset people I know by saying this, but I’m aghast at this attitude.

At the risk of going all Godwin’s Law on your asses, you have an opinion on Hitler, right? Were you born after 30th April 1945? I know using Hitler as an example is real ‘lowest common denominator’ stuff, but he’s as good an historical figure as any to use to make a point.

I thought that the point of teaching history was to observe and learn from the past? Do we now just teach things to kids and expect them to have no opinion on them? Fine, the people in your timeline weren’t standing on the picket lines with the miners, they weren’t the first in the dole queue and they may not have punched a copper in the poll tax riots, but if the passing of the most divisive British political figure is what it takes to make people give a shit, shouldn’t this be commended?

As a person in their late twenties, I like to think that I’m not SO far off the planet in terms of ‘the kids of today’, and I can say that I genuinely worry about the disenfranchised generations that are bringing up the ranks behind me. The majority of them may never vote because they feel that NO political party understands them or has their interests at heart. What these young people need is something to make them realise that a change needs to be made. They need to be able to look at our history and feel passionate about something and while it may seem like bandwagon-jumping to people in their 40’s and 50’s, these are important times and things could be headed right back to where they were in the 80’s, unless we do something about it.

The phrase ‘Lest We Forget’ comes from the poem ‘Recessional’ by Rudyard Kipling and is generally used in reference to the soliders who were lost during the First World War, urging younger generations to remember the sacrifice made by these brave men and women, but it is something that should be applied here too. The sentiment is the same; learn from the mistakes of others and be grateful for sacrifices made on your behalf.

So, just for the record, I was born in 1984. I wasn’t politically conscious when Thatcher was in power but I sure as hell have an opinion on it, and of that you should be glad.

Modern Britain?

I was nosing around Husband’s desk last week and I found, as I often do, a scrap of paper with a doodle on it. I always love his doodles but I thought this one was very poignant, given the current political climate, and has a huge heap of cynicism to it.

(excuse the slightly blurry photo, I had the HDR setting on my phone and must have moved at the last second!)

Too Average for Education.

Back in 2009, I decided that I wanted to use my experiences with Sausage’s birth to help other people in a similar position. I realised that I probably wouldn’t be allowed to do that without qualifications, so I embarked on some formal education in the form of a Psychology degree with the Open University. Despite not having A-levels, I was able to complete an access course which eased me into higher education and provided me with 60 of the 360 points needed to gain my degree.

I finished the course, passed, and enrolled on more as soon as I could. I started two at the same time, one a 60 pointer and another a short course worth 15 points. As often happens, life got in the way and I decided to quit the 60 point course and finish the short course before taking a break. I’ve done various things between then and now, working for myself, being a lady of leisure, working in a couple of offices, but it’s always been a niggly thing in the background, my unfinished degree so I made the decision to try to get it done.

I went to the OU site, chose a module, registered and waited for the forms to turn up. When I started the degree a 60 point course was, on average, between £650 and £750. This new course I want to do? £2500. And it seems all of the courses have gone up by that much. So, that means that from beginning to end instead of costing between £3900 and £4500, that very same qualification will now cost  around £15,000. Put simply, the cost has almost tripled.

Now, were my household income below the threshold or we were in receipt of certain benefits, I’d get the full amount paid for me. As it stands, I’d get a partial award of around £600 towards my course fees, so I’d still need to find about £1900 for the rest of it.

I’m not saying that I think I’m entitled to a free education, but I really feel like the message is all wrong here.

For a start, I’m 28. Not everyone wishing to embark on a degree is a grown up, most are 18, fresh out of sixth form or college and looking to improve their life prospects. This means that either they take student loans and get themselves in a ton of debt (really not what we should be encouraging, in light of our current economy), work while studying and put more pressure on themselves, or turn to their parents who’ll need to find several thousand pounds to pay for the education, not to mention food and shelter for their children. I feel sorry for anyone with more than one kid at this point.

The fact is that by increasing the fees by this much, the majority of ‘average’ people are simply unable to afford to better themselves. £600 is a help, but I simply don’t have a spare £3800 a year, which means I just can’t complete my course. I have no choice but to remain incomplete, no way of increasing my earning potential, a vicious circle if you will.

All I know is, as much as I try to stay away from politics on this blog, I’m genuinely despairing of this government. It’s patently obvious to anyone who takes the time to notice that the Tories are doing everything they can to keep the ‘lower’ classes in their place (menial labour and servitude, I’m guessing?) by depriving them of a chance to education and we’re just letting them do it.

I’m not condoning the riots, but the people who were rioting were doing so because they felt disenfranchised and abandoned by their country. That was a relatively small group but one by one, the Tories are managing to make other social groups feel that same level of frustration and abandonment. I hate to think what will happen if that, much larger, group decides to take matters into their own hands to make themselves feel listened to.

Welcome to Tory Britain.

Welcome to the Middle Ages.