These Cuts Are Personal A report from the Islington Bail-In by Molly Solomons
I’m not a hardened activist and to be honest, it would have been a much better start to this morning wrapped up in my duvet, ignoring the world and the cuts, but enough is enough. Yes, I’m wildly pissed off about the cuts in general and the whole big society sham. But for me this is personal. It’s a personal attack on my family. So, I grabbed my book and headed out to join all the other pissed off protesters, then I got a text from my mum, ‘Stay safe, very proud of you’. And that is why I bothered getting out of bed – for my family and all the other families whose lives are being ripped apart by these cuts.
My mum works for a University and organises research grants and general management. It was inevitable really, but I was still shocked got when I got the call a few weeks ago, ‘Sweetheart, my jobs been cut’. At first I was sad for my mum, who has worked so hard for the last ten years, and has single-handedly raised me and my brother who has severe autism. But then the sadness became anger when the realisation hit that she has to fight off about 300 people to get a job. If she’s unemployed that’s one thing but the worry that my brother’s disability living allowance might be cut is overwhelming my mum and me. He’s 21 and lives in a house with 5 other disabled adults. He has a full time carer and loves living there. It’s expensive but he needs it. And if this support is axed, I really don’t know what we’ll do. He can’t read or write and has the mental age of a 2 year old but he still has to be taken to the local Job Centre to prove that our family is not ‘scamming the system’.
I didn’t do politics at University and admittedly I would struggle to explain the details of macro-economics and how it relates to the financial crisis (who can!). But what I might lack in detailed knowledge of political and economic theory, I compensate with the feelings inside that what this government is doing is just wrong. It’s wrong to cut disability living allowance to those that need it to survive. It’s wrong to make people with disabilities feel like they are criminals and cheats. And it’s wrong to smash our society into a million pieces, whilst the bankers’ pockets are filled with fat bonuses and companies are allowed to evade taxes in off-shore accounts.
Sometimes I feel disheartened to the extent I just don’t know what to do. This is what I’ve done so far: I’ve written to my MP, I’ve moaned in pubs, I’ve cried, I’ve signed petitions and I’ve thought about running away from it all. But after despair, all that is left is action. And there is loads of action out there. So see you on the streets, I’ll be there this weekend, and the next, and the next, standing up for what’s right for my family and yours.