Yesterday I set up my stall in the market place in Hexham under dark skies and heavy rain. It was the Spring Fair, but it felt anything but springlike. The general mood amongst my fellow traders and lots of punters was disbelief at the recent election results and a huge sense of foreboding and of hard times to come. I actually saw Guy Opermann, our Conservative MP, stride through this market place with a smile of victory on his face, and I felt even more saddened.
I remember arriving in Easington Colliery a year after the end of the miner’s strike and being shocked at what I saw. I was as green as grass, coming from my teacher training in Richmond-upon Thames following a childhood growing up on the south coast. I remember the grocery store with a faded packet of J cloths in the window, and shelves with a few bare essentials. A parent of one of my pupils collected sea coal from the beach and held her child over newspaper because she coud not afford nappies. Today I heard of a man who, on a zero hours contract, had just £3 to feed his family for, for the rest of the week.
I cried last night as I read a Facebook post outloud to my kids. ‘Why are you crying? Mum, they asked. I replied, ‘because I lived in Toxteth in the early ’80s and remember the riots. I taught in County Durham after the miner’s strike under Margaret Thatcher’s reign of terror. I remember what living under a long term Conservative government is like for the vunerable, unemployed, and disabled, not to mention the trade unions and those trying to stand up for what is right’
I feel I should apologise for bringing politics into my blog, but I feel so baffled by why so many have voted thus, I felt I had to write about it. I was going to write a jolly post all about the Katwise sweatercoat, but that will have to wait for another day, when the sun comes out and I feel more jolly. I’m sorry there are no photos with this blog.