For as far as I can see what has actually happened to her is entirely the opposite of what she thinks happened to her. She is now earning well (cookbook on the way, regular columns in the papers, been on TV a few times (yes, you do get appearance money) and I have absolutely no doubt at all that she’s on considerably more than the median wage.
And yes, there was indeed a time when things were very bleak indeed:
I wanted to say that poverty is almost indescribable to Edwina and co with their blinkered, self-righteous attitudes. That turning off the fridge because it’s empty anyway, that sitting across the table from your young son enviously staring down his breakfast, having freezing cold showers and putting your child to bed in god knows how many layers of clothes in the evening – it’s distressing. Depressing. Destabilising.
Imagine living for 11 weeks with no housing benefit, because of “delays”. Imagine those 77 days of being chased for rent that you can’t pay, ignoring the phone, ignoring the door, drawing the curtains so the bailiffs can’t see that you’re home, cradling your son to your chest and sobbing that this is where it’s all ended up. It feels endless. Hopeless. Cold. Wet. Day after day of “no”. No we aren’t looking for staff. No there isn’t anything else to eat. No I can’t put the heating on. No I haven’t got any money to pay my rent arrears. No, no, no.
She got screwed over by an uncaring, unfeeling and inefficient state. That there should be benefits for those who need them I entirely support. But perhaps we shouldn’t have the system being managed by the sort of cockknobblers who take 11 weeks to work out whether someone deserves to have heat, food or a roof over their heads. What Monroe is complaining about here is not that there is no benefit system to aid with poverty, it’s that we’ve got the usual incompetents working for the State.
The rhetoric of ‘work hard and get on’ can fall apart very quickly and you can find yourself in a pit of joblessness, benefit delays and depression
But that’s exactly what did happen to Monroe. She got screwed over by that incompetent State and then worked hard and got on. I realise that no one is actually taking it this way but this is a profoundly anti-State story, what happened to her. The bad things that happened came about as a result of bureaucratic incompetence. The good things came from the market recognising her talents.
The final lesson being that we don’t need to change the market, we need to fire the cocknobblers.