Ahaha, Ahaha, Aha, Aha, AHAHAHAHAHA

The latest Guardian poverty porn:

It makes me think back to the many times my children have gone without in order for us to put money on the electric; haven’t moaned (too loudly) at the thought of having fusilli twists with tomato and herb sauce for their dinner (again). I try to hide how bad things can be. All parents do.

But the children have seen me and my husband working, and working hard – struggling to scrape together enough money to keep going for another month. They’ve seen me crying down the phone to my mum, even though I try to hide in the bathroom, begging for £20 to put on the gas card, because it’s all been used again, and this week I’ve already put £25 on the damned thing, and my God, it has a mind of its own and it’s trying to bleed me dry!

They’ve seen me trying to make a meal out of three spring onions and a cup of rice. They’ve heard me talking to their dad, trying to work out a way to get through the next seven days with only £8.90 in my purse. (Spoiler alert – it can’t be done, however much I try. It won’t even cover the bus fare to school for my youngest daughter.)

OK. Terrible in fact. Shocking.

So, what is the job this woman does which leaves her children so destitute?

Kathleen Kerridge is an author of LGBT fantasy fiction, including the Searching for Eden series

Umm. Err:

Eden has never fit in. He hears words that have not been spoken, and can see flashes of futures that may never come to pass. Out of his time, place and comfort zone, Eden lives inside his head, constantly haunted by the idea that there is something else. Something more. Running from those who would harm him, Eden breaks through a Divide believed only in myth and stories, and finds himself in another realm—a place, he soon discovers, he should have been in all along. Finding friends, love and completion for the first time in his life, Eden starts to wake up to who he is and sets his feet firmly on a path he can never turn away from, with his tall beautiful warrior-elf lover always at his side Hunted by those who would have his power, trying to hide from evil, Eden finds himself running through the realms in the hope he can escape his fate, lead the future down a path that will not see the worlds destroyed, and will keep Khari safe from a past that is raising its head once more.

Fifteen quid in the self published paperback version.

And four pulps in 3 years isn’t exactly nose to the grindstone either.

81 thoughts on “Ahaha, Ahaha, Aha, Aha, AHAHAHAHAHA”

  1. By strange coincidence, saying my last night’s dinner was three spring onions and a cup of rice is not much of an exaggeration.

    Nor that the night before’s was pasta with tomatoes and herbs.

    Admittedly I am not making much effort this week.

  2. “They see, and they hear. Children are sponges. That they take notice is demonstrated in small, yet significant, ways.”

    Hopefully, in her kids deciding ‘Shit! I’m going to get a proper, well-paying job when I grow up’…

  3. Knowing Me, Knowing Steve: “Maybe she should share some of her food with the kids.”

    Blimey! She doesn’t look at all like someone who writes LGBT fantasy fiction for a ‘living’…

  4. From a successful author’s (slightly old) blog post on writing:

    “in the UK in 2004-05, median (typical) earnings for authors were £4000 a year, with mean earnings of £16,531”

    The mean is massively skewed from the median due to authors like Rowling and, at the time, Pratchett. In other words, the typical author earns only 20-25% of what they could get stacking shelves in the local supermarket.

    Logical conclusion: if you really worry about your kids having enough to eat, go get a proper job.

  5. So yet another Grauniad “I made bad lifestyle choices, I’m defiantly doubling down on these lifestyle choices, and it’s ALL SOMEONE ELSE’S FAULT, GIVE MEH TEH MONEYZ!” article then.

  6. allthegoodnamesaretaken

    From the comments:

    KathleenKerridge
    I also work as a book keeper and administrator for a decorating company, and in sales and revenue for a local theatre. I also freelance (as you see here) edit other author’s work, and write fiction in my spare time. I think five jobs is giving things a good old college try, don’t you? I work around 40 hours a week in employed hours and around another 20 on “that’s not a real job” stuff, which is what makes the difference between having decent food and heat and living on rice and being cold.

    and

    Hi there! No debt, as such, don’t smoke, drink at home maybe once or twice a week (if mum comes round & we share a bottle between 3 adults…)

    My biggest issue is rent. Pure and simple. My house isn’t even ‘expensive’ for my area (no, I can’t move. My mum is infirm and in sheltered housing and my family care for her). The rent is literally taking every penny of my husband’s wage (net pay after deductions – no, he’s not on minimum wage). I work as a book keeper and administrator, as well as in sales and revenue for a theatre in my city. In my ‘spare time’ I write, edit, and study for a BSc in health and social care.
    Sometimes, poverty is as simple as having to cope with the pressure of a landlord driven society, where a three bedroom house costs upwards of £1050.00 a month.

