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The Single Mother's Manifesto
April 15, 2010 7:04 AM   Subscribe

The Single Mother's Manifesto. "But wait, some will say. Given that you have long since left single parenthood for marriage and a nuclear family; given that you are now so far from a life dependent on benefits that Private Eye habitually refers to you as Rowlinginnit, why do you care? Surely, nowadays, you are a natural Tory voter? No, I’m afraid not..." J.K. Rowling on welfare, patriotism, and the upcoming UK election. (via Crooked Timber)
posted by No-sword (48 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
given that you are now so far from a life dependent on benefits that Private Eye habitually refers to you as Rowlinginnit

Note: a number of Americans don't realize that "Rowling" rhymes with "bowling."
posted by Prospero at 7:17 AM on April 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


I wish I could work out who to vote for in the upcoming elections. Labour would probably be the most consistent with my ideological bent but they have clearly lost their way as evidenced by a foolish war, bedding down with bankers and shenanigans with the selection of my local labour rep who is running the most moronic pamphlet campaign i have seen since high school - Richard Nixon comparisons for david cameron? Really?.

The New Tories strike me as a transparently hollow batch of thatcherite lizards beneath all that human coloured foundation and have yet to make a single concrete promise other than the help the absurdly privileged inherit from their obscenely rich parents. They promise not to complete assholes in their first year. How lovely that they are promising a beating free honeymoon!

Liberal Democrats might have made a nice protest vote if it were not for the fact that I live in Birmingham where a lib dem/conservative coalition has succeeded in combining leftish ineffectualness with conservative malcompetence to produce ..well Birmingham - a wonderful city for property developers but a fairly useless city. The lib dem split the difference sloganeering doesn't inspire much confidence either. A frankenstinian combination of conservative and labour doesn't seem likely to produce much hybrid vigor.

I feel like my vote will be about as pleasant as choosing what colour diarrhea i would like to have. For the next 5 years.
posted by srboisvert at 7:26 AM on April 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


srboisvert: You need the VoteMatcher!
posted by pharm at 7:29 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Interesting piece by Rowling, but the comments are terrible. For a moment, I thought I might be reading the Daily Mail. What's happening, Times readers?
posted by handee at 7:30 AM on April 15, 2010


Note: a number of Americans don't realize that "Rowling" rhymes with "bowling."

No, in this case it seems that "Row" rhymes with "Mao".

Also, nothing rhymes with "hamburger".
posted by hermitosis at 7:31 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: combining leftish ineffectualness with conservative malcompetence

sorry
posted by reverend cuttle at 7:31 AM on April 15, 2010


Note: a number of Americans don't realize that "Rowling" rhymes with "bowling."

I did know that, and yet it took me several minutes to get the joke, because I'm used to seeing "innit" as a gloss for "isn't it." Perhaps I'm just slow.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:32 AM on April 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


Good on her.
posted by Artw at 7:33 AM on April 15, 2010


handee: Times readers— or, to put it more accurately, the Times' commenters — have always been that stupid. I see phrases like ‘Zanu-Labour’ bandied around more often there than pretty much anywhere else.
posted by jaffacakerhubarb at 7:39 AM on April 15, 2010


Nice piece by Rowling, but, as always, beware of the comments.
posted by vivelame at 7:47 AM on April 15, 2010


Indeed -- isn't it always the case that you tread into comments sections at your own peril? Although in the case of the Times it's hard to avoid them because they're smooshed right up against the end of every article.
posted by blucevalo at 7:57 AM on April 15, 2010


I believe its 'ZaNu-LieBore'.
posted by SyntacticSugar at 7:58 AM on April 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


When my life hit rock bottom, that safety net, threadbare though it had become under John Major’s Government, was there to break the fall. I cannot help feeling, therefore, that it would have been contemptible to scarper for the West Indies at the first sniff of a seven-figure royalty cheque. This, if you like, is my notion of patriotism. On the available evidence, I suspect that it is Lord Ashcroft’s idea of being a mug.

Quoted for truth.
posted by contessa at 7:58 AM on April 15, 2010 [11 favorites]


What's happening, Times readers?

The Thunderer's days of being the newspaper of record read by the likes of Uncle Bulgaria, and not a semi-tabloid Murdoch rag, are a long way behind it - still a least they published this.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:59 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]




Yesterday’s Conservative manifesto makes it clear that the Tories aim for less governmental support for the needy, and more input from the “third sector”: charity. It also reiterates the flagship policy so proudly defended by David Cameron last weekend, that of “sticking up for marriage”. To this end, they promise a half-a-billion pound tax break for lower-income married couples, working out at £150 per annum.

The "third sector." Someone at Cameron HQ has never read Orwell's "Politics and the English Language" (or did read it and then promptly ignored it).

"Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."

Of Cameron, truer words will never be spoken.
posted by blucevalo at 8:05 AM on April 15, 2010



Also, nothing rhymes with "hamburger".


