The Illamasqua Anti-Fascism Pledge

Just before Christmas I caught up with a representative from Illamasqua to discuss their upcoming make up collections. I woke up on the morning of the meeting ridiculously hungover; seriously regretting that last Red Stripe (and everything else I’d consumed the night before). I shoved an Eat 4 Less baguette down my gob, downed so much Fanta I’ve probably given myself diabetes and prayed that I would be home within half an hour; back in bed with a burrito. Within 10 minutes of sitting down and getting a sneak preview of all the latest pigments, palettes and powders my hangover woes disappeared – I was in heaven. I’m not the most particularly make up obsessed girl (Read: I still have a tide line when I apply foundation and I’ve only recently discovered highlighter) but I am all about socially conscious brands. I learned how Illamasqua pride themselves on having a stance against animal testing and how they strive to be inclusive of all ethnicities and skin colours. Yesterday they released a statement which didn’t sugar coat how they felt about Trump supporters buying their products and I felt it was the perfect time to finally get round to writing about them………

After the shit storm that was 2016, it’s pretty hard to avoid being political these days. Even your ex boyfriend, who once thought Hugh Grant was Prime Minister, is over on Facebook; letting everyone know that he thinks Donald Trump is a bit of a dickhead. Celebrities haven’t been shy to speak out and share their beliefs either; Gary Lineker is more or less the leader of the opposition in the U.K, Michael Sheen has swapped acting for activism and Lily Allen is doing God’s work on Twitter; dealing with sexist, racist misogynist trolls daily for merely daring to call out fascism.

But brands and businesses? They’ve been a little quieter. Sure, a few have made a stand or a statement but the majority are adopting the ‘never discuss politics at a dinner party’ strategy in order to protect their profits. After all, Trump supporters are ridiculously extra when you offend their Fash Daddy.

So yesterday when Illamasqua released a statement detailing their Anti-Fascism Pledge it made for a refreshing break from reading about the latest atrocities the Alt-Right* are up to.

*A polite term for Nazis

Illamasqua believe in the freedom of expression, equality and diversity. That’s why we are horrified by President Trump’s actions to date. We refuse to remain silent while extreme right-wing populism gains momentum… wherever it is happening.

As such, we will never knowingly sell our products to people who support President Trump’s values. To be part of our community, and to buy our products, you must first pledge to Human Fundamentalism values:

  • Never discriminate against race, colour, nationality, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion
  • Accept responsibility on challenging social and climate issues
  • Speak for those who cannot speak up for themselves
  • Uphold the principles of the S.O.P.H.I.E. charity to stamp out prejudice, intolerance and hatred.

We’re realistic. We know we can’t stop anyone buying our products. But we also know that no matter how hard some people work to make themselves beautiful on the outside, make-up can never hide the ugliness inside. So please, if you don’t agree with the above DON’T BUY US.

Prejudice, sexism and racism should never be tolerated. Whether you’re a brand or an individual join us and, together, we can be the change we want to see.

PEACE,

JULIAN KYNASTON, ILLAMASQUA FOUNDER.

The fashion and beauty industry gets a bad rep at times because of course they do, it’s mainly women who enjoy make up so naturally anything a female enjoys will be passed off as trivial and unimportant. Yet here we are in 2017, and along with Teen Vogue being the main major publication to pull Trump up on his bullshit, it’s a beauty brand that’s risking their profits and putting their influence to good use to fight fascism.

Some may be cynical and claim Illamasqua’s pledge is all for publicity and to generate more sales and, while I don’t believe that to be true, who actually cares if that’s what it is? If brands and businesses want to start marketing their goods by highlighting dangerous politics and directing us towards good causes while they’re at it, I’m all for it. I’d rather be flogged a lipstick by a company not standing by while a repulsive bigot tries to implement disgusting policies like a Muslim Ban rather than a business that chucks a few hundred grand at a Kardashian so they can feature on their Instagram page.

For those cynics who still aren’t convinced, Illamasqua are donating 100% of ALL sales proceeds of Lip Lure in Nebulus to The Sophie Lancaster Foundation to help the charity continue it’s work in challenging prejudice and intolerance.

If you needed an excuse to add to your make up collection, this is the sign you’ve been waiting for. Head down to Illamasqua and be safe in the knowledge that when you’re applying your eyeliner your wings won’t be Alt-Right.

Join Illamasqua’s Anti-Fascism Pledge HERE

See also: How to Not Fund a Tory Business

 

10 Things Generation Rent Can Relate To

As I’m currently up late, thinking of ways to make some extra money quickly as I’ve spent everything on my rent this month, I thought I might as well upload a link to this article I wrote for The Metro last month.

10 Things Generation Rent Can Relate To

Since this article was published letting agent’s admin fees have actually been made illegal, just like they have been in Scotland for years. I’m was so excited by the news initially but I’m also a little bit worried about it. This isn’t just because I’m a moody cynical emo but also as I’m worried that in doing this without other laws in place too it may see unfair rent increases and other ways for letting agents to exploit renters.

I guess we’ll see eh?

See also: “So How Many Cameras Are On You?” 10 Mins on TV

Professor Green Guest of Honour at Mental Health & Me Awards Night

Chart-topper Professor Green was guest of honour at Writing on the Wall’s prize giving ceremony last night.

The event, held at Liverpool Central Library, celebrated the second year of the Mental Health & Me contest; a competition centred around the subject of mental distress.

The MOBO award winning artist, real name Stephen Manderson, was on hand to present the prize to the overall winner of the competition; Pat Fearon, for her Spoken Word entry, The Edge.

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Professor Green on stage with the winners and runners up

“For those of us who do find writing as a form of expression that we enjoy, we’re extremely lucky,’ he explained before announcing the winner. “It helps you get what you have inside, out. For some it’s not writing; it’s performing, it’s dance, drawing, painting – it’s any form of art. But finding a form of expression is great way to start a healing process. For me, I got a lot less angry when I found a voice.”

This isn’t the first time the rapper, currently on tour supporting Fall Out Boy, has spoken about mental health issues. Having lost his dad to suicide, he has spoken openly about his own battles with depression and anxiety and is a patron for CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably.

“It was quite a while after the first album (that I started speaking about mental health issues),” he revealed to over 100 guests. “I did an interview and I was asked a really simple question: ‘How did your father’s death affect you?’ I hadn’t really thought about it, but I guess looking back I know I began making better decisions after what happened and I started to become a lot more self aware – I didn’t want to end up in the same poisition as my dad who took his own life. It’s a lot easier in the beginning to ignore it and pretend it’s not there, but it is, and at that point I had to accept that and start doing some work on myself and turn my life around.”

