Different Worlds

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Neil ofthe nene

Doing things differently.
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So as not to hijack my own thread. And apologies, this is long but I feel I have to get it off my chest.

Over the years I have been a member of this forum I have had my eyes opened as to the breadth and depth of political opinion, dare I say indoctrination, that exists.

It is obvious that I inhabit a different world to many. I do not have first hand experience of true poverty, neither am I frequently in contact with people I would describe as in that state.

I was raised to be self sufficient and self reliant, to value an education, abide by the law (even if I disagree with it), to strive to be the best I can. Similarly I have passed those aspirations on to my children. Was I privileged as a youngster? I would say not. My father, despite being in a quasi professional career still checked football coupons on a Sunday morning for some extra cash. My mother did various "outwork" jobs such as packing naff plastic egg cups for Tesco and sewing buttons on cards and so made some pin money to help the family finances. We lived within sight of Turnpike Lane tube station in north London, hardly a wealthy neighbourhood.

Having failed all my A levels I left school with no plan and no ambition. I first got a job as an industrial radiographer eventually X-raying pipelines in Wales. That didn't seem to have a future so I switched to an office based job in London. I then went to night school to obtain a professional qualification and after that an OU degree.

Through my life I have not done anything that wouldn't be possible for anyone else to achieve if they applied themselves, kept their nose clean and studied. But I seem to have ended up, having started from the backstreets of Tottenham, in a position that many would regard as "privileged". I am not alone. One particular school friend who's father was a taxi driver and mother a seamstress became a GP. His children both attended Cambridge, one now a doctor the other a double first mathematician.

As a result I seem to live in a world far removed from that described by many members on here. Both of my children, while not rich, appear comfortable. My son is a Sapper in the army, yet while many of his friends have little money to spare he is not only paying a mortgage but also saving a reasonable sum each month and bought his first car for cash. My daughter works while her husband stays at home running his very small business and looking after my granddaughter. They appear to manage OK being able to pay the mortgage and run two cars on basically one salary.

So I have to crave your indulgence if I do not recognise or have experience of this other world where people struggle to make ends meet, are forced to use food banks and take a second job. I do wonder whether these unfortunate members of our society are trying to fund a lifestyle beyond their means. Sorry, but that is the thoughts I have from my remote position.

I see pictures on TV of these "poor" and frequently they appear to have a better material lifestyle than me. I have a modest 21 inch TV, I do not have a contract smartphone (PAYG 10 ever three-four months more like, the handset cost 10). Yes we run two cars, one is ten the other nine years old. I do not smoke, I drink moderately. Eating out is a rarity and takeaways only slightly less so. Much of my fishing tackle is either old or bought on the cheap (Avanti topkits & pole roller. My last rod & reel purchased totalled 30 - and has won me much more - keepnets from Keepnets Direct and I certainly cannot afford hand made floats). Is it surprising therefore that I wonder how the "poor" appear to be able to afford much more than me and yet still claim to be poor?

So is my view of the world invalid. Or is it the view of those who have deep Socialist leanings that is skewed? Does this world of poverty and want really exist or is it a convenient myth on which to hang Socialist propaganda and beliefs?

Of course there is a section of society that is truly poor. I witness this as the secretary to a trust fund that makes financial grants to those in need. But deep down I have to question whether it is as large a section of society those on the left wing would have us believe.

Is this poverty self inflicted? Self inflicted because people have no aspirations to improve their lot, no aspirations for their children. In many poor nations it is recognised that an education is a reliable route out of poverty, if not for themselves then certainly for their children. Yet many of those we would call poor in Britain seem to lack the same understanding, relying instead on having their lot improved by the efforts of someone else. As a school governor I have witnessed first hand the apathetic regard for education that some in society have. Yet these same people want those that do value an education to make up for their lassitude.

So, do I inhabit the real world? Or am I in some privileged Nirvana.
 

Geoff P

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Excellent post Neil and good reply Ian. Agree with what you have posted.
 

retis

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You're not alone mate, everyone has perspectives and it can be difficult to see other situations when you have done well yourself (kudos by the way).

