A couple of days ago, Susie Boniface, under her Nom de plume, ‘Fleet Street Fox’ wrote this, er, somewhat enthusiastic piece about the Parker Family.
As you may have read this is a family who have lived beyond their means…who have too many children…who are work shy…who have let themselves down….etc…
Go back and read it. Apart from the odd jibe about Prince Edward and Dave’s storm troopers, it wouldn’t look out of place in the pages of the Daily Mail, or on the Twitter stream of Hatey Poptart (I never can remember that woman’s name).
It exudes ‘back in my day’ and, ‘You’re LUCKY, I once met a poor person from (insert impoverished country of your choice here), ‘and they didn’t complain/ they got on with their lives…
She even managed to pluck the poor squaddy who’d been blown to bits, yet still managed to run a marathon/ is in gainful employment/ does work for CHARITEEEEEEE…out of the ether…
It’s beyond parody.
So why write this now? In this, the last bastion of the labour voter, redtop – what’s going on?
We know that when politicians and papers give us examples of…well, anything regarding people really…they’re trying to nudge us towards the belief that this tiny sample of folk are representative of the huge cohort to which we’ve been told they belong.
So – huge families – living off the state – feckless – workless – amoral – bastards.
Oh, did I mention they own some THINGS? Things that you and I might own – hard working people who’ve strived, scrimped and saved to accumulate?
Surely then, it’s right to cap benefits, to sanction folk, to talk about them as if they were Untermenschen? Although, granted, she managed to avoid saying ‘cockroach’ once.
So, what’s an article like this doing in a notoriously left wing newspaper?
My fear is that it’s a reflection of a, mistaken in my opinion, view that the electorate are careering towards the right – I mean, that must be the reason they didn’t vote for Red Ed, isn’t it?
By publishing this hateful diatribe, the Mirror are saying, ‘Hey, we’re like you, oh great blue party who got voted in….we’re for hardworking people…we’re distancing ourselves from these lazy workless tossers who caused our great country to implode on itself…et fucking cetera…’
Are these people, the Parkers, being held up as some kind of subliminal threat? If you don’t tow the line, if you don’t do what we expect…then look, not only will your life turn to shit, but the whole country will be standing at your garden gate to berate you, just in case you hadn’t quite got the message that you’d fucked up on the American (whoops, my bad) UK dream?
I’ve been in that position – sure, I didn’t have a zillion kids – but at no point could the abject misery of becoming homeless and applying for benefits, when you know the media is pedalling an image of you as a scrounging bastard, at no point could this be seen as an Enid fucking Blyton adventure.
These are scary times when folk who have their flags firmly planted in the right wing camp are commenting on reports in a left wing newspaper saying, ‘FINALLY, you agree with/ understand our viewpoint…’
A relentless trundle to the right isn’t healthy or, as many in the Labour Party think, necessary.
If a vacuum is left where folk feel there is no voice for them, it doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll all become UKIP voters.
Take a look at Scotland – the electorate were able to say we don’t want to be separated from the UK, but we want compassionate representation in government – the SNP filled that gap.
Take a look here if you think they’re all raving nationalists who think that the only good Englishman is a dead one…
Our parliamentary system is driven by disagreement and disquiet – that’s the motor that made it a vibrant, fluid, at times creative, and dynamic thing.
For this system to function well we need opposing philosophies and paradigms – not a whole bunch of folk clambering to the right of the good ship UK.
If that’s going to be the case, it’s only a matter of time before we capsize.
Looking at the piece about the Parkers in the Mirror again…
Other than ‘He had a job once, they’ve got loads of kids and they’ve got a fancy camera,’ where’s the back story?
Where would your head be at if all you could see was a lifetime on the minimum wage ahead of you?
What would it feel like if the Parkers were your close friends, your family…?
What would it feel like to be the Parkers?
Ok, jettison those thoughts that say, ‘I’d never get myself into this predicament in the first place.’
What would it be like to be the Parkers?
Did the Fleet Street Fox’s only evidence that they shopped in Waitrose come from a picture of Mr Parker carrying some of his belongings in one of their carrier bags?
Even then, how dare they use good middle class shops (that said, Waitrose will give you free coffees in their cafe if you buy…anything really…you heard it here first, folks), they should be living, working and breathing elsewhere – they’re polluting our very existence.
The Mirror have even got a video to accompany the story – see how the silly Parkers are duped into thinking they’re amongst friends, folk from a newspaper they felt they could trust with their plight, who might see it from their angle.
What hope is there for them?
Other than using them as some weird parody of the bogie man, who cares?
Walk a mile in their shoes