Prior to Professor Green’s star appearance, runners up and winners from all seven catergoires were honoured on stage; with former Lord Mayor Gary Millar and MP Luciana Berger amongst those presenting the awards.

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Luciana Berger & Professor Green

Having recently been appointed the Shadow Minister for Health, Luciana used her time on stage to outline just how she’ll be working towards reducing the stigma attached to mental health in her new position.

“I can promise you that I am committed to doing two things over the next five years up to the General Election in 2020. First, holding the government accountable for all the promises it has made. Secondly, to develop a world-class mental health programme to be implemented by the next Labour government” the MP for Wavertree pledged to the audience.

Luciana’s post, which is Cabinet-level, is a new creation of Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow administration and currently has no identical counterpart in the Conservative government.

were to buy cytotec Mental Health & Me is a yearly competition ran by both Writing on the Wall and Liverpool Mental Health Consortium

follow link Tomorrow is World Mental Health Day and it will be marked by a day-long festival in Williamson Square, Liverpool from 10am. For more information click here.

See also: Group Therapy: FACT’s New Mental Health Exhibition 

The Independent: London, None of Us Care About the Tube Strike

Originally published for The Independent

http://rodpriceadventure.com/locations/wekiva-youth-camp-at-wekiwa-springs-state-park/ Londoners, none of us outside your city care about the tube strike – so stop featuring it in national news
Endless coverage about how Dan from Shoreditch couldn’t get the bus to work seems to have eclipsed news like the mass water poisoning in Lancashire.

Keep Calm and Carry On: apparently no other city across the UK embodies this phrase better than London. A city that doesn’t sweat the small stuff; it just gets on with things – stiff upper lip and all that. So why, just why, when tube drivers (rightly) go on strike, does the place crumble and all the whiney cry-babies come sneaking out the woodwork, horrified that they’ve had to walk to work for 24 hours? Headlines capturing commuters’ ‘ordeals’, trending topics on Twitter, live blogs (yes, really) chronicling how people are coping – the rest of the country ends up knowing exactly what is happening in London, whether we want to or not.
Meanwhile, over in Lancashire, including my hometown, residents are now entering their fourth week of undrinkable water. Those living in Blackpool, Flyde, Chorley and Preston have been warned not to drink tap water due to traces of microscopic bug which can lead to stomach cramps and diarrhoea. You may have missed this news because, well, it didn’t really make the national news.

Perhaps the London-centric media are shocked that Lancashire had running water in the first place and this has all been too much to process and stopped them reporting on it. One can but assume that’s what it is. Whereas we endured 24 hour rolling coverage about how hard it was for Dan from Shoreditch to get a bus to his work (most likely a digital media agency; it’s always a digital media agency), the North West hasn’t been inundated with hordes of national reporters. Neither have our timelines been filled with ‘shocking’ pictures of various people brushing their teeth with a bottle of Evian.

Before unions rightfully stuck up for their working rights and went on strike, you couldn’t move for thought pieces from journalists about London was ‘over’ and they were leaving post-haste. Flicking through these pieces when you’re actually in the north makes for a very confusing time.

“Have these guys only just realised there’s a country outside London? They can’t have only just clocked that you can have a decent career without having to spend £700 a month to rent a cat litter box in a dodgy area?” we ask each other, scratching our heads in bemusement. “Moreover, how have they got themselves a national platform to chat about their discovery? Why would anyone outside of London be interested in this?” When I left Preston for Liverpool I updated my Facebook status with news of my relocation and even deemed that a bit self-indulgent. I would never expect a national publication to be interested in 500 words from me on why I had outgrown a town.

Look, I know when London ‘gave’ us the BBC back in 2012 we should have stopped our moaning about inequality up here. And yes, Tories have uttered the phrase ‘Northern Powerhouse’ enough times to ensure that the North / South divide is almost certainly to become a thing of the past within minutes. Granted, no one is quite sure what a Northern Powerhouse is, let alone whether we actually have one. To me, it sounds like the name of a wrestler performing at the back of a working men’s club in Bolton – but I’m assured it’s actually related to business and improving prosperity in the North. And I’m sure the politicians in their Westminster bubble really, really care about it, as if it were their mother in geographical form.

London is one of the world’s biggest cities, I’ll concede, what happens there is more likely be more newsworthy than a village fete in Burnley. But sometimes, just sometimes, can you keep some stories just for the Evening Standard? We don’t need to hear your precious moans about Transport for London when the rest of us are condemned to the vagaries of Northern Rail. How I wish those guys would go on strike and give me an excuse not to use them.

See also: In Defence of Living Up North

How to Not Fund a Tory Business

“I’m proud that Labour have links with ordinary working people. David Cameron is bankrolled by a few millionaires #PMQs”

Ed Miliband, tweeting after Prime Minister’s Questions, 10 July 2013

Angry with the news we’ve got five more years of Tory rule ahead of us? Me too. Let’s pledge to stop lining the pockets of businesses that donate to a party who attack society’s most vulnerable people. Below are a few Tory benefactors and better alternatives of where to spend your cash rather than with them:

Warburtons

Who knew making your butties for lunch at your minimum wage, zero hours contract job could inadvertently help fund the Tories? In April 2010, in the build-up to the General Election, Warburtons Ltd gave the Conservative party a £25,000 donation. In the very same month, David Cameron launched the Tory election campaign in a Warburton’s bakery, against a background of Warburtons products. Hmmm.

"And this George is something that millions of families can't afford - bread."

“And this George, is something being handed out at thousands of food banks across the country!”

Their slices of bread don’t even fit in the toaster so this is an easy one to swerve.

Alternative suggestion:  Personally, I buy my bagels, bread and crumpets from Aldi – cheap, delicious and Tory fee. If you can’t get to an Aldi, Hovis is politically impartial.

Next

This one isn’t exactly a surprise; If I were ever to go to a fancy dress party as bland, middle class Tory, Next would be my first port of call for an outfit. The clothing store’s CEO Lord Wolfson has donated more than £400,000 to the Conservatives since 2006. The Tory peer, worth an estimated £112million, has also criticised those calling for firms to pay staff a Living Wage, set at £7.85 across the country and £9.15 in London. In conclusion, he’s a bad egg.

Buy your sensible black work pants elsewhere.

Alternative suggestion: If you really do have your heart set on dressing like a menopause, head to John Lewis, Marks & Spencer or Bonmarche maybe? I’m not going to offer any suggestions to their home range – bin the ‘Live, Laugh, Love’ plaque and get a personality.

