i wasn’t particularly perfect at school. In fact I was in my late twenties when I really thought I was actually on the right path with education, with my career, with life in general. But I always had ambition, big plans, ideas, even if in hindsight I probably wasn’t going the right way to achieve them.
I live in a shithole. In fact anyone who visits would probably complain that I’m giving shithole a bad name by asscociating it with my town. It’s an old pit town where despite 30 odd years as a Labour seat everything is the fault of Margaret Thatcher. There are a few good uns’ ,one shouldn’t commit ecological fallacy and tie everyone in with my ethnographic observations of the last 7 years I have been unfortunate to live here. But there is a distinct lack of ambition.
People don’t work, they don’t go to college/ university, they don’t aim for big exciting life, they don’t even aim for a house, regular 9-5, holiday to Florida every year and nice family. There is just no ambition. They have kids at 15/16,said kids have no dad by age 1 but said dad has many kids with many mums by aged 25. A council house is the goal. Stop crying you little fuckers is the phrase of choice for the mums, smoking over their kids screaming in the pushchair as they head to the notorious crackhouse on Holly Close to get their fix until the monthly methadone free prescription arrives.
I know the leftie leftie wishy washie liberals will accuse me of being some right winger bemoaning scroungers but that is not true. I had modest upbringings. I still have a relatively modest life. I work hard to pay for the things I want and work hard to achieve the things I want in life. The above are real people from my community who I have observed, grew up with and lived with closely over the years which is more of a study then the middle class wishy washys who drop into a food bank once and suddenly blame it all on the Conservatives and think they know all about the deprived. People in deprived areas are more shrewd then the elite give them credit for. Yes there are people in real hardship through no fault of their own. Yes I could tell you stories from my community of people who say no, we won’t be a victim of the pit town curse.
You get out of life what you put in. Writing yourself off because everyone in your community has wrote themselves and you off makes it a bloody hard struggle, admittedly, but like I said, you get out what you put in. The only real barrier is how much effort you put in, and that’s bloody low in my community! You can’t expect everything to be handed on a plate but imagine how good it must feel for those who do persevere and do something with their lives against such adversaries. Nobody ever said it would be easy.
I resent my children’s school at the patronising attitude it takes to parents but equally don’t envy them at the scale of the job they have in such communities where parents want the best for their kids but the “best” is getting pregnant and a council house (again this is a real example).
When the middle class visit food banks and claim society has failed people they are missing a much bigger failure, lack of ambition.
A teenager got on the train today. Feet straight onto the seats. Probably never taught any respect for people’s property from his parents. His loud conversation with his friend four seats back punctuated by “fucking ” at least three or four times in every sentence. Where you off? Off to school innit. Which school you go to how? The special one in Crofton for my behaviour like I punched my teacher. [apparently this was hilarious to him and his friends]. Me mam said I didn’t punch her hard enough, one more year and I can leave the shithole.
You may leave school mate, but you will never leave the shithole.
Why no ambition?