We're not waving, we're drowning

I am a separated mother, paying a mortgage and raising a young son. I live in a small cottage in Dublin. I work hard for an NGO. I believe in equality, social justice and human rights. I am a socialist and a feminist. I do volunteer work outside of my job. I will never be rich. I am happy except for those times when I struggle to get to the end of the month with enough food to feed my child.

Never before in my life have I ever availed of benefits, state aid or any kind of charity. But last month St. Vincent de Paul had to help me feed my child and they might have to help again this month.

The size of the mortgage has me considering walking away from my home and posting the keys to the bank. When my partner and I were together we had two incomes - not rich, but enough to keep us comfortable. On my own I am drowning. If the government brings in the house levy or any other kind of new tax I will surely lose my home.

After my bills are paid I have €39 to get me through the month. I have stripped back my expenditures to the bare minimum - food, mortgage, bus fare, heat, electricity. But €39 is all I have to cover emergencies, birthday gifts, doctor visits, Christmas. I haven’t been to the dentist in 3 years and my son needs braces that I just cannot afford.

I am not special and I am not a desperate case. I make a good wage when so many people are in much worse situations. Then there are all the people who have always been failed by our government even when there was money to burn. Instead of getting better when the times were good, successive governments ignored the social inequalities that have oppressed so many people for so many decades, and let the gap between the rich and the poor widen ever farther.

I have been blessed in life and I am struggling but I don’t want my struggles eased at the expense of people worse off than myself.  If paying higher taxes were really going solve social inequalities, I would pay more, even if it meant giving up my house. But the truth is that our hard earned money is going to pay for the unmitigated greed of the bankers as well as the hubris and arrogance of the politicians. They are all part of the failed system that has landed us here.

There has to be a better way for this country. But it is not to be found in a system that not only continues to exacerbate social inequalities but actually relies on them.

Ireland is a country that does not seem to learn from anyone else’s mistakes. All across the world Friedman economics and privatisation have been proven failures. Yet that is exactly where the Government is going. What makes them think that policies that have failed so badly elsewhere are somehow going to work here?

We need a mass clear out of the politicians and the civil servants who have no imagination or independent thought but rely solely on what has been done elsewhere even if that means replicating failures.

I want to be part of the revolution that puts an end to business as usual at the expense of the little people.  There must be a radical change to the way this country is run and it needs to start right now. {jathumbnailoff}

Image top: Eau d'artifice.