a guest post from our friend @Rattlecans

What About the Mother?

Whenever there is economic trouble aboot, the appeal is always the same.  “What about the mother!” That poor wumin who eats hauf a biscuit and nae mair, because she’s weans tae feed. It works.  The political pitch since the days of Blair has been used by politicians of the self-identified progressive parties.  It wins seats fur them.

Every appeal to the Precious One, in this case, the Ma is used as much to garner empathy for her, and so votes, as it is used to distract the public’s view away from Other, them the politicians really don’t want ye tae think about.

If I made an appeal tae ye that wis “Whit aboot the spinster!”, would you be able tae tell me anything aboot her?  Ye know the mither eats hauf a biscuit and nae mair.  Whit dis the spinster eat?  Ye know the mither is so talented she can managed to put in 4 full days worth of work intae every day.  All that unpaid labour, you all know what that labour is.  How much work does the spinster put in tae her day jist tae get through it?  How much unpaid labour is she daen?  Any ideas?  Never thought aboot that, hiv ye?  Nawe, the politicians were hoping ye widnae think about that.  Same wi that guy who lives next door, himsel.  They wurnae wanting ye tae think aboot anybody who isnae pushin a pram.  

I’d an auld Auntie who lived hersel.  She never married, one o the generation that had their dreams crushed by war and the Great Depression.  She lived in a slum, like maist folk aboot here did once upon a time.  She wis wan a the last wans tae move intae a council hoose.  That only happened cos somebody had set fire tae the tenement she lived in.  No many folk lived there.  Jist her, her cats and another auld neighbour.  She was lucky.  The bits’n pieces she owned were salvaged oot and moved tae her new flat, a couple of doors up fae oors.  They even salvaged the auld worn big rug she’d got fae Paddy’s cos she could never afford tae buy anything new. I sometimes stayed at hers.  She’d a strange bed mattress on a solid wood bed.  It was a hard climb tae get up and intae the high bed for sleepy eight year auld me.  It was stuffed wi horse hair, like her wee two seater couch and chair She’d worked fur the council and the chapel as a cleaner a’ her days.  She’s the wumin who tossed yer shoes and everything else intae the pool if ye never got oot when yer time wis up, and she’s the wumin who hauled yer arse oot that pool if ye found yersel struggling for whitever reason.  Buy new beds and suites wi modern springs and stuffing?  No even her constant attendance at the chapel tae pray tae God made that possible.

When ma Mawe went tae the shops on Saturdays, she always got bags and bags a messages, up the road at the shopping centre.  When ma auld Auntie got in her messages, it was only one or two things in this wee shopping bag, fae shops she’d walked tae, miles away.  She walked miles tae save a penny here, a penny there.  Ma Mawe wid cross the shopping centre fae wan shop tae the other tae save a penny.  We had a washin machine and detergent.  Ma auld Auntie washed everything by hand in the bath wi an actual scrubbing board and a big enormous bar of green soap.  Her hoose wis the only hoose I’d ever been in that had an actual scrubbing board.

Here we are, all these years later, wi an economic hell heading towards us faster than an exocet missile.  And right on cue, there’s the politicians like Rachel Reeves, pretending only the Precious Ones, the mothers will be engulfed in hell.  

Emote for the Mothers.  When ye’ve figured oot how the hell ye’ll eat, stay warm wi yer single low-wage or low benefits income.  Once you’ve done that, mind and get with it for the communal emoting for the Mothers, for you are unworthy.