Turdburglar
posted by spicynuts at 8:12 AM on April 15, 2010


Is it just me, fearfulsymmetry, or did you brain explode reading this bit?

We have to tell these girls that it is unacceptable to get pregnant outside of a stable relationship unless they can support themselves, that the taxpayer cannot afford to keep them and that they have to train to work when they leave school. They have to be given more sex education (it is not compulsory, despite the myth, and this should start at puberty, not five years old) and offered more contraception. It is only by talking openly about marriage, sex, relationships and responsibility that we can change this. It will take a generation, but we have no choice.

Umm, why is it more important to start it later rather than sooner? Does. Not. Compute. Also: agree with your characterization of her as a 'hag.' Some visits to social service centers do not an expert make, unlike JKR, who actually LIVED it.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:25 AM on April 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


If charities had enough monies to take care of the needy and poor, wouldn't they already be doing it? Where is this magical money going to come from? When the government's reduced and taxes are 5%, are the rich going to suddenly get more generous? So what they're saying now is "if only the government didn't tax me so much, I'd give more to charity?" I call bullshit.
posted by garlic at 8:26 AM on April 15, 2010 [9 favorites]


I was mildly astonished that no one had yet quipped about The Boy Who Lived and was prepared to bring some of my own, but then I started reading Rowling's piece and holy crap does she put the boot in. Good for her.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:30 AM on April 15, 2010


Even though the shine of the Harry Potter novels has worn off a bit since my teenage years, I've continue to respect J.K. Rowling for being a thoughtful, compassionate public figure who puts her newfound (relatively speaking) wealth and influence to philanthropic use.

But is it bad of me to be glad that I didn't feel pummeled with adverbs while reading that?
posted by bettafish at 8:36 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is it just me, fearfulsymmetry, or did you brain explode reading this bit?

I think my brain had lost traction at that point... I think (only think, mind) that she's crashing into the weird Tory doublesthink where educating children about sex is a left-wing evil (though, afaik the 'five-year' old stuff amounts to little more than 'coming from mummy's tummy' type of things)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:39 AM on April 15, 2010


And yet, if you DO educate them, they're less likely to get pregnant, and end up on the social services the conservatives love to hate...it's that fundamental disconnect that makes me so irritated. Rowling really made her point well, if you ask me.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:59 AM on April 15, 2010


Oh and here's some horrific tory hag on the matter...

"I am divorced and a single parent, and nothing would have induced me to stay with my husband, but then again I run a successful business and can support myself."

Never has Conservative hypocrisy been so perfectly and concisely encapsulated
posted by dng at 9:05 AM on April 15, 2010 [7 favorites]


Can I just say that I'm glad that Rowling is a billionaire? Because she amassed so much money just through her own talent and hard work, I'd say she's almost Ayn Rand's wet dream, except unlike most billionaires, I can't really think of anyone she stabbed in the back or stepped over to get the money (which would probably irritate Rand greatly.) She deserves every cent, though.
posted by Kiablokirk at 9:11 AM on April 15, 2010 [9 favorites]


I can't really think of anyone she stabbed in the back or stepped over to get the money
posted by Kiablokirk


What about all those people who previously wrote stories which were amazingly similar in that they included at least one of the above: wizards, boys, magic, schools, or words. Lawsuits pending.
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:18 AM on April 15, 2010


And that poor poor Lexicon guy. Or not.
posted by kmz at 9:25 AM on April 15, 2010


Oh and here's some horrific tory hag on the matter...

Does "hag" have some different connotation in the U.K. than it does in the U.S.? In the U.S. it generally just means "ugly woman". 'Cause I don't really see how her physical appearance enters into it.
posted by Jahaza at 9:32 AM on April 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


apologies... the link was supposed to go here to the comment, not to your profile
posted by Jahaza at 9:34 AM on April 15, 2010


What about all those people who previously wrote stories which were amazingly similar in that they included at least one of the above: wizards, boys, magic, schools, or words. Lawsuits pending.

Simpsons did it!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:42 AM on April 15, 2010


Does "hag" have some different connotation in the U.K. than it does in the U.S.? In the U.S. it generally just means "ugly woman". 'Cause I don't really see how her physical appearance enters into it.

A hag is a witch. And she's pretty ugly on the inside... And it illiterates with horrific. I was tempted by far more strident language tbh...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:56 AM on April 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


What about all those people who previously wrote stories which were amazingly similar in that they included at least one of the above: wizards, boys, magic, schools, or words. Lawsuits pending.
That DAMNED Thomas Malory.
posted by jfwlucy at 9:58 AM on April 15, 2010


See also: Hagfish
posted by mikelieman at 10:04 AM on April 15, 2010


> Umm, why is it more important to start it later rather than sooner? Does. Not. Compute.

