J.K.Rowling Writes "Single Mother's Manifesto," Criticizes British Conservative Party in The Times
April 14, 2010, 12:11 PM
With the British General Election approaching on the 6th of May in the United Kingdom, J.K. Rowling has written an article in today's Times relating her options on the British Conservative Party's stance on single-parent families. In a critical look at some of the positions held by party leaders, the Harry Potter author asks whether the "nasty party" has really changed, as Conservative Party leader David Cameron says it has. In the article, Rowling particularly addresses the Conservative Party's plans to give married couples and civil partners a £150 annual tax break and Cameron's insistence that "it's not the money, it's the message." Rowling writes:
Nobody who has ever experienced the reality of poverty could say “it’s not the
money, it’s the message”. When your flat has been broken into, and you
cannot afford a locksmith, it is the money. When you are two pence short of
a tin of baked beans, and your child is hungry, it is the money. When you
find yourself contemplating shoplifting to get nappies, it is the money. If
Mr Cameron’s only practical advice to women living in poverty, the sole
carers of their children, is “get married, and we’ll give you £150”, he
reveals himself to be completely ignorant of their true situation.
Rowling writes of how, following the 1993 break up of her first marriage, she "became a hate figure to a certain section of the
press, and a bogeyman to the Tory Government" for the supposed "easy life" she subsequently received along with state benefits and state-funded accommodation.
Whilst conceding that "[there] remains much more to be done" by the governing Labour party, Rowling stands firmly against the assumption that having "long since left single parenthood
for marriage and a nuclear family" she is a natural voter for the Tory (Conservative) party:
The 2010 election campaign, more than any other, has
underscored the continuing gulf between Tory values and my own. It is not
only that the renewed marginalisation of the single, the divorced and the
widowed brings back very bad memories. There has also been the revelation,
after ten years of prevarication on the subject, that Lord Ashcroft, deputy
chairman of the Conservatives, is non-domiciled for tax purposes.
Rowling goes on to discuss her reasons for remaining a domiciled taxpayer, centred on a sense of indebtedness to the British welfare state and a feeling that "it would have been contemptible to scarper for
the West Indies at the first sniff of a seven-figure royalty cheque." The author finishes by directly countering the widespread Conservative advertising campaign: "I’ve never voted Tory before ... and they keep on reminding me why." You can read the article in full on the Times website at this link
What a brilliant editorial. Thank you for being so eloquent, Jo, and having the force of experience in your words!
I’m always interested to hear JKRs view on politics, and I know she is a strong supporter of the Labour party having made some large donations in the past. I am glad she makes the point about child poverty in the UK being shameful. After over 10 years of Labour, child poverty is on the INCREASE at the present time. And the gap between the rich and the poor is as great as it has ever been. If Labour has failed to deliver on its most basic principles in over ten years in government how does that bode for the future? It sill needs to do a lot more in my opinion.
She is a strong voice and advocate for people who struggle on the poverty line – especially single mothers and parents. So, she’s a strong voice for MOST people.
She is an articulate and intelligent voice for women, and I love that she challenges her government. Someone with her sway should take an active role in her society, and I love that she always has. She’s got an influence over there. People listen to her, and I hope that really rocks the boat for positive change (or preventative measures, in their case). Way to go, Jo. We need more celebrities like you who are honest, forthcoming, genuine, and REAL.
Rowling really is a great person!
Here in America the politics may be “a little different” but the message from conservatives is still the same. They believe that people who are getting government assistance are scum. Wake up, Britons!! Two words for you…George Bush! Don’t let the likes of him happen to you!!
Didn’t think i could respect JK anymore but shows i was wrong. Proper genius. So proud to be such a huge fan of JK.
Love her books – detest her politics.
If she wishes to make party political comments in support of one of the most incompetent and corrupt parties in western politics- so be it. I am a registered voter in the UK and as much as it is her right to express her political views, it is also mine to criticise them.
Wow. Great op-ed piece by Jo, but the comments on it are getting pretty nasty.
It’s great that she still cares!
Go Jo!! Even though I don’t live in the UK, I was raised in a single-parent household, and I know how tough it is. I strongly applaud her efforts to fight for the rights of single parents in her country :)
Jo eloquently presents her stance against the Tories, who apparently think that everyone who has money wants to keep it all to themselves. She has shown time and time again that her life is not all about money, but about how to use it.
This may not be a newsflash, but Jo Rowling can write!
Yes!! I completed agree, with all she says and it is nice to see that just because she now has money, she hasn’t forgotten what it is like to be poor. I really hate the idea of getting money, if you get maried. That is completely foolish, as if there isn’t enough marriage breakdown’s already. A lot of the time due to unhelpful circumstances. However, if you are really desperate for money you are going to marry somebody, who you might not of otherwise? And you’re saying this is in the best interest of the people? Yeah. Right! Has anyone thought of the effects this might have on children in them twisted relationship. No, probably not, but the Tory’s children live in a middle-class bubble. And the idea of poverty to them is a malnourised baby in the heart of Africa. Well, I’d look a bit closee to home. Sorry for my long rant. As you can tell I am a full Labour supporter, even if they have work to do. And I’m not even old enough to vote! Haha! :)