Moonpig

Founder Nick Jenkins was one of those who signed The Telegraph letter backing a Conservative government.

Alternative Suggestion: Remember when we all wondered why Funky Pigeon came about when Moon Pig had it covered? Well now we know. Funky Pigeon Dot Com it is.

Sports Direct

Within 24 hours of the Tories coming into power, Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley saw his fortune jump up by an estimated £100million!

Why? Well the billionaire is a big fan of exploitive zero hour contracts which Labour leader Ed Miliband would have banned had he been elected. With the Tories obviously not going to stop ‘Victorian’ style work deals, Sports Direct shares shot up from £6.20 to £6.56 between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy protested outside a Sports Direct store last month in anger at the 700,000 people across Britain without guaranteed hours.

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy protested outside a Sports Direct store last month in anger at the 700,000 people across Britain without guaranteed hours.

Alternative suggestion: This one hurt me; I was previously a big fan of getting kid’s Nike tees from Sports Direct for the gym. However, I’ve found many alternatives for cheap sportswear that don’t help fund Newcastle’s Scrooge and his pie fund. Outlets, Matalan (Honestly, it’s fab) and Adidas often do amazing sales.

The Sun Newspaper

Okay, so while The Sun, The Times and Sky don’t directly donate to David Cameron, Rupert Murdoch is certainly the puppet master when it comes to UK politics. I shouldn’t have to tell anyone over the age of 10 who can read not to buy The Sun; even if you used to occasionally purchase it for a freebie, or a certain exclusive, you should be leaving the sexist, homophobic and xenophobic rag well alone after their pretty anti-Semitic smear campaign against Ed Miliband in the run up to the election. They may portray themselves as the paper for your ordinary, white van man but The Sun is the enemy of the working classes – they’ll piss on your back and tell you it’s raining.

Alternative Suggestion: Why not support The Morning Star?

Betfair

“Football, beer, and above all gambling, filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult.”
~
George Orwell, 1984

It’s cruel to think that while someone is gambling their rent away, or pouring their kid’s pocket money into a fruit machine, in the grasps of a gambling addiction, someone profits from all this. Betfair founder and shareholder, Edward Wray has profited well from other’s misery and has donated just under £210,000 to the Tories since 2010.

In fact, the lot of them are at it – Ladbrokes, William Hill & BetFred. Had Labour got in I would have had a bet on the bookies being very upset given what they had pledged to introduce.

Read more HERE.

Alternative Suggestion: It is quite hard to find a completely non-partisan bookmakers with nothing to gain from a Conservative government. Instead, have a look at GamCare if you, or anyone you know, may have a problem with gambling.

Iceland

Oh it just gets crueller, doesn’t it? Iceland, the supermarket that stocks working class fridges with cheap frozen food, are massive Tories. Founder Malcom Walker, initially refused to pay a £2.5m tax bill for a staff trip to Disney World in Florida, accusing the government of a “tax on fun”. Walker later said he had settled that bill with the Inland Revenue, which he said had made concessions “and we’re very happy with the outcome.” He also signed the Pro Tory letter to The Telegraph prior to the election.

Alternative Suggestion: Aldi. I swear I’m not being sponsored by Aldi but they are bloody fantastic.

Other businesses that signed the letter to The Telegraph backing the Tories and/or donate to the party:

Links of London, Kurt Gieger, LK Bennett, Carphone Warehouse, BAE Systems, Thorntons, Whitbread, De Vere Hotels, RAC, Alton Towers, Anya Hindmarch, Mothercare, Blue Inc, West Ham. Full list HERE

This piece originally featured on Scarlett Wonderland. Below are few more articles of mine from the site:

The Emotional Stages of Quitting Smoking

The One Before The One

Why You Should Date a Scouser

Life Lessons From Bring It On

Get the Grand National Look

Daily Mirror: Shopkeeper Attacked Online for ‘Tory Tax’

Originally published for The Daily Mirror online

A furious plant shop owner has vowed to take lighthearted revenge on locals who voted for the Conservatives – by adding a 10% ‘Tory tax’ to their purchases.

But the chalkboard sign outside Matt Woodruff’s shop in Lewes has sparked a backlash – leading to his business receiving online abuse from right-wingers.

torytaxmain

Matt Woodruff made a sign advertising a 10% “Tory tax” at his plant shop after learning his town had voted for a Conservative MP

The neatly written message asks Conservative voting customers at Woodruff’s Yard to make themselves known, so they can be subjected to an additional 10% tax on any purchases.

“I’m sure as someone who has opted to support a party of elitist, self-serving types, that you understand this is one of the many ‘tough’ decisions that I need to make to ‘balance the books’ under your preferred government,” the sign reads.

“The backlash has seen a complete lack of sense of humour from Tories,” Woodruff told Mirror online. “I’ve had online abuse and people hoping that my business goes under.”

“It’s very surprising as it’s only a blackboard and it’s no different to what the right-wing press do.

“It seems it’s fair game to vilify the left, but when some little chap makes a sign, using Tory language and policies, it seems to cause quite an upset.”

Woodruff is surprised his jokey sign has attracted such a backlash

Woodruff is surprised his jokey sign has attracted such a backlash

The East Sussex town of Lewes had previously been represented by a Lib Dem MP since 1997, but Thursday saw Conservative candidate Maria Caulifield gain the seat.

The sign urges shoppers not to be a “shy Tory”, but it seems it is largely being ignored. So far, only one Conservative voting customer has made themselves known to Woodruff.

“I’ve had endless online abuse via my website and local forums, with people using pseudonyms,” the shopkeeper told us. “Yet only one customer has admitted she voted Tory – albeit after she had bought her plants so the tax couldn’t be applied.”

Woodruff is surprised his jokey sign has attracted such a backlash
“Of course I have no intention of actually charging them extra – it’s simply a joke to cheer up the liberals across the town.

“We woke up on Friday disgusted and embarrassed at the news that Lewes had elected a Tory MP – there seemed to be an air of mourning.

“So on Saturday, off the cuff, I thought I’d make a little sign to poke some fun at the ‘Shy Tories’ and cheer people up.”

And what about the 5,427 Lewes residents who voted Ukip? Well, Woodruff’s message is simple: “Please shop elsewhere.”

