Thursday, 28 April 2016

British values? LOOK TO LIVERPOOL Mr Cameron!





When Cameron spouted on about 'British values' I shouted at the television screen, screaming the Tories wouldn’t know true values if they jumped up and bit them on the backside. When I challenged his supporters on the meaning of British values, no one could give me a definitive explanation. I gave them an answer – "Go to Liverpool and meet the people." They didn't like it one bit. I was called 'an idiot', 'ill informed', 'typical red' and even 'a defender of murderers'. YEP, it is true!  

I bring my children up on the 'Liverpool values' – family; truth; honesty; integrity and fight for justice. I teach mine the importance of questioning pieces of writing – the motive of the author, the purpose of the article and to question, with respect, authority if they feel something is wrong. I even teach them 'respect' is NOT an automatic entitlement and has to be earned, regardless of who you are. Up to this week, there has been an inner anxiety that I have set them up to fail in a self-serving, dishonest world but I do believe they are now more prepared for the future than most adults I know. 

Let me take you back to the late 1970s and 1980s. I am not a Liverpudlian – I am from Leeds and a true northern Yorkshire lass. My love affair with Liverpool started in the 1970s. My parents are huge Beatles' fans. We spent lots of family days over in Liverpool searching for all the Beatle locations, including primary schools, homes, etc. Those family days are really precious to me and led me to a life-long love of John Lennon and Liverpool FC. They were the happiest days of my childhood. 

For me the 1980s represented then, and still do now, all that is evil about the Conservative party and the establishment they created. No one in my family is politically motivated and I have to thank Colin Burgon for opening my eyes and releasing what was already in my heart – socialism. I was ridiculed and berated for hating Thatcher but in my heart, even before Hillsborough, I had this gut feeling of dishonesty and disingenuity every time she spoke. I was SEVENTEEN. This was in my heart. I should have known then - always to trust my gut instincts. Then came the Miner's strike. At times, it felt like I was the only one who could see the Government was using the police force against its own people – the people they had sworn an oath to protect and serve. We would denounce any other Government for doing this!! The 1980s was a pure class fight, plain and simple. Thatcher could not follow true capitalist policies with a strong unionised workforce. I was SEVENTEEN and I could see it. 

During this time, I had to endure racism at its worst within our extended family. One of our relatives was a police officer and I remember one day she came round to our house bragging about how she'd got a confession out of someone. I lost it. I totally let rip. In front of my Dad, I told her to stick her prejudicial views and her corruption up her a***. I even told her she was part of a fascist plot against working people. I apologised to my Dad after – not for what I said but out of respect for him. 

Then, came Orgreave. I cried. I was devastated to watch the lies unfold. To watch the police batter people who only wanted to save their jobs, feed their families. It was a sad day when the miners were forced to give up their fight. 

Hillsborough was heart breaking. The human suffering and devastation can never, ever be overstated. Anyone who has spent time in Liverpool, with Liverpool families, would never, EVER believe the lies that were told in the aftermath of the disaster. The truth has always been there and always known by everyone involved. The TRUTH has ALWAYS been there!

A couple of days after the disaster, we travelled over to Anfield to pay our respects. I remember the long, silent queue that spanned the perimeter of the fence, which is now the Centenary Stand. Poems and messages had been written all along the fence. The silence was overwhelming. A lady came out of her house opposite the ground and came over to us. She threw her arms around my neck – a complete stranger – and thanked me for coming to her city. That IS Liverpool; that is MY Liverpool. The city of kindness and heart-warming friendliness. 

Years later, I took Wes to his first Liverpool game against Barcelona. There was just me and him. When we got in the ground, a steward smiled and started talking to Wes. He actually walked us to our seat!! That is MY Liverpool. 

Watching the fight, the Hillsborough families fought, makes me immensely proud. Anne Williams was incredible and such an inspiration. She didn't ask for the fight but by God, she took it on and was fierce. I was in awe of her and there is not one word that can possibly explain how much influence her fight had on my life. She is the reason I am the Mum I am today. She taught me how to fight for our children, for truth and justice and she will always be my working class hero.

The Hillsborough verdicts have much wider implications than Liverpool. They are a catalyst for change and we ALL have a responsibility to pursue that change – to stop corruption and put those British values back into the heart of our country – family; truth; honesty and fight for justice; integrity. Thatcher stole these away from US as a nation, it's time to bring them back. 