  7. They’ve seen me trying to make a meal out of three spring onions and a cup of rice.

    That’s what I ate last night, more or less. Add two mushrooms, half a carrot, three eggs, and some soy sauce and you have a Chinese stir-fry.

  8. Well Tim, you were asking what you could write about on your Forbes sabbatical. LGBT fantasy fitction; go for it Tim!!!

  9. to put money on the electric
    “on the electric” is code for “I’m authentic working class, me”;

    the thought of having fusilli twists
    not spag, fusilli twists, so not just working class but Guardian foodie working class with herbs;

    crying down the phone to my mum, even though I try to hide in the bathroom
    so that’s a mobile and I’m trying hard to imagine a battered old Nokia rather than an iPhone 7.

  10. Minimum wage full time is what, 14k? Which leaves net pay as 12,800, or 1066 per month.

    So yes, if you’re on MW and living in a pad that’s 1050 per month, all of that’s going on rent. But apparently he’s not on MW…

    But I can’t believe that a family in that situation isn’t lavished with tax credits or other benefits. Unless Mrs’s lifestyle choices have taken them out of eligibility, or they’re deemed to be living in a house way beyond their means.

    These stories always have maths that don’t add up.

  11. The photo is not of someone living on little rice and tomatoes and pasta at every meal. It’s just not.

    How much does hubby earn? He must have no job or a very poor one. And there is NOWHERE cheaper they can rent that is anywhere near her Mam? Do expensive districts often have sheltered housing in amongst the properties?

    Still doesn’t add up

  12. Minimum wage is just over £1,000 a month, which as she says all goes on rent. So they still have the other partner’s income, at least another £1,000. Council tax might be £150, gas & electric & water another £80 a month, travelling to & from work maybe £60 for one bus pass and £250 for a car for the other person, then food, etc.

    It’s tight, but it’s perfectly doable.

  13. Trying to think how our host could combine LGBT fantasy fiction with hard-nosed economics.

    As Samwise stared longingly into Frodo’s eyes, he couldn’t help but think about the scandium content of his precious ring.

  14. @ Andrew M

    that would involve moving Gollum to Ely, I assume, where Rocco could arrange some adult scenes in the dark with Polly Toynbee as Shelob.

  15. You may remember a similar case where some woman stood up on QT in Folkestone claiming she worked hard as a Beauty Therapists. I do my wife’s accounts and this woman gave her weekly turnover so I know pretty close to exactly how hard she worked (about 6-8 hours).

    Or the poor Colchester couple thrown out of their rental home in poverty. If you claim poverty, it’s not a good idea to allow your daughter to run a Facebook account documenting the travels of her teddy (and family)

    Oh and I nearly forgot this awesome BBC article from 5 years ago. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16812185 The bloke made the elementary mistake of listing what he actually spends his money on. The comments tear him apart. Still don’t know if the Beeboid who did this was just dumb or a hidden Tory.
    Or my favourite, the Liverpool couple who were made destitute by the “Bedroom Tax”. Unfortunately he had a Facebook account where you could see pictures of the 5 or 6 holidays, at least 2 abroad, in the last 2 years.

  16. “so that’s a mobile and I’m trying hard to imagine a battered old Nokia rather than an iPhone 7.”

    It’s a good test of financial intelligence. Almost without exception, people I know who claim poverty have an iPhone or similar expensive Samsung. Because it’s FREE (no you d*ckhead, the cost is built into the monthly rental)

    Of those I know who can afford it, precisely *one* has a new iPhone, one has a 2nd hand iPhone 5C, some have cheap Android phones and muggins buys his from China for a couple of beans. Net monthly expenditure on phones ; £10

    Some people do have iPhones for business reasons, so it’s not always a sign of wastefulness, idiocy or ego.

