Voting Labour; even if your local candidate is a bit of a buckethead

My local labour candidate is a nincompoop. As 30 seconds perusing Gordon Munro’s election pamphlet would demonstrate. Not only does he include a rather unnecessary amount of information about his history of swimming and water polo at our local pool, he’s also included a huge photo of himself with George Clooney. Quite why no one questioned the relevance of that photo is anyone’s guess. It is not the worst election pamphlet I’ve seen this time. That honour goes to a UKIP candidate who is strangely obsessed with the types of metal used in a Robin Hood statue.

I’ve been involved in local community organisations in Leith for over a decade. It’s safe to say Munro’s questionable tendencies predate his photo op with Clooney. Munro is fairly well-known for supporting projects that increase his prestige and power – such as his insistence that the Duncan Place Resource Centre closure due to the building being condemned following years of council mismanagement isn’t really a big deal. And, that the programs offered by the DPRC could be transferred easily to the Leith Community Centre, despite it being a third of the size and involving only halls rather than community education classrooms and other specialist facilities. 3 guesses which community centre board Gordon Munro has been involved with over the years.

For years, I’ve been saying that I only voted for Munro because my former Labour MSP, Malcolm Chisholm, could be trusted to squash Munro’s more eyebrow raising decisions. Chisholm retired at the last Scottish Parliament election and was replaced by a male SNP MSP who looks about 12 and has zero understanding of male violence (or even what his own parties policies were on this prior to the election). Since a write-in campaign to have Chisholm elected Prime Minister against his will isn’t an appropriate response to destroying the Tory party, I will be voting for Gordon Munro. I fully intend to be as big a pain in his arse when he’s an MP as he was as a local councillor, even though I appear to be permanently off his Christmas card list now.

I’m voting labour because I’m a single mother with 2 children, an obscene amount of university debt, and a disability that has severely curtailed my ability to work, even part time. Gordon Munro might not be my favourite politician, but neither are my other local councillors Chaz Booth (Green) and Adam McVey (SNP). I do trust Munro on a number of issues that are important to me and I’m perfectly content to spend the next 5 years campaigning to ensure that Munro changes his stance on other policies (provision of community centres, massive investment in the crumbling fabric of school buildings, 3 block radius ban on parking near schools for non-residents, the banning of all men from driving cars in my neighbourhood).

I’m voting Labour because:

I’m also a fan of Labour’s leaked policy expanding abortion rights to women living in Northern Ireland. I’d like them to go even further to remove the “2 doctor mental health’ rule for women accessing abortion in England and Wales (Scotland will be reviewing the rule during his parliament).

I’m going to campaign for Labour to do the following over the next few years:

  • Ban Trident
  • Stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia
  • Recognise that the child poverty is due to fathers refusing to pay maintenance, which is a form of child abuse
  • Ring fenced massive investment in schools
  • Ring fenced massive investments in the NHS
  • Ring fenced massive investment in community care
  • Fundamental changes to family courts and child access that recognise that viewing domestic violence against a mother is also child abuse. Children have the right to live free from exposure to violence and that includes violence perpetrated by their fathers
  • Higher corporation taxes
  • More post-secondary training programs for young people
  • End to housing refugees in detention centres (and increasing financial support for asylum seekers)
  • End to charitable status for private schools.
  • Expansion of right to vote to all 16 year olds.

 

I’m voting Labour because we cannot afford another 5 years of Tory rule. Too many people have already died because of Tory policy. My local Labour candidate might make me roll my eyes on a daily basis, but he isn’t creating policies that force people into poverty or supporting polices that actively kill people. Perfection is a goal, not a reality in politics. And, right now, we need a labour government more than ever, regardless of whether or not you actively like your local candidate or if you loathe Jeremy Corbyn.

We need a labour government now more than ever.

