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Don’t Blame Single Mums For High Streets Problems

Letter in the Echo newspaper, Thursday 1st March. In response to the following article: ‘Anna Waite: Druggies, Drunks and Single Mums Driving Upmarket Shops Out Of Southend.’ http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/9557798.Druggies__drunks_and_single_mums____driving_upmarket_shops_out_of_Southend___/

“Anna Waite thinks druggies and single mothers are killing trade in Southend High Street.
It would be great to be married with two incomes and a nice family business, but I’m not. Instead I gave up my well-paid job in order to be a better parent to my child. I’m not in the best financial state, but my pennies go back into the town centre, because it’s where I live!
Generalisations like Ms Waites show that we are all tarred with an ugly brush by silver-spooners who have no idea what it is like to live a day in my shoes. New lighting, pavements and bins will not bring people to the town centre.
Might I suggest free parking on weekends like the larger shopping centres do? More shoppers equals more shops, as the old business rule of supply and demand goes.
When General Haig’s incompetence and Neville Chamberlain’s dithering appeasement created two whole generations of single mothers, I don’t recall seeing in my history books any signs in shop windows saying that single mothers weren’t welcome.”

Ms Jack Monroe, Southend on Sea.

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6 replies »

  1. I’m with you on most of this and it is good to see your letter in the paper. Your profile seems to be on the up. This site is a breath of fresh air in Southend. I don’t know how you manage to come up with so much material. I still cannot believe the outburst from Anna Waite. I think she is insufficiently house trained to make a sensible contribution about a diverse and complex society.

    I have only one disagreement on a point of history (well I would wouldn’t I?)

    Appeasement by Neville Chamberlain has become the easiest thing to write about and demonise. I am not defending the policy because it clearly gave Hitler the confidence to do what he wanted on mainland Europe. But I think the matter is more complex than normally portrayed. The leading politicians in the late 1930s had known the utter horrors of the Great War and there must have been an extremely strong wish not to repeat this only 20 years later with more sophisticated weapons. The League of Nations was set up to try and ensure that was ‘the war to end all wars.’ We will now have all but forgotten the mindset of that 1930s generation.

    Also I would argue the delay in declaring war on Germany bought Britain valuable time to step up the development and industrial manufacture of weaponry. We did not have the USA on board then and their people were predominantly isolationist. We won the Battle of Britain by the skin of our teeth, a few less Spitfires and Hurricanes and a few less trained pilots and ground crew might have meant a different outcome. Even radar as an effective air defence was only just developed at the close of the decade. Let alone single parents there would not have been a single Jew, homosexual, Gypsy or many people with physical or learning disabilities here had we come under the nazi jackboot.

    Finally Winston Churchill famously stated “Of course History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” He then proceeded to spend several post-war years writing ‘the Second World War’ in six volumes and the work became a bestseller. I think it is no surprise that the views he expressed have become part of the national consciousness and still resonate today. The other day I offered a conciliatory view on an echo story (I think it was about young people) and someone instantly lobbed me a comment along the lines of ‘you are not by any chance related to Neville Chamberlain are you?’

    In my view war, the ultimate breakdown of communication, created those two generations of single parents rather than blaming a single politician for a policy which, with the benefit of 100% hindsight has been deemed inadequate. And our bombing campaign on non-strategic German cities and civilian populations extinguished the lives of many who were left at home, old people, mothers and children.

    It will be a relief that I am not now going to defend Douglas Haig but from some stuff I have read there might be another side there too.

  2. I sincerely hope this is not a multiple post, i have had some odd site maintenance message which are defeating me!

    I’m with you on most of this and it is good to see your letter in the paper. Your profile seems to be on the up. This site is a breath of fresh air in Southend. I don’t know how you manage to come up with so much material. I still cannot believe the outburst from Anna Waite. I think she is insufficiently house trained to make a sensible contribution about a diverse and complex society.

    I have only one disagreement on a point of history (well I would wouldn’t I?)

    Appeasement by Neville Chamberlain has become the easiest thing to write about and demonise. I am not defending the policy because it clearly gave Hitler the confidence to do what he wanted on mainland Europe. But I think the matter is more complex than normally portrayed. The leading politicians in the late 1930s had known the utter horrors of the Great War and there must have been an extremely strong wish not to repeat this only 20 years later with more sophisticated weapons. The League of Nations was set up to try and ensure that was ‘the war to end all wars.’ We will now have all but forgotten the mindset of that 1930s generation.

    Also I would argue the delay in declaring war on Germany bought Britain valuable time to step up the development and industrial manufacture of weaponry. We did not have the USA on board then and their people were predominantly isolationist. We won the Battle of Britain by the skin of our teeth, a few less Spitfires and Hurricanes and a few less trained pilots and ground crew might have meant a different outcome. Even radar as an effective air defence was only just developed at the close of the decade. Let alone single parents there would not have been a single Jew, homosexual, Gypsy or many people with physical or learning disabilities here had we come under the nazi jackboot.

    Finally Winston Churchill famously stated “Of course History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” He then proceeded to spend several post-war years writing ‘the Second World War’ in six volumes and the work became a bestseller. I think it is no surprise that the views he expressed have become part of the national consciousness and still resonate today. The other day I offered a conciliatory view on an echo story (I think it was about young people) and someone instantly lobbed me a comment along the lines of ‘you are not by any chance related to Neville Chamberlain are you?’

    In my view war, the ultimate breakdown of communication, created those two generations of single parents rather than blaming a single politician for a policy which, with the benefit of 100% hindsight has been deemed inadequate. And our bombing campaign on non-strategic German cities and civilian populations extinguished the lives of many who were left at home, old people, mothers and children.

    It will be a relief that I am not now going to defend Douglas Haig but from some stuff I have read there might be another side there too.

  3. [...] the town centre, small businesses and traders, a market in the town, provisions and assistance to single parents, people on low incomes, homelessness, education, young people; these are the things that matter to [...]

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