  17. In Guardianland, equality means me working my arse off for 60-70 hours a week, earning very good money because my skills are in demand, so that the state can take half of what I earn (or more) and give it to people who choose to either not work at all or play at work by performing work that has no value.

  18. Shouldn’t someone be complaining that an apparently hetrosexual female is writing male homosexual characters – this has to be some sort of appropriation or microagression surely (actually, I’d be quite happy about her doing that if her children were not apparently going hungry due to her choices).

  19. begging for £20 to put on the gas card, because it’s all been used again, and this week I’ve already put £25 on the damned thing

    So she’s spending >£1,300 a year on gas? I spend less than that with a 4-bed detached and an outdoor pool.

  20. So yet another Grauniad “I made bad lifestyle choices, I’m defiantly doubling down on these lifestyle choices, and it’s ALL SOMEONE ELSE’S FAULT, GIVE MEH TEH MONEYZ!” article then.

    All true and very well put, but let’s not overlook just how derivative the Searching For Eden appears to be. Just another entry in the politically correct sword and apocalypse pulp market. Choosing to be an author may or may not be a good idea; being an author of (at best) middling talent grinding out the same old stuff definitely is. Just ask Joe Gillis.

  21. Lest we forget… From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs was written by a man who preferred living as a mooch in poverty to working. Kathleen Kerridge would do well to draw the appropriate conclusion and learn a lesson from that fact.

  22. Chris, she spends less than half what I do. 3 bed semi with decent boiler and great insulation.
    The temperature in this house is currently 25C, central heating has been off since 10am and back on around 10 tonight. Set at 26C as its summer, later in the year its 28 or 29.

    This woman sounds like she needs to get a job. A temp job will give her £7.50 an hour and she probably won’t start paying tax on it until April, even then only a bit if she is full time.
    Even 10 hours a week temp work would give her an extra £75 a week.

    I’ve been where she is, there is help available from the likes of Stepchange charity (used to be CCCS). And can look at cheaper properties – a friend rents a 2 bed house for 2 adults and 3 kids, the kids get the upstairs bedrooms and the dining room has a bed in it for the adults. At a much cheaper cost than a 3 bed house.

  23. “KathleenKerridge
    I also work as a book keeper and administrator for a decorating company, and in sales and revenue for a local theatre. I also freelance (as you see here) edit other author’s work, and write fiction in my spare time”

    Sounds like a load of bollocks to me.

    “I also work as a book keeper and administrator for a decorating company”
    What sort of decorating company? A major contractor or one of her friends, fancies herself as an interior designer?
    I’ve run a decorating company employed half a dozen guys. The amount of book keeping & admin – wages, invoices, quotes, bills etc – added up to about 4 hours a week. Most of it you do on the fly. Never needed a book keeper/admin.
    “and in sales and revenue for a local theatre.”
    Local theatre’s a hobby. You’re stagestruck, you want to hang round your local theatre, you do this stuff for brownie points or at best pennies
    “I also freelance (as you see here) ”
    The Graun pays how much TimW?.
    “edit other author’s work,”
    They pay you how much? From what?
    “and write fiction in my spare time.”
    You sell much.? For how much?

    What I see there is a bunch of excuses for doing SFA. Not surprising she can’t feed your kids on it.
    Try getting a proper job.

  24. “What I see there is a bunch of excuses for doing SFA.”

    Can also be translated as “I do a butt ton of stuff for free that however sounds like it might be paid even though it isn’t. GIVE ME TEH MONEYZ”.

  25. @ Chris Miller
    Well said!
    It didn’t occur to me to look at that.
    [My gas bill is nearer £500 pa but I hate swimming and I have solar water heating panels]

  26. If you go to the Amazon page for her books and click on the five star reviewer names, strangely they give everything they review 5 stars.

    I’m not sure of the reason for this.