See also: How Not to Fund a Tory Business

Why Voting Should Matter to Young People in 2015 with Rick Edwards

Originally published in OPEN Magazine (April/May 2015 Issue)

Labour MP for Tooting, Sadiq Kahn once admitted that if a politician has a spare hour during a campaign, a visit to a retirement home will win over calling in at a sixth form. It may seem odd to care more about voters who may not even make the next election, but when you learn that only half of 18 – 25 year olds voted in 2010 (compared to three quarters of those aged 65 plus) it’s not hard to work out why pensions get plumper and tuition fees treble.

This ‘generation gap’ is a seemingly recent development; in 1992 the difference was only 12% between the age groups. Something isn’t right. Are Britain’s youths simply not arsed about political matters? Not according to T4 presenter turned political buff, Rick Edwards.

“The view that young people are lazy and apathetic is, excuse my language, absolute bollocks. I just won’t have it.”

“I so rarely come across anyone that’s like “No, I have no interest in politics at all” –  it’s really rare. So something is going wrong. Is it in school? Is it a lack of political education?

 

rick

 

Whatever the cause may be, the BBC Free Speech presenter is on a mission to change things. The None of the Above author wants the under 25s to get to the polling station on May 7th – even if you want to spoil your ballot with an artistically drawn cock and balls.

The 2015 election is shaping up to be a historic one; with more minor parties rising up than ever before. However, it still seems like it’s going to be between two men to be our next leader – current Prime Minister, David Cameron and Labour’s Ed Miliband. While Dave may be reluctant to debate Red Ed one on one, there’s nothing stopping us putting them head to head. We waded through their manifestos to give you a simple, slightly biased, summary of what their parties have to offer.

The Conservative Party

“A Brighter, More Secure Future”

In 2010, the NHS had it’s highest ever public approval ratings. Five years on, it’s the number one election issue. David Cameron may have previously declared it a disgrace that ONE single mother had taken a food parcel off the Salvation Army under a Labour government but since then, he’s come into power and the number of food banks has increased by 700%. The Chancellor’s budget in March claimed that we’re better off than ever, yet almost half of those in poverty live in working households. So you’ve really got to admire the Prime Minister – it takes some confidence to declare you’re still the right man for the job when 5 years of your leadership has plunged millions into poverty.

What have the Tories got up their sleeve then? What are they promising us in exchange for our vote? Let’s have a look.

  • Remember when Cameron and Co decided that paying three grand a year simply wasn’t enough to go to University and watch poorly designed PowerPoint presentations? Well they still stand by their decision to treble tuition fees, pricing working class kids out of further education, but they will ensure that you won’t have to pay back any of that humongous student debt until you’re earning at least £21,000.
  • According to statistics, half of those living on the streets became homeless before the age of 21. So what do the Conservatives propose to do in order to stop this cycle? Axe housing benefit for those aged 18 – 21. The Prime Minister has stated that welfare should no longer be a ‘lifestyle choice’ but hasn’t really addressed the issue of just where do you go if you’re under 21 and don’t have the happy family home he assumes everyone has? Not all are blessed with a mummy and daddy there to loan them a deposit to get on the property ladder, or even help them out with their rent. Rather than taking away free TV licences and bus travel from richer pensioners, yet again working class young people will be the ones to suffer at the hands of a Tory government.
  • They’re a proven failure but a Conservative government promise to open at least 500 more free schools.
  • The ban of Fox Hunting will be repelled. Because of course, reinstating a cruel ‘sport’ to make posh people happy should be at the top of any to do list when tackling the issues facing this country.
  • Tax will only begin once you earn at least £12,400. However, 37.5 hours a week at National Minimum Wage (something David Cameron once voted against) brings you in £12,675 a year so this doesn’t mean much to anyone working full-time.
  • Back in the 80’s, Thatcher seemed to think selling off all the social housing on the cheap was a good idea. She believed that a nation of home owners was key to a successful country. 35 years on and a third of ex council homes are now owned by rich landlords and we’re in the midst of a severe housing crisis. However, this isn’t stopping Thatcherite David Cameron pledging an unabashed extension of the right to buy scheme for 1.3m families in housing association properties. What about the 9m renting in the private sector? Nothing for them. Tough luck.
  • “We will rebalance our economy and build a Northern Powerhouse.” Does anyone actually know what a Northern Powerhouse is? It sounds like how an Apprentice candidate from Blackburn would describe themselves. Whatever it is, the Conservatives are doing their best to try and convince us that they actually care about anywhere North of Birmingham; with promises of better representation across the country – including a Mayor of Manchester.

The Tories may be keen to tell you that we’re better off under them but we’re actually down £1,100 a year since they came into power. By the looks of their manifesto, things can only get worse.

The Labour Party

“Britain only succeeds when working people succeed. This is a plan to reward hard work, share prosperity and build a better Britain.”

Whereas The Conservative manifesto basically acts as an 84 page ‘F**k you’ to anyone under the age of 30, Ed Miliband’s Labour actually seem interested in future generations; even if we don’t vote. You can argue that Red Ed doesn’t seem tough enough to lead the country, but your alternative is a man who is scared to debate a supposedly weak man. The Labour leader may not look attractive while scoffing a bacon butty (who does?) but let’s look at some of his policies and promises, rather than fall for The S*n’s smear campaign:

  • As it stands, you’re more than welcome to start paying tax at the age of 16 but you haven’t got the right to vote on which government gets to spend it. If Labour gets back into power they pledge to lower the voting age from 18 to 16 years of age by 2016.
  • Iain Duncan Smith wants to rebrand brand evil, exploitive zero hour contracts. Fine – Ed Miliband will ban them. And the minimum wage will rise to £8 an hour by October 2019. Still not enough, but much better than the Tories’ insulting 20p hike in this year’s budget.
  • Unpaid internships favour kids from middle class backgrounds. Sure, working for free for six months will probably help you break into the industry but you usually need to make sure your parents are rich enough to have you live at home rent free while you complete it. By banning them, Labour will even the playing field up a little bit.
  • “The Bedroom Tax is cruel and we will abolish it.” *solidarity fist emoji*
  • Our parents all seemed to have bought houses for the price of a Freddo. Those days are over – we’re Generation Rent. That housing crisis I mentioned earlier, well Labour are looking at building more homes, tackling exploitive private landlords and help give renters more protection and rights.
  • Fairer tax rules under Labour. The Tories may think you should be financially rewarded for making your friend and family sit through a wedding, but Ed promises to scrap the date Marriage Tax Allowance. Getting rid of the insulting tax break for wedded couples (nothing for single parent households or widows etc) will make way for the introduction of a lower 10p starting rate of tax. They’ll also abolish Non Dom status – an old-fashioned rule that helps multi-millionaires dodge paying their share of income tax.
  • While David Cameron says dated, sexist stuff like “calm down, dear” when a woman dares to speak, Labour seem to have cottoned on to the fact that females actually make up quite a lot of the electoral and should probably be treated like equal citizens. They want to give more money to refuges and Rape Crisis Centres, create better access for women to get legal aid in cases of domestic violence and ‘appoint a commissioner to set minimum standards to tackle domestic and sexual violence.’

