Everyone’s living in poverty … kids are living on the streets
Boris Johnson received a little more than just a frosty reception when he met flood victims and the communities helping them in Stainforth South Yorkshire today.
Boris Johnson arrived in Stainforth to take a photo opportunity by meet the community members who are helping their flood-hit neighbours of Fishlake, doing what communities do best when the establishment fails them, they help each other.
The photo opportunity did not go to plan Johnson was also confronted by locals eager to tell him about flooded homes one resident who told him his visit was ‘too little too late’. grabbed the limelight in the main stream Media and rightly so.
However the bits that the public didn’t get to see said more about the last nine years of this Tory regime and what the people of Stainforth and the Labour Heartlands really think of the Tories and politicians that use the misfortunes of the people to up their political profile.
A local man crashed the publicity staged scene where Johnson was to sit and eat cake with the community helpers at Stainforth Library. The local man told the prime minister what he really thinks.
A third of children in Yorkshire are living in poverty, according to a major report which highlights the staggering scale of the problem in Britain.
Hundreds of thousands of parents across the region are struggling to make ends meet, with many living more than 50 per cent below the poverty line, said the analysis published today by the Social Metrics Commission, which focuses on measuring poverty.
While the report paints a bleak picture, the research showed overall rates of poverty have changed relatively little since the millennium.
- Doncaster is experiencing the second highest levels of overall deprivation in South Yorkshire, followed by Rotherham and then Sheffield, with Barnsley in first. All areas are performing at least 5% below the national average.
- Doncaster residents are most likely to experience loneliness at the age of 65.
- Doncaster has the lowest levels of child obesity at 18.9%, which is 0.5% lower than the national average of 19.4%.
- Life expectancy is one year lower than the national average for both men and women, with the lowest levels found in Rotherham.
- 22% of children in South Yorkshire are classed as living in poverty.
- The proportion of people living in socially rented accommodation in South Yorkshire is 4% higher than the national average at 22%.
The current rate of poverty UK-wide is 22 per cent, which is unchanged since last year and only slightly lower than the 24 per cent seen in 2000/01.
Being formerly from these villages, I can personally say that Stainforth although rich as a community is in actual fact one of the poorest areas in Doncaster. Stainforth as never really had chance to rebuild after the devastating miners strike of 1984 or the closure of the local Pit Hatfield main.
‘It’s a joke,’ the furious local said. ‘Everyone’s living in poverty … kids are living on the streets’
Stainforth a history of helping each other when nobody else will.
Stainforth is no slouch to organising and helping in the community as the saying goes ‘needs must, Stainforth is the home to the former Hatfield Main colliery. During the miners strike the women of Stainforth and surrounding communities organised support groups and food kitchens based at the old Pit club
From soup kitchens to activism
From the beginning these women were clear that they wanted to be involved in the strike in their own right and not just be regarded as providing welfare support in the background. Wives of the Hatfield Main miners explained:
We’re trying to get the women together from the community and involved in the strike. It’s so they don’t have to ask their husbands what’s going on. It’s so they know what’s going on for themselves… It’s the first time working class women have been organised like this since the fight for the vote.
Striking miners families were refused benefits in an attempt to starve them. The miners picketed the pits daily so it was up to the women to raise the money and solidarity needed to keep the strike going.
The miners’ wives began by organising networks to ensure that the welfare of the strikers – food supplies, communal kitchens and so on – was maintained. But within a very short time the wives began to organise more than just collective cooking. Women from Kent and Doncaster organised their own demonstration in Leicestershire to show support for the striking minority there and boost the campaign to spread the strike.
Women Against Pit Closures
The actions of the Doncaster and Kent women inspired thousands of others across the country. Networks began to take shape. More women’s demos followed, women’s support groups were formed in every mining village and a working class women’s movement was forged.
Five thousand women attended a rally in Barnsley. This was followed by a conference in June and a large protest march in London on 11 August 1984; 23,000 working class women attended that event, joined by other women trade unionists.
The name Women Against Pit Closures was adopted at a national delegate conference in Chesterfield in December 1984 and the group sought Associate Membership of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).
The strike could never have happened without the women’s groups, on the picket, facing immense brutality and sexual harassment from the police, who called them “Scargill’s slags”. Speak to former miners and anyone from a community that was touched by the strike, and the language they still use is reminiscent of conversations about war: not just the anger and very real sense of fighting a physically present enemy but the “blitz spirit” of trying to survive as a community against the odds, and the camaraderie that brought to mining villages.
People of Doncaster and Stainforth in particular are very use to pulling together after all they have always had to these are the communities abandoned after 1984 they have learnt how to cope.
I don’t write this article as some outsider looking in. I grow up in these villages of Stainforth, Dunscroft, Hatfield and Fishlake. These people deserve better not just because of a flood that as brought them to the front of a photo opportunities during a general election for the political elite but because they have never had opportunity to recover since 1984 that ‘harrying of the North’ an all out attack on the working class by the Tories.
Lets face it, the reality is Jo Swinson was the first Lib Dem to step foot in Stainforth for over a hundred years.
They Could Not Break This Town
The community still work together today every Christmas a song is released sung by the community and Joe Solo a left wing activist and entertainer.
The fact that for all the deprivation, the poverty & punishment meted out across the coalfields as a result of our communities daring to stand and fight against the full might of the state for a decent future, we are still here.
Our spirit was never broken fully, our pockets were emptied, our future`s stolen, our children cast into the wilderness, yet we are here in defiance as a community, as its in the most part all we can do to get our voice heard, but also a gesture to show our children & grandchildren they must never give up just like mine & your grandparents fought on.
We will not sink into the history book`s as cowed & beaten people they stole our jobs our community cohesion, our pensions that we paid for, we fight on for justice & fair play from politicians that in the main do not understand the meaning of those words.