I stand by my prediction that, in years to come, it will be proven beyond doubt, Thatcher will be the worst Prime Minister in social British history. We know they lied about Hillsborough, I know they lied about Orgreave, what else have they lied about? The 1980s were rotten to the core!

The Government need silent compliance; they need us to roll over and accept their version as the 'truth'. They hate Liverpool because the people refused to roll over; they refused silent compliance. They picked on the wrong city and now, as a country, WE ALL need to FIGHT together to ensure the changes started by the heroism of the Hillsborough families and survivors, continue until we have a fully accountable establishment and media. Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have my full support, not just because they are old, like me, and remember the horrors of the 1980s, but because they are everything that our public representatives should be – HONEST!!!

Thank you to the Hillsborough families, the courageous survivors, the honest people who tried to save lives that fateful day and everyone who wants to see a better world for our children. Most of all thank you to Anne and Sara xx

Rest in Peace at last 96 angels – you'll never walk alone



Sunday, 24 April 2016

Never, ever underestimate the power of positive words



Sometimes it only takes one positive word of encouragement to provoke a light bulb moment; a moment of total inspiration.

Yesterday, I accompanied Wes, at his request, to his applicant's day at Leeds Beckett University. I love the university – its buildings, its atmosphere, its history and it was my road to freedom after Meniere's robbed me of my career. The course tutor reminded me of the reasons why I am writing now. It was such a tonic and all I needed to spur me on to keep going. Never, ever underestimate the power of your words!

Wes is so ready for university and the course is perfect for him, combining sport with social justice, history and politics. I'm jealous – it sounds fascinating. I am incredibly proud of the gentleman he has turned into and my children will be my greatest legacy. He just has his 'A' levels to pass now – 'just' as if it is a simple task! I have total faith he will do well…I can't think where he gets his motivation from.

Any of my UK followers willing for the 24th June? I AM. The EU referendum is utterly and totally doing my head in. I am so ashamed of the rubbish being spouted especially when it comes to race. The elitist and supreme attitude of some is astounding. It's laughable Obama is being slated for having an opinion. He's damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. All I would say is if he had backed Brexit, I'm damn sure the 'IN' campaign would not have stooped so low as to question his heritage and bring race into the argument. It is absolute arrogance to think, if we leave the EU, all other countries will drop all their current plans and schedules, to sort out urgent deals with the UK. Why would anyone assume, if we decide to isolate ourselves, other countries will bend over backwards to re-negotiate with us. As with everything with the EU referendum, Obama's stance has been blown totally out of proportion by the very media who would benefit from an EU exit.

What worries me more, is the blatant, open racism being spouted by Johnson, also by Cameron in relation to the Mayoral elections. To stoop that low only suggests they are very, desperate, despicable men – and I use the term 'men' loosely. The dark, dark ages of inequality scares me enormously.

Right, work wise, I've been busy…

Streetwise


After my uplifting visit, I came home and spent all night and today, re-writing/editing this screenplay. Now…it IS finished. I am 99.9% happy with it – there's always room for improvement. No one is perfect! Tomorrow, I am putting the finishing touches to the Treatment, then off it goes… another child cast away into the big, bad world.

 

The Nanny

This is my next major project and then after that, Twin Lies – but that's for another day. The Nanny is progressing well. The plan is complete and I am currently researching the Troubles in Northern Ireland – this forms the back drop to this thriller. I'm having great fun formulating all the main characters and their mannerisms. 

Beyond the Past


Have you had the chance to read it yet? 

Would you like to review it for me? 

Read the first three chapters FREE on my website
Available from:
Pegasus Publishers
Amazon UK
Kindle
Amazon US
Or you can order from your local bookshop. 
The ISBN number is : 978-1-84386-789-0

PhD


I'm still waiting to hear about my PhD. Patience is a virtue or so they say! I have a few alternative plans to explore but I WILL be back at Uni soon. My determination has not let me down so far.

Right, I'm off. It's Sunday afternoon, which means uniforms need ironing. There is absolutely no chance of me not having my feet on the ground.






Have a fabulous week. Stay safe but be brave.