  27. ” The temperature in this house is currently 25C, central heating has been off since 10am and back on around 10 tonight. Set at 26C as its summer, later in the year its 28 or 29. ”

    Whaaaaa……:)

  28. “fusilli twists with tomato and herb sauce”

    What the F-ing F is that? Certainly nothing I ever encountered growing up as one of three boys of a divorced unemployed mother, well fed on good solid yorkshire bread and potatoes and free school meals.

  29. Strange how she can’t feed her kids with all those food banks around that the commenters on her article mention all the time.

  30. “where a three bedroom house costs upwards of £1050.00 a month.”
    COUGH SPLUTTER CHOKE!
    I let out my three-bedroom flat for £500.

  31. “Chris Miller

    [ugly fat bird is] spending >£1,300 a year on gas? I spend less than that with a 4-bed detached and an outdoor pool”

    Snap, Chris.

    24′ x 12′

    What boiler do you have? Mine’s a Jandy and it’s temperamental to say the least. Pilot light keeps going out and is a pain to get going again. Once the thing fires up, it’s OK so I keep humming and ha-ing over whether to replace it as I generally only bother to heart the pool if I have people coming over or during May and again in September.

  32. Bloke in Costa Rica

    One of my favourite meals is linguine aglio e oleo. A couple of cloves of garlic, some red pepper flakes, a small lump of parmesan, olive oil and pasta. The only expensive thing is the cheese, but it’s an ounce per person. Likewise, last night I had tagliatelle with prosciutto and orange. The prosciutto wasn’t that cheap, but I could have substituted ham and it would have been nearly as good. I buy linguine from the big box store at $10 for five kilos. And I don’t even need to economise.

  33. Martin:

    “The temperature in this house is currently 25C, central heating has been off since 10am and back on around 10 tonight. Set at 26C as its summer, later in the year its 28 or 29.”

    You cannot be serious!?!? 20C is more than comfortable even in winter, 25C is not at all comfortable even in winter. Turn your thermostat down man and put some clothes on!!

  34. She could work at McDonalds. Someone on here (I think, it might have been another blog) mentioned his daughter was working at Maccy Ds, which meant the opportunity to move her seniority to wherever she went to uni and basically always have something to fall back on. Eminently sensible.

    I worked there for a couple of shifts as a kid but hated it. Would have been sensible to stick with it but I always found work anyway, generally manual.

    Although it does occur to me that maybe this women is so deranged and stupid that a McDonalds manager would spend 5 minutes talking to her and think ‘It’s not worth the hassle’.

  35. “. . . fusilli twists with tomato and herb sauce . . .”

    Anybody who describes what is basically pasta with tomato sauce is someone who’s never experienced real money worries.

    Because those of us who have didn’t get fusili twists or tomato and herb sauce, we got cheap spaghetti noodles and Ragu. And we didn’t complain about it because *this month* mommy couldn’t afford her usual aspirational menu because the bill for central air ate up too much income – it was our standard, we didn’t have anything to compare it to for it to come out wanting.

  36. “KevinS
    August 31, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    Martin:

    “The temperature in this house is currently 25C, central heating has been off since 10am and back on around 10 tonight. Set at 26C as its summer, later in the year its 28 or 29.”

    You cannot be serious!?!? 20C is more than comfortable even in winter, 25C is not at all comfortable even in winter. Turn your thermostat down man and put some clothes on!!”

    Depends on what you’re used to I imagine. I have mine set to 80F/26C – but I live in a desert and it will get to 115F/46C today.

    20C would be painfully cold to me.

  37. From the article.

    “Raymond, a former educational software writer, has been jobless since 2001. His wife Katherine suffers from bipolar disorder with an anxiety disorder and is unable to work.

    Ray says: “The market for my skills dried up 10 years ago – there’s a total lack of work in my area of expertise.”

    So Ray, how about you, you know, RETRAIN. I mean, you’re an older dude, supposed to have some maturity, go get a job at a fast food restaurant – no skills beyond ‘can you shower daily and show up on time’ required. Ideally, with the maturity and ability to focus age brings and, you know, being hungry (after all, you’ve got 6 fething kids to feed you prick) you ought to be able to climb the ladder to a store management position in a few years.

    Also, that breakdown? 24 cans of lager a week? 200 cigarettes? Are we supposed to feel sorry for you when you spend all day drunk on the couch? Sky TV? Mobile*S*?