And there we have it. People may want to argue that there is no difference between the two main parties, that they’re all as bad as each other, but as you can probably now tell, when it comes to what they pledge to do for young people, there really is. Just remember, the smallest differences tend to be the ones that make the biggest impact on the vulnerable.

VOTE.

To keep up to date with Election Day, search #ElectionDay on Twitter.

See also: A Biased Guide to the UK Parties & Who to Vote For

A Biased Guide to the UK Parties & Who to Vote For

A longer, online version of the article published in OPEN Magazine.

The Conservative Party

In 2010, the NHS had it’s highest ever public approval ratings – five years on and it’s the number one election issue. Back in 2005, David Cameron declared it a disgrace that ONE single mother had taken a food parcel off the Salvation Army under a Labour government. I can’t give you an up to date figure of how many rely on food banks today, due to the number increasing by the day, but we can all agree that the Prime Minister probably regrets that claim 10 years ago. The Chancellor’s budget in March claimed we’re better off than ever, yet almost half of those in poverty live in working households. So you’ve really got to admire the Prime Minister – it takes some confidence to declare you’re still the right man for the job after 5 years of your leadership has plunged millions into poverty.

David Cameron - a man in touch with the working classes.

David Cameron – a man in touch with the working classes.

What have the Tories got up their sleeve then? What are they promising us in exchange for our vote? Let’s have a look. I’ve waded through their manifesto and cut out the waffle.

Remember when Cameron and Co decided that paying 3 grand a year simply wasn’t enough to go to University & watch poorly designed PowerPoint presentations? Well they stand by their decision to treble tuition fees, pricing working class kids out of further education, but they will ensure that you won’t have to pay back any of that humongous student debt until you’re earning at least £21,000.

According to statistics, half of those living on the streets became homeless before the age of 21. So what has the Conservative’s decided is the best solution to help stop this cycle? To axe benefit for those aged 18 – 21 years old. The Prime Minister has stated that welfare should no longer be a ‘lifestyle choice’ but hasn’t really addressed the issue of just where do you go if you’re under 21 and don’t have the happy family home he assumes everyone has? Not all are blessed with a mummy and daddy there to loan them a deposit to get on the property ladder, or even help them with their rent in a grotty bed sit. Rather than taking away free TV licences and bus travel from richer pensioners, yet again working class young people will be the ones to suffer at the hands of a Tory government.

They’re a proven failure but a Conservative government promise to open at least 500 more free schools.

The ban of Fox Hunting will be repelled. Because of course, reinstating a cruel ‘sport’ to make posh people happy should be at the top of any to do list when tackling the issues facing this country.

Tax will only begin once you earn at least £12,400. However, 37.5 hours a week at National Minimum Wage (something David Cameron once voted against) currently brings you in £12,675 a year so this doesn’t mean much to anyone working full-time.

Back in the 80’s, Thatcher seemed to think selling off all the social housing on the cheap was a good idea. She believed that a nation of home owners was key to a successful country. 35 years on and a third of ex council homes are now owned by rich landlords and we’re in the midst of a severe housing crisis. However, this isn’t stopping Thatcherite David Cameron pledging an unabashed extension of the right to buy scheme for 1.3m families in housing association properties. What about the 9m renting in the private sector? Nothing for them. Tough luck.

“We will rebalance our economy and build a Northern Powerhouse” Does anyone actually know what this Northern Powerhouse is that Cameron keeps banging on about? It sounds like how an Apprentice candidate from Blackburn would describe themselves. Whatever it is, the Conservatives are doing their best to try and convince us that they actually care about anywhere North of Birmingham; with promises of better representation across the country – including a Mayor of Manchester.

 The Labour Party

Whereas The Conservative manifesto basically acts at an 84 page ‘F**k you’ to anyone under the age of 30, Ed Miliband’s Labour actually seem interested in future generations; even if we don’t vote. You can argue that Red Ed doesn’t seem tough enough to lead the country, but your alternative is a man who is scared to debate a supposedly weak man. The Labour leader may not look attractive while scoffing a bacon butty (who does?) but let’s look at some policies and promises rather than fall for The S*n’s smear campaign.

"Oh great, The Sun still dining out on that bacon butty picture - that's not boring at all."

“Oh great, The Sun still dining out on that bacon butty picture – that’s not boring at all.”

As it stands, you’re more than welcome to start paying tax at the age of 16, but you haven’t got the right to vote on which government gets to spend your money. If Labour return to power they pledge to lower the voting age from 18 to 16 years of age by 2016.

Iain Duncan Smith wants to rebrand brand evil, exploitive zero hour contracts. Fine – Ed Miliband will ban them. No more paying to travel to a minimum wage job to be told you’re not needed and get sent home with no pay. And the minimum wage will raise to £8 an hour by October 2019. Still not enough but much better than the Tories insulting 20p hike in this year’s budget.

Unpaid internships favour kids from middle class backgrounds. Sure, working for free for six months will probably secure you a job in your dream industry, but you better make sure your parents are rich enough to have you live at home rent free while you complete it. By banning them, Labour will even the playing field up a little bit.

“The Bedroom Tax is cruel and we will abolish it” *solidarity fist emoji*

While our parents seemed to get on the property ladder for the price of a packet of crisps, those days are well and truly over – we’re Generation Rent. How are Labour planning to tackle that housing crisis I mentioned earlier? They’re looking at building more homes, tackling exploitive private landlords and help give renters more protection and rights.

Fairer tax rules under Labour. The Tories may think you should be financially rewarded for making your friends and family sit through a wedding but Ed promises to scrap the date Marriage Tax Allowance. The insulting tax break for married couples (giving nothing for single parent households & widows etc) going will make way for the introduction of a lower 10p starting rate of tax. They will also abolish Non Dom status – an old-fashioned rule that helps multi-millionaires dodge paying their share of income tax.

David Cameron may say dated, sexist stuff like “Calm down, dear’ when a woman dares to speak, but Labour seem to have cottoned on to the fact that females actually make up quite a lot of the electoral and should probably be treated like equal citizens. Labour want to give more money to refuges and Rape Crisis Centre, create better access for women to get legal aid in cases of domestic violence and ‘appoint a commissioner to set minimum standards to tackle domestic and sexual violence.’

