This my first attempt at blogging.
The first thing I would like to do is write about childhood under Mrs Thatcher. This was inspired by a blog by Darkest Angel on Twitter. So I may just mimic her style!
What strikes me, as I use Twitter for my news, is the fear and anger amongst many people who remember the 80′s vividly. Especially more fragile people. In fact I still belong to a support group for people who have experienced a certain kind of abuse. Last year, most of the talk was about the government. And the distress was palpable.
How the media is responding to this vile Coalition is one of the things freaking me out and I think this is do with my experiences as a vulnerable child through the war-zone that was the UK under Thatcher. I’m going to attempt to explain here. For myself at least.
Unfortunately, after I was born, my mum ended up in a psychiatric hospital called Stratheden when I was 6months. She stayed there for 4 years(!) and when she finally returned home things were very difficult for her. Between Valium and my Dad she didn’t get a lot of support. The biggest impact this had on my family was the effect it had on my big brother, who became a bit wild and ended up going to a school for mal-adjusted children in his teens. He then graduated to Borstal. This was very painful for mum, as a bit like my own son, my brother is hyper intelligent, good looking and charming but a total recidivist. I suspect the separation when mum was ill played a huge part.
Just before mum died things were okay-ish. Ok Dad was having an affair with the local barmaid and we all new about it and Bill was going to kill my Dad, etc. But we were hanging in there.
Bill, that’s my brother, had got a job as a miner. Which was great as the money was good and he loved his clothes and his ‘sounds’ and I do remember it being a positive time for him. Obviously he had become a bit institutionalised so having a job that meant hard graft was good for him. He was in a Union and there was routine and he had a laugh with his co-workers.
One innocuous Sunday I had to run and get my sister at her pals. Mum was found dead in her bed. Bill had been at the pub and when he came home everyone was just in shock. As ever, it was up to Bill to attend to my emotional needs.
This was 1981. Dad left the house to move in with his girlfriend and left the three of us to run wild. Although the most wild thing about me was I liked Duran Duran.
Things went downhill pretty quickly. Bill worked at the Seafield Colliery and it closed. Dad had a good job welding at the RGC but having a job in the 80′s when unemployment was rampant, he turned into some kind of nutter. With the benefit of hindsight, I can see why. He was one of the lucky ones with a good job. Nothing else mattered.
After the two local mines closed and Bill lost his job, he cracked up and ended up in a high-security psychiatric unit. He was very violent and his behaviour was terrifying. Later on, he became catatonic and didn’t leave his room for a year.
He smoked a lot of hash and the smell of grass was always winding me up. I left for Uni….to graduate in alcoholism…..and I got a lovely letter from him. He was in London in a squat and wanted me to go down.
A couple of weeks later I got a letter from my, now, step-mum saying he was in a hyper-secure unit in London after being arrested for saying he was a member of the IRA. It was one of the saddest letters I ever read.
Fast forward to today. He is a big time herion user. One of the best looking men in Scotland looks like shit. (he was always the looker in the family)
Why am I writing all this? Because all this happened under a government who took conscious decisions to undermine the kind of area I was brought up in. Me and my sibs were fodder, human collateral, in many ways. I can assure you, as a motherless child there is no big society. Nobody gave a shit about us in the neighbourhood. Luckily for me, my teachers loved me and the feeling was mutual. My, very little, self esteem comes from their respect.
The area I was brought up in is a herion blackspot now. Basically when the mines closed, the drugs moved in. This frightens me.
What is going to happen this time round with a more sociopathic government?