Throughout the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, I have been troubled by one concept – the desire to lift me out of poverty. I feel silenced and subjugated, my dependence determined by another's articulation of my needs. More than anything, I seek the opportunity to forge my own success. Yesterday, that potential was entirely blown away.
For almost eighteen years, I have strived to provide better for my child than my parents did for me. Coming from an insolvent household, I sought employment to make up for the losses of a depleted inheritance, only to find one circumstance after another requiring me to recreate plan B. I still have no savings to bequeathe.
In the immediate term, the costs of university are no longer upon me. Gone are the frantic calculations of how much I need to earn: my child may attend, deferring repayment for some time. But this decision leaves him worse off than I am now, for every step forward will take him two steps back: because he has this, he may no longer have that and thus the fruitless treadmill to asphyxiated aspiration continues. I feel betrayed.
As parents, is it not our duty to nurture our young? Yet in my generation, which enjoyed free education with benefits on top – we were able to claim unemployment at the end of the summer term – I see nothing but avarice and greed. Leeches of the buy to let bonanza sapping the first earnings of the newly qualified from accommodation once owned by the state.
Because I dare to pop my head above the parapet, is my poverty not abject enough for you? Must I, at every hurdle jumped at my own initiative, find others set by those who encountered none? What is it that you want? To absolve yourself of the material rape from which you profited, by weakening me to a compliance in which with effortless benevolence you may lift one who has lost the appetite for your diet?