Liberal Democrats

Bless Nick Clegg, I don’t know why he’s bothered the past few months. Who’s actually going to vote for him? Just in case anyone is still a Lib Dem, he and his party have also wrote a manifesto.

Oh Nick, mate....

Oh Nick, mate….

Just like Labour, they want to lower the voting age to 16.

They want to establish a review of higher education and ‘ensure the UK is an attractive destination for overseas students.’ Brave move even mentioning universities to be honest, lads – I’d have just steered cleared of the topic after the whole ‘trebling fees rather than abolishing them’ thing. Brave.

Lib Dems want to focus on mental health and wellbeing and have an ‘interim target of getting 25% of people suffering into treatment.” While that may not seem a huge target, help and services for those with mental health issues in this country are woeful so this is admirable pledge.

They want to encourage businesses to ensure at least one board member is filled by a BAME candidate and support ‘name blank recruitment’ – a technique that stops middle class white boys being favoured over someone with a name that Katie Hopkins would mock.

UKIP

I don’t really know why I bothered to read the UKIP manifesto – Nigel Farage and his party want to leave the EU and take back control of our borders, and that’s about it really. They’re really into the idea of an Australian-style points system for skilled workers; which makes a lot of sense as Nigel Farage looks exactly like the kind of bloke who says things like “Them Ozzies have the right idea – they don’t just let any bugger in.”

Self proclaimed ordinary man of the people Nigel Farage - at a fox hunt....

Self proclaimed ordinary man of the people Nigel Farage – at a fox hunt….

Some of their proposals are great; like ending ATOS assessments and increasing Carers’ Allowance, but even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Their manifesto is jam-packed with all the reasons why immigrants and the EU are to blame for everything wrong in Britain, and then random promises; like making it a criminal offence to cold call someone in respect of pension arrangements.

It goes without saying; they want to make St George’s Day a national holiday (it honestly reads like a parody manifesto at times), and pledge to end the use of multi-lingual formatting on official documents. Have you ever got a form and been really mad if it was also available in an alternative language or braille etc? No, of course you haven’t as no right thinking person gets pissed off by this.

 The Green Party

 No longer passed off as a ‘hippy’ party, The Green Party has emerged as a serious rival to Labour for the left-wing vote. They’re also the only party that put any effort into the design of their manifesto; a simple layout, easy to read, and there’s even a mini version if you’re too lazy to tackle the full one. However, they are getting marked down for having titles featuring hashtags – #notcoolguys

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett

It can be easy to get excited flicking through, reading about the absolute liberal utopia the Greens would create if they had the chance to implement any of their promise, but I’m going to be a bitch and pick holes. They don’t really have the right idea about how to tackle the housing crisis, and with aims like ‘ensure through planning that everyone lives within five minutes’ walk of a green open space’ some of their pledges can seem a bit whimsical considering the issues at hand. Then again, they are The Green Party so it would be a bit odd if they didn’t have these kind of goals.

 I’ve clearly not been unbiased in this piece but then again, neither have any of the right-wing publications this week – VOTE LABOUR this Thursday.

See also: Who to Vote For (Feat. Rick Edwards)

Interview: Rick Edwards

Originally published for OPEN Magazine

Over the past few years, only 38% of those aged 18 – 24 have voted in any election – that’s 18% less than the EU* average. In 2010, over 65s were 23% more likely to get down to a polling station than the under 25s. This “generation gap” is a seemingly recent development; in 1992 the difference was just 12%.  Something isn’t right. Are the youth of Britain actually apathetic and lazy, or is the system failing the younger members of society?

(*The European Union – that thing Nigel “I’m not racist but…” Farage is always banging on about leaving.)

“I so very rarely come across anyone that’s like ‘No, I have no interest in politics whatsoever’ – really, really rare,” BBC Free Speech host Rick Edwards tells us. “So something is going wrong. Is it in school? Is it a lack of political education? The barriers? Is politics not accessible?”

Whatever the cause may be, Rick is on a one man mission to recruit those missing voters. While many may have scoffed at the presenter of a show calledTool Academy turning his hand to more political matters, the former face of T4 is silencing any doubters; engaging an alienated generation in politics and urging them to use their voice and vote.

It’s all very well encouraging people to get on the electoral register, but some may not have a clue where to mark their X once they get in the polling station. That’s where None of the Above steps in to help – Rick’s unbiased guide to all the country’s major parties, the elective system and all the issues affecting UK citizens. Think British Politics for Dummies but funny, and not patronising either. If after learning about who wants your vote and what they pledge to do for you, you don’t feel anyone is a worthy candidate, None of the Above comes complete with a handy sticker to help you spoil your ballot.

With the deadline to register to vote Monday 20th April, and the election less than a month away, OPEN had a chat with Rick Edwards to find out why he thinks young people don’t vote, what needs to be done, and just how he feels about Russell Brand’s reluctance to exercise his democratic right.

OPEN: There’s a general feeling that young people* aren’t politically active. March’s budget appealed to homeowners, savers, married people – basically, an older voter. It seems the fact the under 25’s don’t vote has resulted in politicians not bothering to appeal to them.  How different do you think a budget would be if young people actually got down to the polling station?

RICK EDWARDS: I think you’re absolutely right – I think if politicians in government – and not in government – thought that young people were going to vote in the numbers that old people do then you would see that in their budgets and policies. Unfortunately, I don’t think at the moment because they kind of know that young people aren’t going to vote as much as older people are so they look after the people they know do. That’s why we have a big problem as young people aren’t getting the care that they deserve.

It’s such a vicious cycle. If I’m a young person and watch that budget, or listen to politicians of all parties and they’re not saying anything specifically relevant to me I’m going to feel like I don’t care, so I don’t vote. Then the politicians don’t have any incentive to appeal to me and the cycle continues. It’s dangerous and that’s the cycle that needs to be broken – either by young people suddenly voting in much greater numbers or politicians courting the youth vote by saying what they can do for young people with stuff like minimum wage, affordable housing etc.

 

We say young people aren’t voting but we all become older eventually. Our parents and grandparents voted from a young age – do you see this as a generational problem?

Well, so I guess the question really is, if you don’t vote when you’re younger, will you ever vote? I think the answer is, yes, but not as much as you’d expect. You’re much less likely to vote later in life and that is going to cause a decline in voting numbers which again, it’s not a good thing – you want as many people exercising their democratic right as possible. That’s democracy functioning at its best but it’s quite important to not see this as a generational war, pitting young people against old people because as you say, they’re not two distinct groups  – young people do become old people.