Monday, 18 April 2016

My poor old heart



Well, what can I say about last week? L.I.V.E.R.P.O.O.L, Liverpool FC!!!! What a game against Borussia Dortmund. I have goosebumps again writing about it. I usually support Dortmund unless they are playing Liverpool of course. Lucas' favourite, non-Liverpool player is Hummels – he even named one of his teddies after him. Honestly, my poor old heart could not bear it. Oh, my poor neighbours… Lucas reckoned I could be heard in Liverpool… we are in Leeds, 204km (or if you're old, like me, 74.3 miles). It was an incredible night, definitely on a par with Istanbul. The team had assistance from the angels above. Onwards and upwards – with hope in our hearts.

 

Friday was a solemn day, the 15th April always is. It makes me so angry! I cannot imagine how the families and those affected by Hillsborough feel but justice is coming. Incredibly proud of all those who have fought tirelessly for the truth and justice – especially Anne Williams. #JFT96



Meniere's Madness


One thing Meniere's tries to strip you of is, self-confidence. It's a pain in the… It probably sounds ridiculous and over dramatic, but my worst fear is going out and having a drop attack and not being able to get home to the boys. The thought of it absolutely terrifies me, so much so I talk myself out of going places. It is so frustrating and makes me loathe myself for letting it get to me. Prior to Meniere's I used to love going out for days on my own – visiting museums and places of interest. I even travelled down to the French Grand Prix, accompanied only by Wes when he was six.  On Saturday, I got up for the F1 qualifying and couldn't decide whether I should stay in or go to the NHS march in Leeds. I want to be a part of the change and show the boys that you can change the world. By 9am, I had talked myself out of going – fear of being in the City Centre on my own, even though thousands were present! By 10.30am, bonkers Boris was spouting on the news about Brexit and I decided I was going to defy the demons and go to the demonstration. 

I am so glad I forced myself to go. Wes is eighteen and more than capable of looking after Lucas, although Lucas will tell you he is capable of looking after himself. 

For the last thirty years, I've been driving people mad shouting about cover-ups, media bias, economic policy failures and corruption. For most of that time, I have felt alone, shouting down a bottomless void! Now, I won't say I told you so…or maybe I will. The Labour Party has returned to my kind of party and my principles. As soon as I qualified to, I joined the writers' union – Writers' Guild of Great Britain. They offer so many great services and have negotiated excellent contracts and fees. Trade Unions have been, for too long, undermined but their work should not be underestimated. The media and establishment like to paint a negative, trouble making image of them; let's face it we only hear about them when there is a strike. Thatcher did a wonderful job in damning the trade unions. However, they carry out tremendous work, behind the warped headlines. I am so happy the Labour party has returned to closer ties with trade unions. We can work together for the greater good. Roll on 2020.

Anyway, I am glad I went to the demonstration. I met some lovely people, put the world to right and had a full blown debate with a gentleman about the woes of Leeds United.
I came home as proud as punch, knowing I'd beaten the inner demons this time. I WON!! It was disappointing the media chose to ignore the demonstrations. We will still be heard.

Today, the school holidays are over. I've missed having the boys around but I've been incredibly busy cleaning their bear pits and writing. I think Lucas missed me too. This is what he did as soon as he came home…bless him.



Streetwise

 

 

 

When I'm writing a new story, after drawing up a plan, I just write and write. Some of it won’t make it beyond the first edit but I find it much easier to just write what flows out, then get rid of it afterwards. I'm sure it is not the most efficient way but it is effective.

Streetwise started out about Kate and her life since saving Rob's life. It soon became so much more with addition of Georgina, a homeless teenager who considers being on the streets safer than the life she has left behind. After Georgina, came Colleen, Kate's work colleague and volunteer at the homeless charity. Colleen is hiding behind a new identity forced upon her, to hide from the horrors of her past life. The changes to the focus of the story-line came about after I completed a Screenwriting course and after using beat sheets. I am more confident with the story now…editing continues.

Beyond the Past


Have you had the chance to read it yet? 

Would you like to review it for me? 

Read the first three chapters FREE on my website
Available from:
Pegasus Publishers
Amazon UK
Kindle
Amazon US
Or you can order from your local bookshop. 
The ISBN number is : 978-1-84386-789-0 


Right, I'm off to feed the boys. Don't let your inner demons stop you from pursuing your dreams. The greatest reward is the celebration of freedom. Have a fabulous week and stay safe.