I have to have a little splurge about fostering. Now, I know this isn’t Torridge, but it’s still the state system and it’s still these types of people who think they have the right to tell us how to run our lives.
I grew up with a very interesting viewpoint of life. Being a vicar’s daughter people automatically think I lived a closeted life and have a judgemental attitude. Hmm – when I was 8 we moved to a house in what was the biggest council estate in Europe at the time. We had armour plated windows. The house was surrounded by a chain link fence with barbed wire on the top and we lived across the road from a prostitute my brother named “Vinegar Vera” on account of her acid blood. She used to drug her kids to sleep so she could get on with business, and once bit a police woman’s finger to the bone. This was how we grew up. These were the people with whom we mixed. When we answered the telephone, we didn’t know whether it would be a bishop or the Walkers screaming obscenities at each other via us as the go-between. So we had to treat everyone as if they were the very best people we knew, just because that’s what we reckoned they deserved. We used to get tramps calling on a regular basis, so we’d keep back a store of clothes and shoes from the jumble sales to give to them (better than the dealers having them). We’d invite them in, give them a cup of tea, make them a sandwich and wrap up another for their journey.
Closeted? Absolutely fascinating! I found the tramps to be the most amazing people who all had their stories to tell. People came to us when they needed help. We were there on call, as a family, 24/7. I remember one time when I was about 9, a chap called to see dad. I was in on my own (I have no idea how that happened, totally illegal, but …) I didn’t think my dad would be all that long so I invited the man in to wait and have a coffee while he did. He looked as if he needed the company. My dad was longer than I thought. So on our second coffee the man started to tell me how his wife had left him and walked out on the kids. He didn’t know what to tell them. I told him that since he had been able to tell me all of this and I had understood, his kids would be able to understand, too, so he should try talking to them as he’d just spoken to me. He was looking a lot better by the time my dad got back and was only in with him for 5 minutes before he left.
This is what we were there for, in my book. Someone to turn to. We used to play “Spot the Social Worker” and were only ever wrong once – and she was a teacher. The social workers went home, back to their nice, cosy little suburbs, and left us having to mop up the mess and deal with the general anger at the state, of which, we were seen to be a part. But we took that church from an average congregation of 27 to around 270 not by preaching at them or telling them nauseatingly that Jesus loved them, but by helping them to see what they could do for themselves.
We had the freedom to do the right thing and to adjust our approach according to the circumstances, letting individuals tell us what they needed, not what protocol dictated should be the prescribed solution.
But it wasn’t all roses. We had armour plated windows because the windows had all been shot through before we moved there. We backed onto a park and would often hear a crash against the window as we were watching television. Fearing it was a bird which had then been knocked out, we checked, found it to be a half brick, dismissed it as such and carried on watching television. We had to put buckets of water behind the front doors each autumn to catch the fireworks put through the letterboxes. My brothers were beaten with metal bars, I was whipped with willow branches, my eldest brother had a brick thrown at his head and there was a time I could hardly walk along the road without getting stones thrown at me. And that’s aside from all the verbal abuse. But we left there with many friends and for my own part, I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure of it all.
Anyway, the point is that we lived on the inside and got to see and have to deal with the impact of social services first hand. I grew up with nothing but contempt for social workers as singularly stupid people who lived in their own little bubble, taking their education and training with them to bumble through creating havoc and mayhem in their wake. It’s quite difficult to then be interviewed by a social worker so as to become a foster carer and not to look on them with disdain. It really doesn’t help the process of being accepted by them (especially when they come into your house with their fly undone and then complain that the house is cold!).
I was already thoroughly disillusioned after they made me travel over 60 miles to an “information evening” which consisted of two social workers reading the pages of their website, projected onto a screen. This had already wasted several months of the application process because I didn’t have enough money to pay for the petrol to get to the first one, then weather intervened. This was a complete and utter waste of 5 hours of my time, including travelling, and cost … what? For the social workers and the costs of the two foster carers who made little living out of this thank you very much.
This lack of efficiency was a prelude to why it would take over a year to process the application. So when the social worker creature phoned me to tell me they had decided not to take my application any further it only saved me a phone call to tell them not to take it any further. Basically, I have no desire to work with or for people who are too closed minded and prejudiced to see what is on offer. If they turn me down, then that’s precisely why I don’t want to work with them. They said that it wasn’t just that I lived so far out, but that I had no children of my own.
I’m sorry, but I decided not to have children because the world is overpopulated and we are consuming resources like a virus. I decided as a teenager that if I had a house for children to live in, I’d rather offer it to those who would otherwise not get that chance, than to create life of my own and leave them out in the cold.