When I refer to generations, I mean more so like millennials etc. Will we become the under 25s that are one day over 65s that don’t vote?

Ah I understand. Actually, it’s a good question. Honestly, I don’t know the answer. It’s safe to say young people of comparative age in the 60’s and 70’s were voting much more, so there is a clear distinction there but what has that been caused by? I don’t really know which makes the problem harder to solve. If you know what’s causing it it’s easier to deal with. I suppose what I’m trying to do is focus on things I think will help, as opposed to what the causes were. Are you a millennial?

I guess, I’m 25.

And what are your feelings on it?

Well, I’m a bit of an anomaly as I’m from quite a politically active family so I grew up aware of the importance of voting so I don’t think my views are necessarily the norm. I know a few people who don’t vote simply because it’s quite a complicated process (NB – it’s not,register HERE) – I’ve struggled to register this year, taking three times online and ringing up multiple times, so I can see why many don’t bother.

Exactly. There are all these barriers to entry which shouldn’t be there. Like you say, if you’re not really kind of engaged to think “I will sort this” then you are more likely to think “Oh, it feels like they don’t want me to get involved anyway, I’ll just give up.” And there are so many ways we can change that. It’s frustrating.

I don’t think it’s just the system though – I think a lot of young people, particularly the working classes, feel like they haven’t got anyone to vote for. Many see Labour as Tories with a smile.

Do you think that? I can see why you’d think that about New Labour but I feel like with Miliband it is different. 

I quite like Ed Miliband. I think it’s funny when people say he’s not tough enough to be Prime Minister, yet they’re quite happy to vote for a man scared to debate with a supposedly weak man. The TV elections are a great thing and really help a lot of swinging voters.

They really are. David Cameron himself said those TV debates in 2010 really did engage people and that’s where a lot of people got their information from ahead of that election. I think Ed Miliband has actually been talking about trying to introduce legislation where the leaders are obliged to take part in a debate – quite interesting. 

I saw you tweeting David Cameron the other month about him appearing on the BBC Three’s Free Speech – have you had any response from him yet?

We have been nagging him for a while now to come on Free Speech, we don’t know yet, but we think his schedule isn’t going to allow it. It’s a bit of a shame as we’ve obviously had all the other leaders from the major parties on. I just thought, maybe a tweet would help (Laughter) and goad him into it but weirdly, he hasn’t got back to me. 

Do you think there’s a danger of first time voters just following family traditions and copying their parents vote?

It’s probably more worrying that if your parents don’t vote than you don’t vote – that concerns me more than “My parents vote this way so I’m going to too.”

Maybe the first time they may be led but after that you start making your own decisions, I do believe that. Also, the number of people that associate with parties strongly is so low now that’s it’s probably a small number. I suspect there aren’t many families that are die hard Labour or Tory and therefore not many kids are getting, not the right word, but indoctrinated by their mum and dad. So yeah, it worries more if your parents don’t vote, you don’t.

I voted because my parents did. Interestingly, my parents have never told me, or each other, who they vote for – which I really like. Lived together 40 years and never once told each other.

My grandad refuses to tell me who he votes for which I don’t understand – I’m proud of my vote and explaining why I vote for who I do.

Well obviously I don’t know your granddad – as far as I know – but with my mum and dad I think it’s for a few reasons. My mum is quite private and I think she’s concerned they may argue about it. My dad is a stronger character and could persuade her when she just wants to do it in peace so they don’t really talk about politics a great deal.

I like the fact I know both my parents take it seriously privately.

And to be fair, broadly speaking, I know who my parents have voted for at every election. I know them pretty well and what they want and what’s important to them – You can figure it out but they never explicitly say. Weirdly, it’s prepared me for working for the BBC – I’m not allowed to express any opinion on anything.

Do you think you would be vocal if you didn’t work for the BBC?

If I did the same kind of job to some extent in the public eye and if I felt really strongly about an issue or a campaign I think I would speak out. Though I haven’t voted for different parties at every election but nearly, so my vote is all over the place and it would be hard for me to come out and support a party. I think I’d be more likely to speak about a specific issue or campaign I imagine and that in itself might slightly align me with a party but not explicitly.

Have you made your mind up who you’re voting for next month?

I think so. As it gets closer you think more about it and it could change but I enjoy the process of thinking about it. My vote is partly to do with the candidates in my area in North London. I know the candidates, not personally, but there’s one that I like!

I won’t ask anymore and get you in trouble but you say that there is one you like which is rare – it seems the norm to hate politicians and think they’re all corrupt.

I strongly believe a lot of politicians get into it for the right reasons and are trying to do good things to help people. I really do. I know this is not a view shared by everyone, by any means. I’ve met a few politicians over the last couple of years who I have really liked and respected and felt that they were genuine. I find that encouraging. If I took the view that they’re actually all pricks and self-serving then it would all be too depressing.

It must be annoying being asked about him all the time but, Russell Brand! He’s gone down a very different route than you – encouraging people not to vote without really having an alternative plan in place. Do you wish he’d support spoiling a ballot instead?

Firstly, it’s great that he’s widening the political conversation; making more people aware of issues they may not know about. He needs to be applauded and encouraged, totally.

I obviously don’t agree with what he says about not voting. I read Revolution excited as I wanted to know what he suggests we do, if we want revolution. It’s not that I necessarily want one, but I was interested to see what he had to say, but I feel he didn’t really give me any answers.

So I don’t agree with a lot he says but never the less, I think he’s galvanising people in a positive way.

I’ve very briefly mentioned None of the Above to him, and spoiling your ballot etc., but I don’t think he buys into it, unfortunately. Even though, deep down, I think he would like a None of the Above option on the ballot paper – like a revolution from within, if you like. It could sit with his principles but I don’t think he’ll come out in favour of any of that at the moment so I’ll be the one to keep banging on about it (laughter). 

Finally, one none political question, just because I’m curious – why do you support Liverpool FC? You’re not from the city and don’t seem to have any links to the club?

I support Liverpool for a very pathetic reason – when I was a kid my dad loved all sports but he was especially keen for me to play football. We’d watch it on TV, but whereas I loved live games and playing, I found watching it on TV boring. When I was about 6, he was forcing me to watch the ‘86 Cup Final and I was bored. He told me to pick a team to support and that way I’d enjoy it and I happened to pick the red team. That is literally it. I have been a Liverpool fan for a long time now and there is no link whatsoever. Purely random – all because I liked red at the time. It could have just as easily have been Everton!