  38. @Aga,

    Interestingly when I was a student the 5kg bag of fusili was often the cheapest stuff going.
    And jars of ragu about 10x the price of bruised tomatoes which you could batch cook.

    One of Ray’s problems is that if he got a job earning less than about £30k a year, he would probably see a marginal taxation (benefit withdrawal) rate of >100%. I don’t think he’s stupid. Quite the opposite.

  39. 1. Maybe its just a cultural difference. Here, when I grew up (the 70’s), things like fusili were rare and not called ‘fusili’ but ‘macaroni’ (everything not spaghetti was macaroni). And making your own sauce probably would have been cheaper – but I don’t think she’s willing to do that much work.

    2. Oh, he’ll undoubtedly see a loss of money if he started working – but if you’re in that situation you can’t whine that that’s a reason why we should give you *more*.

    Or at least, whine that you shouldn’t get your bennies cut (which would reduce any potential loss of income if you did get a job, right? Which would make getting a job less of a painful decision) because you might not be able to afford a couple cans of lager and a pack of cigarettes a day.

  40. Ultimately, for Ray, he needs to stop complaining that he ‘can’t’ find work and just flat out admit that re-entering the workforce at the bottom of another career ladder would mean a short-to-medium term income loss that he’s not willing to gamble on.

    But then that eliminates the ‘poor me, I’m barely getting by’ narrative and moves it firmly into the ‘we’re paying these people too much money if laying about is more attractive than working’.

  41. perhaps if she had heard of contraception and didnt have 4 kids then things might be better. As she managed to get pregnant at 15 according to this article – https://authorsinterviews.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/here-is-my-interview-with-kathleen-kerridge/ perhaps we are not dealing with one of lifes great thinkers. The rest of the article is full of vacuous toss such as “love is love is love”( i suggest reading with a sick bucket to hand)
    If shes so hungry perhaps she can eat her dog

  42. It’s worth noting that both Martin and his wife are disabled. No, I do not know quite how, but the general idea that internal house temperatures should be high has been mentioned before.

  43. What a heartless lot you are.

    I know how this woman must feel.

    I am suffering from “swimming pool heater poverty” having to decide whether to replace my pool heater or buy a new car. I simply can’t afford to do both. Unless I sell some of my share portfolio, which I don’t want to do.

    I wonder if The Guardian would be interested in my harrowing story?

  44. Martin,

    > The temperature in this house is currently 25C, central heating has been off since 10am

    You’re taking the proverbial, right? Mine’s been off since April; and that’s with young kids in the house.

  45. @Martin, August 31, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    Chris, she spends less than half what I do. 3 bed semi with decent boiler and great insulation.
    The temperature in this house is currently 25C, central heating has been off since 10am and back on around 10 tonight. Set at 26C as its summer, later in the year its 28 or 29.

    That is excessively hot. So hot I would leave before an hour elapsed.

    15-20C is normal house, our thermostat is always at 14C

    Try wearing some clothes or even a bobble-hat

  46. She needs to lose the dog imv.

    Apart from that, there’s little she’s definitely doing wrong, and some day soon the G under new management will start to find genuinely tough cases. People being shafted by excessive council tax, high rents above the benefit thresholds frozen in 2013, and high rates of marginal tax, that sort of thing.

  47. “They’ve seen me trying to make a meal out of three spring onions and a cup of rice.”

    Replace rice with mashed potato and it’s Champ in NI. Frequent meal when I was a child.

    Cornflakes and milk is cheap and nutritious.

  48. Agamemnon,

    > So Ray, how about you, you know, RETRAIN

    > Or at least, [you shouldn’t] whine that you shouldn’t get your bennies cut

    The world seems divided into those who assume that the current situation is eternal, never worried about retraining or possible future benefit cuts; and those who assume that the current situation is ephemeral, and who therefore make multi-pronged efforts to maintain their standard of living.