Taking myself as an example I have some similarities with you. I do not come from a privileged background at all. I come from a single-ish parent household (complicated). I did a physics A level whilst doing my GCSE as I had a keen interest in physics and thought that would be the route I would go down. Due to the attitude of adolescence I actually ended up drinking a lot upon leaving high school and partying a lot, and by just under the age of 19 had a child, meaning working for a living took priority. I have worked ever since. I worked in a call centre and worked my way up to management level quickly (mainly due to prowess in IT and utlising it for procedural changes) which enabled me to gain a mortgage. I currently work as an in house web developer. I am on a "significantly" lower wage than I should be....extremely frustrating yes, but I would never consider myself as poor, and consider myself lucky to have a stable job. I can pay my mortgage and bills, I can afford some small "luxuries" whilst others I cannot.

Milo makes an extremely valid point about the demographic of nouveau-poor. That can be broken down into various things other than sky packages. I talk to people who whine about not being able to go abroad "this year", which I find utterly ridiculous.

The ACTUAL poor or ACTUAL lazy aside, there lies other issues. Aspirations for more, are not always attainable, I personally would like to go to uni, or do an OU course to obtain a better/different career, or even gain qualifications in what I already do to be able to demand more for the work I do, or move to a different company easier. Unfortunately, although I manage just fine and am "comfortable", I simply would not be able to afford it, and my earnings do not qualify me for any help in the matter. It is not a case of being lazy, or having no aspirations.

Unfortunately, as I said, it can sometimes be difficult to see it from other peoples perspectives...which is understandable. People on a perceived "lesser" step of the ladder from you can think that you have it great, whilst you on your step, think people lesser end up with more. It's often a lot more complicated though because not everything is taken into account.
 

codenamemilo

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A reply i just accidentally deleted when i wanted to edit it for typos.......

So again, sort of...

You are not alone, and I agree with you.

On the news last night was a segment with a young chap who wanted to move out, and get his foot on the property ladder. he worked for a supermarket, getting 20 hours a week work, earning about 500 half of which he spent on travelling. The underlying sentiment of him and his mum seemed to be pitying his lot and wanting someone to do something about it.

My immediate reaction was get a less comfortable job that gave you more hours, or invest effort and time in education or qualifications that will enable you to get a better paid job.

The last few years have undoubtedly been really hard for a lot of people, i found a section of it very hard myself, and there will always be the genuine poor who cannot improve their lot who really need our help.

There is also however a lack of personal responsibility, and people who rely on someone else to improve their situation for them. I think we have a class of nouveau-poor who define poor as being unable to get the sky package they want. There are quite a few people in my area who are poor/on benefits/low paid work who seem to be able to afford gags, alcohol and holidays, and who can often be heard telling their kids they cant afford to get them a kinder egg whilst paying for fags and a bottle of plonk.

We need to be very careful that we do not lump these two sets of people together, and demonise the people we should be helping.

We also need to get back to a society where people pull themselves up by the bootstraps and get better jobs, or work harder, and invest in a future for thei children that gives them choices they perhaps had to really struggle to create for themselves.
 

Kirtons

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My only real issue with your post Neil is your use of avanti top kits. Joking aside though you make many a valid point.sadly we live in a society where money over decency wins every time and as a result I think a lot of people see it as if they can't have a job paying good money they would rather not bother working. I work for the council and without saying to much its amazing what some folk get for nothing , that said we have lots if tennants who work hard but don't earn enough to buy or rent private and in my eyes more should be done to help these people. We in Britain lack affordable housing for people who deserve it
 

johng19

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Yes different would, could of wrote the names down who would agree with you before hand. Just want to make a point I don't disagree with what you say totally, for me I'd say the opportunities are not there as they use to be. And do think some have just give up, being put down and knocked by government greedy firms with such low payed jobs. Plus people the like your self that think they only have them selves to blame. Jobs that all you are doing is surviving. And to me that is no future.
I am 50 years old and have worked all my life. My life as been turn up side down by one thing or another, it's fir to say my plans have not turned out as I thought ,and as things are don't think they ever will. The last thing I need are people like you telling me that values were not instilled into me and that I had no ambitions. They may not have been the same as yours, but I deftly had ambition .
 
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