Regarding the Hillsborough Justice Campaign; the work and dedication they have put in for getting justice for the 96 killed is just incredible and I’ve got nothing but respect for those people. It just shows what can be done if you care about something and don’t let things lie. It demonstrates just what people can achieve if they keep going – even with some serious obstacles in their way.

* “By the way, I wish there was a better term for young people than ‘young people’. I know it’s hopelessly patronising, especially given I am not one. I am open to alternative suggestions. For now, though, I’ll persist with young people. Just know that I wince every time I write it.”  Expert from None of the Above

Same, Rick. Same.

None of the Above is out now

See also: Are You Registered to Vote?

The Shitty Experiences of People on Zero-Hours Contracts

As we approach the last few weeks before this year’s General Election, The Telegraph isn’t even pretending to be anything but a Tory propaganda machine. This front page features a letter from more than 100 of the country’s most senior business figures; warning that a Labour government would “threaten jobs and deter investment” in the UK. The whole thing’s a bit weird when you think about it – do these 103 multi-millionaires all lunch together at Pret and brainstorm ideas like this? Did they dismiss the (easier) idea of one of them just tweeting the sentiment and all of them retweeting it? Which one of them thought, “You know what? The general public really needs to hear about how amazing we find the Corporation Tax cuts – let’s write a letter to The Telegraph like it’s still the 90’s when that was a thing.”

Fed up of hearing the opinions of the country’s richest speaking about how taxes affect them (if it’s not business leaders, it’s pop stars crying about the proposed mansion tax) I asked a few of my friends to talk about their experience on a zero-hours contract and earning below The Living Wage.

“My experience was absolute hell,” admits Chloe from Liverpool. “I was employed on a zero-hours contract at a local pub, which I was wary of, but had no other option with the job market as it was. Initially it was fine – I was a full-time member of staff, regularly doing 35 plus hours a week, and the first time it became an issue was when I became sick and learnt that as a zero-hours contract employee I wasn’t entitled to any sick pay.”

“One morning, I travelled all the way into work to discover the doors were locked; with a letter from the bailiffs’ plastered to the window. I didn’t have a clue what was going on. I spent all day trying to get through to the owners (who ignored my calls) and eventually learnt, via the local press, that they had fallen behind on rent and the pub would be closed until they paid their back payments. I didn’t get paid on time that week and spent the next two weeks in limbo. I couldn’t go sign on, as I technically still had a job, so I started to look for other work. The pub eventually reopened two weeks later but the owners didn’t feel the need to apologise to us, or even acknowledge what had happened – it was a fortnight where I didn’t receive any income and truly learnt just how little working rights I have.”

It was only last week that George Osborne, a man who looks like his sex life is exclusively a sad hand job on his birthday, the Chancellor unveiled his final budget before the election.

“More pubs saved, jobs created, families supported – and a penny off a pint for the third year in a row,” George proudly declared to the Deputy Speaker.

“More jobs may be created in the hospitality sector but it’s not exactly secure employment based on my experience,” John from Manchester recalls.

“I had been unfairly dismissed from my job and unable to even apply for benefits for weeks.”

“Last year I was working in a city centre restaurant. It was all going pretty well and I’d been there a few months. But then one shift my manager made a mistake regarding a customer payment from a table in my section. It was quite a large amount, and as the owners were in he didn’t want to admit fault, so immediately sacked me instead. I got home and straightaway started looking at claiming unfair dismissal. However, I learnt that you can’t put a case forward unless you’ve worked for the employer for at least two years. So that was it – I had been unfairly dismissed from my job and unable to even apply for benefits for weeks.”

Stories like this are all too common. Having personally worked in venues that would take money out of wages to cover shortages from theft etc (but weirdly enough, staff would never see a penny should the till be up), bars that forced employees to work Bank Holidays for regular pay or face being sacked (all legal thanks to those lovely zero-hours contracts), and clubs where you’d be expected to work until 2am, go home and be back in by 9am. What’s that you say? The Daily Rest Rule clearly states you must have an 11 hour break between shifts. Oh, that’s so cute you think zero-hours contract, minimum wage workers have such rights – access to this ‘luxury’ is normally signed away before you start a job. When you work on a zero-hours contracts you grow to accept that paying to travel into work, only to find out your shift is cancelled, is just the way it is. You know that you have no right to strike as you’ll just be sacked immediately if you show disgust at the way your working environment is operating. You scrape together enough money to put a deposit down on renting a flat but discover you can’t be considered a tenant as you don’t have a regular employment contract; even though you’ve been working more than 40 hours a week for over a year. You have less employment rights than an animal appearing on television and you put up with it, because what else can you do?

Some may be reading this and still argue that zero-hours contracts have their benefits for the employee; students, for example, who may want flexible working contracts while they study. For those who think that, I have saved the best (or worst) until last – my friend Lauren, who couldn’t attend her own mother’s funeral without the fear of losing her zero-hours contract job!

“When my mum died I had been employed by a bar for over two years and had never really worked less than 35 hours a week. Obviously when my mum died, the last thing I wanted to be doing the next day was pulling pints. I knew being on a zero-hours contract I wouldn’t receive any wages for any time off but I didn’t expect to receive such pressure to get back to work after only two days off. Surely, if you’re going to argue that zero-hours contracts benefit the worker too, I would have been able to take a week off to grieve my mum without having to worry that I wouldn’t have a job to return to. Luckily, my friends there all covered my shifts and ensured that there would be no reason to dismiss me but it shouldn’t have been that way. I will never forget how disgusting I was treated by my employers – when I returned I was made to feel like I’d been sunning myself on a beach for a week, not burying my mother. Thank God I found another job not long after.”

While the Conservative Party and their supporters may want to think ‘Britain is Working’ they must admit that it’s only working for employers. The Telegraph may think that multi-millionaires supporting tax breaks that make them richer is front page news, but it’s not really the hot topic down the food banks; where an estimated 100,000 people are receiving emergency food parcels. The fifth of UK workers that don’t earn the living wage aren’t exactly going to be psyched to hear the rich discussing getting richer while they don’t even make 7 quid an hour.

Why doesn’t The Telegraph give a voice to the 1.8 million workers exploited in Britain on a zero-hours contract rather than the minority that have seen their average pay increase by 14% under Conservative rule? Although, that would only be too fair on low paid workers and that’s not really what Tories are all about, is it?

See also: Budget Bullshit