  49. Paul,

    “It’s a good test of financial intelligence. Almost without exception, people I know who claim poverty have an iPhone or similar expensive Samsung. Because it’s FREE (no you d*ckhead, the cost is built into the monthly rental)

    Of those I know who can afford it, precisely *one* has a new iPhone, one has a 2nd hand iPhone 5C, some have cheap Android phones and muggins buys his from China for a couple of beans. Net monthly expenditure on phones ; £10

    Some people do have iPhones for business reasons, so it’s not always a sign of wastefulness, idiocy or ego.”

    I run a small business. I’m a nerd. I use a £150 Moto G4. The G5 is about £165.

    I’m not going to claim its as good as an iPhone, but it’s that level of phone is catching up really fast. It’s pretty much down to the camera now, and even with that, this is how it is now

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvJHdfx_nls

  50. Kevin, 20C long term would hospitalise me. Allergy to the cold. As in die if too cold. Can live with it for up to about 10 hours with increasing pain and increased risk.
    Putting clothes on is good, I do it often. Then when the clothes touch my skin they are passing on the heat around them. Hives, anaphylaxis, hospitalisation. Can go from the first to the third in around 20 minutes. I have to be lucky every time, like anyone else with an allergy I cope by restricting the instances its going to happen. If I’m not lucky or the ambulance is delayed, my wife gets to arrange my funeral.
    I prefer she didn’t.
    Those of us with a cold allergy always have hot houses compared to others, though also very well insulated. Heating could go down now and it would take till middle of tomorrow to drop below 20C in here.

    Basic ex council house with recent (5 years ago) boiler and good insulation. Only about £3500 a year gas bill. Previous boiler was a 25 year old back boiler behind the fire, that was over £5,000 a year gas 6 years ago.
    24C is about the minimum I can cope with for hours at a time without pain, not comfortable but cope. 26C is better and gives a small leeway in room temperature reduction.

    And the bills get paid.

    I like fusilli, we have it every few weeks. Can be less messy with spag bol than spaghetti is, we use it when we fancy a chance from potatoes, chips or rice. Usually in a casserole or something, it will go with most things.
    We can feed the two of us very well on under £50 a week if pushed, without repeating a meal in the same month and without going hungry. Been there done that.
    I cannot cook but I can prep food, tasty and good food can go together even on a budget.

  51. Pcar – must admit I have turned the heating back up to get people out of the house…. if expecting visitors I will turn it down to 25 for a time.
    Well, summer anyway.
    Winter that would be too cold.

  52. AndrewC said:
    “I am suffering from “swimming pool heater poverty” having to decide whether to replace my pool heater or buy a new car. … I wonder if The Guardian would be interested in my harrowing story?”

    Only if the swimming pool is the one at your second home in Tuscany.

  53. Her Facebook page is full of boiler plate idiot leftie shite mixed with I want, I want, I want.

    She uses her children to justify her greed and excuse her laziness.

  54. Not being members of the lefty offenderatti, I think we’ve missed the true outrage in this story. She is married with four children so appears to be a heterosexual, cisgendered individual. It is disgraceful that she should write LBGT fantasy when not being from this community. A clear case of cultural appropriation.

  55. Martin,

    24C is about the minimum I can cope with for hours at a time without pain, not comfortable but cope. 26C is better and gives a small leeway in room temperature reduction.

    And you manage to live in the UK? When can you ever go outside?

    Max temp up here, not too far beyond Castle Black, wasn’t far above 15C. Still August too.

  56. Martin
    I sympathise. I have problems when it gets too hot. Years ago I spent less than a week in Siberia in the summer and nearly passed out – two months in the winter and I was OK.

  57. “Raymond, a former educational software writer…unemployed since 2001…”

    I had a good entry-level and progressing job doing software development in the early 1990s, and then the work disappeared. After stints washing dishes and tuning TVs, I started again at the bottom in local government. That disappeared at the end of the noughties, so I started again at the bottom in IT support. Welcome to the real world.

