Feb 2nd, 2021
R accused me of having a privileged up bringing. So just to set the record straight.
My grandparents on my mother’s side lived in a one room tenement in Dumbarton. My grandfather was a builder’s labourer. In the 1930s he would need to get up every morning and see whether there had been frost. If there had been there would be no work for him that day because the cement they used at the time froze over.
My grandmother was a housemaid in Helensburgh and Cardross and then worked as a Charlady getting up at 6am every day to clean rich people’s houses. If my Grandfather had no work, she would be the only person putting the food on the table. Some of the people on the street were worse off than them though; one of my mother’s friends were so poor that they had no cups and had to drink out of jam jars.
My uncle Robert got a Scholarship to Glasgow University through his own efforts and became a professor of maths and physics. My Mum got a job as a secretary because in those days women could not easily get professional jobs. Later she was the PA to the head of a big garage and then a senior administrator for a GP practice.
My Dad’s family were a bit better off. His Mum owned a little shop in Carlisle. My Dad got a place at university but couldn’t take it up because there was no money for it and had to join the Civil Service.
Maz went to a comprehensive school and then passed the scholarship exam to go to St Bees which otherwise her Dad could never have afforded.
So that was my privileged upbringing. I’ve never been a union member and have never wanted to be one. I’ve never had any time for the Arthur Scargills of this world as I clearly remember sitting huddled up next to a radiator reading a book by torchlight during the power cuts the unions induced.