There's quite a good chance that, when you've been instructed for years about a subject that's outside your experience and probably outside your imagination, the subject will be firmly stuck in your My-Eyes-Glaze-Over compartment along with algebra and diversity training by the time it does become directly relevant to your life.
posted by jfuller at 10:13 AM on April 15, 2010


When the government's reduced and taxes are 5%, are the rich going to suddenly get more generous?

Well, of course! I'm sure that everything that a certain Tory peer saves in taxes by being a non-dom, he gives to charity, and then some.

Hmm, I'm hungry. Let's go to McDonald's.
posted by Skeptic at 10:41 AM on April 15, 2010


Oooh, I'm glad this is being discussed on the blue! I saw it earlier and was truly appalled by the most recommended comments. One of the worst examples:

An appallingly unpleasant,totally dishonest article. There is a difference between single mothers who marry with every hope that the marriage will last but are later widowed, deserted or involved, though no fault of their own, in divorce,and the far more numerous cases of girls, some of whom start breeding underage and go on producing babies for years, with no intention of marrying and/or working, but see the production of children they can neither support nor care for as a way into a life on benefits.
Given the trouble caused by the often undisciplined, neglected, badly brought up children such females inflict on society and expect the working population to keep, it's hardly surprising that they are stigmatised as parasites and loathed by decent people.


Breeding? Parasites? Loathed? Dear Lord, I thought people were only this nasty in the States. Has some of that festering Tea Party animosity worked its way back across the pond?
posted by Devika at 11:49 AM on April 15, 2010


That's newspaper comments sections for you. A wretched hive of scum and villainy.
posted by Artw at 11:51 AM on April 15, 2010


Jahaza Does "hag" have some different connotation in the U.K. than it does in the U.S.? In the U.S. it generally just means "ugly woman".

Enter MACBETH.

MACBETH
48 How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags!
49 What is't you do?

ALL
A deed without a name.
posted by Skeptic at 12:02 PM on April 15, 2010


There's quite a good chance that, when you've been instructed for years about a subject that's outside your experience and probably outside your imagination, the subject will be firmly stuck in your My-Eyes-Glaze-Over compartment along with algebra and diversity training by the time it does become directly relevant to your life.

Well we should definitely stop teaching kids math until they get jobs as physicists, then.
posted by lumpenprole at 12:24 PM on April 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can't really think of anyone she stabbed in the back or stepped over to get the money

*cough*
posted by Evilspork at 12:48 PM on April 15, 2010


As an American, the weirdest thing for me was reading the phrase "welfare state" as a good thing. I wonder when we'll get to have one?
posted by Xoder at 12:48 PM on April 15, 2010


Does "hag" have some different connotation in the U.K. than it does in the U.S.? In the U.S. it generally just means "ugly woman". 'Cause I don't really see how her physical appearance enters into it.

Beauty is only skin-deep, whereas ugly goes down to the bone.
posted by Sparx at 1:28 PM on April 15, 2010


blucevalo: Indeed -- isn't it always the case that you tread into comments sections at your own peril? Although in the case of the Times it's hard to avoid them because they're smooshed right up against the end of every article.
Metafilter: Always the case that you tread into comments sections at your own peril.

Hey, that's my first one of those!
posted by hincandenza at 2:06 PM on April 15, 2010


I am confident that Narcissa Malfoy will write a counter-point column. Filthy mudbloods.
posted by Ber at 2:32 PM on April 15, 2010


Artw: That's newspaper comments sections for you. A wretched hive of scum and villainy.

That's why you have to shoot first.
posted by localroger at 3:15 PM on April 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


> Well we should definitely stop teaching kids math until they get jobs as physicists, then.
> posted by lumpenprole at 3:24 PM on April 15 [+] [!]

Math is of course abstract and non-sensual (until you get to calculus), but also cumulative so you pretty much have no choice but to start early, instruct and be damned--by which I mean just accept that this will put math straight onto most students' MEGO list. That is, if you want to produce any physicists at all. Sex ed, by contrast, is not cumulative. You can get everything a preteen needs to know on the table in an hour. (Two, if you want to do the long version of the scary-VD-pix slideshow.)
posted by jfuller at 4:07 PM on April 15, 2010


I do find those kinds of comments "but see the production of children they can neither support nor care for as a way into a life on benefits" really ironic given Swift's satire on an alloy topic.

Indeed, since the parents have already been devoured to some degree, and they insist on continuing to breed, why not then put their offspring into stock pots for the benefit of those self-educated, self-created, autogenetic folks from whom the community has given absolutely nothing, yet from whom it demands so much?
Some people might say children of single mothers should be kept immobilized in cages.
I find this barbaric.
While they certainly may be more tender, the resources used to house them would be more than if they were allowed to 'free range' as it were, in the community.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:35 PM on April 15, 2010


From NYT More expatriates renouncing US citizenship

due to taxation, amazingly
posted by toodleydoodley at 3:36 PM on April 26, 2010


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