I have a house here, where a family can stay together. I have a penetrating understanding of the human condition. Children find me great fun (I first heard Henry’s Cat on the radio on Friday, read by Mike Harding and I absolutely loved it! That’s my kind of humour and I think it’s pretty typical of children’s logic – for those who do not know Henry’s Cat … shame). They also find me a good teacher. In fact, I worked in a school in Hackney some years ago on a short course, helping primary school kids with their reading. They were all said to have learning difficulties. They didn’t have learning difficulties. They just hadn’t been taught to read properly in the first place. I taught them to read. I had 1 hour a week with each of them for 6 weeks and their confidence levels shot up. In fact one little girl who was said to be the worst reader in the class was now helping other kids with their reading. She knew how to read. They only knew how to identify the words they’d been taught.
And therein lies the root all these problems. The education system is set up to teach people how to identify the rules they had been taught. It is not set up to teach people how to read so that they have the skills to figure out anything they encounter. The people who succeed through the education system are those most suited to the safe little rules of local authority control. They learn the new words, or, as Orwell put it “New Speak”, and force everyone to follow their standards.
In 6 weeks I had taken those children from poor readers with very low self esteem to good readers, brimming with self confidence. Me. I did that. I had no children of my own, but that fact was completely and utterly irrelevant with respect to the skills I could bring to the table. There was also one kid who had been in therapy since she was 4 and had not opened up to anyone about her fears and desires. I saw her once and she pretty much told me her life story. I told the counsellors at the school who were astonished I had managed to get her to speak at all. But that’s what I’m good at. I’m good at that because I don’t judge and I think children, especially, get that sense. I look like someone they can trust. I don’t wear the socially minded uniform. I don’t look like the stereotype. This gives me the upper hand and I can then show them that – yeah – they can trust me because I’m different.
I used to be a police officer and rapidly got a reputation for being good with children. I didn’t need to have had my own children for that. I just had to have been one myself – and I’ve never really stopped being one.
No, basically, what did it for me with the foster caring was when this guy first called me and I refused to be classed as White British as I find these categorisations primitive. I didn’t actually use that word, but I may as well have done. And here’s the irony … that’s what children like about me … I’m honest. What they get with me is “You do not have to obey the rules. You just have to do the right thing and in order to do the right thing, first and foremost, you have to know who you are, and you can’t know who you are if you turn yourself into a mindless biological automaton, obeying the rules right or wrong.”
These people live in a fake world. But because their fake world puts them in the positions of the ruling classes – the bureaucrats, the teachers, the social workers, the healthcare adminstrators – who rule with no class whatsoever – they think they actually define reality. They are a sizeable minority who, as group, constitutes the largest working group in the country. 26% of the working population – or 29% if you live in Torridge – over a quarter of all working adults are employed in local government admin, healthcare and education. And this quarter-to-one-third of the population tells the rest of us … 71-74% of us how to live our lives.
We do have to bear in mind that the average IQ is 100 and you have to be incredibly thick to have an IQ of 100. So, the majority of people are really rather stupid, which is why these people have been able to etch out these little empires for themselves. I would suggest that an average IQ (rather than the average) would be closer to 120. And it is to you I write. You are the people who can see this is all wrong. You are the people who can do something about this. These people should not be able to get away with binding us to their false world. We are not just people. We are humans. And the human condition is such a remarkable thing that to be remarkable we just have to be human. But these people – these parasites – these aliens fear what they don’t understand and they must make us conform to their standards. We MUST do something about this before it’s too late. If we don’t do something to show the young that they can have better, the young will rebel and smash the entire system which thwarts them at every turn.
I’m reminded of Fung Yu-Lan’s comments on Chuang-Tzu “Political and Social institutions of all kinds, as viewed by Chuang-Tzu, serve only to impose suffering on man. This is because the natures of different things are not identical and each individual thing has its own special likings. Hence they neither need be, nor should they be forcibly made identical. Since things are thus different, it is right that they should remain different. In this way, uniformity is made out of difference. All political and social institutions, however, decide upon a single Good as a standard for conduct and make all men follow this standard. This is to constrain difference to a forced uniformity, in which case, what is intended to help people results only in harming them.” Chuang-Tzu lived around 369-286BC … will we ever learn?
P.S. Just had a flash of an image. D’you remember that scene near then end of The Matrix where Neo sees everything by the code? No – never mind … it’s like that in reverse with the Social Worker types. They don’t see us as real flesh and blood. All they see is the code – the statistics – the tick boxes, running through us like a data stream, defining what we are as a human outline of computer coding.