Child maintenance: Defining financial child abuse

There is no birth control which is 100% effective. Most women know that every time they have PIV, they are risking pregnancy. We have sex because we enjoy it; despite the knowledge of all the possible lifetime consequences. We know the difficulties of choosing whether or not continue the pregnancy. We know that many women do not have a choice; whether it is because there is no access to abortion in their area or if poverty will force a “choice” on them. We know what pregnancy can do to our bodies in a “normal healthy” pregnancy; never mind one in which we could potentially have SPD, anaemia, gestational diabetes, hyperemesis, or pre-eclampsia. We know the all the possible consequences of giving birth; vaginally or via caesarian. We know the possibilities of post-natal depression, tearing and even the fact that domestic violence frequently starts or gets more severe during pregnancy. We know the statistics because we know the realities. We see them every day in our families and our friends.

The real question is why do so many men (and some women) assume that men should face no consequences for fathering a child? And, why does the government support the right of these losers to fuck women with impunity whilst slut-shaming those women for having sex?  Why does the government think it should punish some women for withholding contact from abusive men without punishing those same men for the abuse or their failure to pay maintenance? Why do men get to do whatever they want whenever they want with no legal or moral requirement for them to act like an adult?

Here’s the thing: I think withholding maintenance is financial child abuse. If you help create a child, then you damn well better financially support them. Men who withhold maintenance to punish the mother are committing child abuse. Failure to support your child is neglect and should be legally recognised as such. If the primary carer, otherwise known as the mother, could go to prison for child neglect for failing to adequately feed and clothe their child, then why shouldn’t the erstwhile “father”? These men aren’t “good fathers” and the pretence that they are actively harms children. Children need good, kind men in their lives. They don’t need abusive arseholes who prioritise fancy cars and booze above the basic needs of their children.

And, yeah, I think men who don’t bother to financially support their child, shouldn’t be allowed access. Deliberately withholding support should be a legally valid reason to deny contact. Men who use access to control their ex-partners should be prohibited from contact. Men who commit domestic violence against their partners shouldn’t be allowed contact with their children. If you assault your partner, then you can’t ever be a good father. Good fathers are not abusive. Children deserve the right to be raised in a happy and secure home; not one in which their “father” gets to dictate everything that happens just because he has a penis.

Failing to support your children means you aren’t a real man. You deserve to be named and shamed. You are responsible for the feminisation of poverty.

You are the reason our old government had to subsidise single mothers through tax credits and income support. You are the reason that these same women will be pushed further into poverty by our current government of misogynistic arsehats. These are the people who are destroying our families; not single mothers who are desperately trying to feed and clothe their children whilst dealing with abusive men and a society that doesn’t think men should be held responsible for anything. Ever.

Canada has a much better track record with child maintenance than the UK. The assumption there is that men should pay to support their children in order to prevent women’s dependence on the welfare state. Perhaps our current government of nincompoops should have looked into that instead of slashing the welfare budget creating a whole new generation of vulnerable children being raised in poverty. These are the consequences for failure to pay in Canada

  • Make deductions from wages (maximum of 40% gross wage);
  • MEP can take money payable to the debtor from bank accounts, mutual funds, rent or contract fees;
  • Garnish income tax refunds, GST rebates, Canada Pension Plan income, and Employment Insurance payments;
  • The debtor may be prevented from transferring any property he or she wishes to sell, and allows MEP to seize assets including vehicles, shares and bonds;
  • The debtor may have his or her driver’s licence, registration, licence plates, or abstracts restricted or suspended;
  • Recreational licences for fishing and hunting may be restricted;
  • MEP may cancel current driver’s licences for account more than 60 days in late payments;
  • Passports can be revoked;
  • MEP may prevent an owner from re-mortgaging or selling real estate without first making payments. In some cases MEP may force sale of real estate;
  • Failure to make child support payments may be registered as bad debt and affect credit;
  • If assets are being kept in the name of a company, MEP can apply for a court order allowing the company’s assets to be used to pay for the debt;
  • MEP may seize assets the debtor tries to sell; and/or
  • If assets are being put in someone else’s name to avoid collection, MEP can apply for a court order allowing for their seizure
It’s easily assessed via personal income tax which is filed yearly. Yes, there are real holes in the system and some men do get away with child financial neglect but, at least, Canada recognises that men who refuse to support their children are committing a crime which has long-term consequences for those children. The UK needs to take a real stand against abusive men and start forcing men to take responsibility for where they decide to ejaculate.

Gingerbread Campaign on CSA