  58. Bloke in Costa Rica

    jgh: I keep my skill set current by reading, reading, reading (and playing with code). The technologies I use today have almost no resemblance to those I was using in 2001. Right now I am working in Node.js, Flow and TypeScript. In the last six months I learnt Go, MongoDB and GraphQL and I’m currently getting to grips with React. I transitioned from MySQL to Postgres. I’m also learning DevOps stuff like Docker and AWS even though it’s not my core task. In 2001 I was writing C++ for apps and PHP for web dev. My boss admitted he wouldn’t have hired me if I hadn’t kept up to date, even with all the experience I have

  59. SE – I can cope for a few minutes to an hour outside well bundled up so long as have warmth to come back to. Just walked the dog a little while ago, wearing coat, scarf and fingerless gloves. Heating is back on, nice and warm here.

    There are plenty of warmer countries. With aircon inside buildings doing cold air. Plenty of cooler countries without aircon doing cold air.

  60. jgh – if he cannot find a job then he could create one.
    Unless affecting income from the state….
    Opportunity is easily found, though often dressed in overalls and looking like work.

  61. Yes, I’ve been coding for 30+ years. A couple of years ago I needed some interactivity on my website, so learned PHP. I needed some better back-end functionality on a couple of Wikis, so refreshed my SQL knowledge. Programming is programming is programming. You “drive a car”, you don’t “drive a Vauxhall Corsa”.

    The problem is is that a recruiter will look at what you’re currently being paid to do, and refuse to consider you for anything else. “You’re applying for a coding job? But you’re not currently doing a coding job.” Well, yes, Food. Costs. Money.

    Essentially they are telling you that you should refuse to do any paid job that isn’t your field of competance and ability, and stubbornly sit and starve instead. Like the lady in the article, in fact.

  62. Bloke in North Dorset

    Whatever happened to the old standby of beans on toast that we had when money was short? And my mother went out and got herself a job, on the ’60s when discrimination was rife.

    If there’s no evidence of her looking for real, paid, work then it’s hard to have any sympathy. It’s not like she’s been by passed by technology and needs transition relief.

  63. The problem with that bloke in North Wales is that he’s just a lazy cunt. The market for his skills “did not dry up” eleven years ago. He’s a computer programmer; how can any self-respecting “journalist” allow his statement to pass by unchallenged? He just takes a tiny sideways step into another area and gets another job.

    But of course he has never wanted one. He has discovered he can get the fags and the booze and sit on his arse all day without working. It isn’t the lifestyle which produces foreign holidays and a nice car, but he found it is perfectly acceptable when it doesn’t require having to actually work, so he chose it.

    Going public about how awful it all is really is taking the piss.

  64. As for this woman…Tim Newman’s blog regularly showcases ‘polyamorous’ nutters who have kids. The attitude is uniform – all use the kids to justify their own selfish decisions, projecting the most ridiculous opinions on them and flatly denying any harm will come to them from their parent’s selfish behaviour.

    So, “I’ll do what I want” and either deny the kids are harmed or if that is too hard use them as “human shields” to show how awful modern society is for not supporting your decision to supply the public with shite lesbian science fiction. But never, ever admit that you might be a selfish twat.

  65. @Agamammon
    Ray says: “The market for my skills dried up 10 years ago – there’s a total lack of work in my area of expertise.”
    So Ray, how about you, you know, RETRAIN

    He’s in one of the few fields where you can retrain for nothing if you have a computer + broadband, because there is shedloads of online free training, a fair chunk of which is provided by Microsoft et al to get people developing using their products.

  66. @Rob when I first read about this I couldn’t figure out whether the author was totally deluded or a sort of undercover Tory who’d sneaked an article through to make benefit recipients look bad.

    I can’t take seriously the idea that someone wouldn’t have noticed the expensive mobiles for everyone, Sky TV, cigarettes, 24 cans of lager a week (not much less than what I drink a year).

  67. @aga I take the point about recruiters, but it is possible to get yourself out there and noticed.

    You can work on open source projects, and create your own open source projects ; you can do short term contract stuff ; it’s poorly paid but it gets you noticed ; you can do voluntary work for charities and so on helping them with their IT.

  68. @Paul

    It was one of the funniest things I have ever read on the BBC. It is amazing that the journalist still pushed the victim narrative despite the mountain of evidence against it. Either they didn’t see it (unlikely) or they possessed the brassiest of brass necks.

  69. He’s like a mechanic who used to work on one particular make of car, and when they went bust ten years ago “the market dried up”.

    The reality is he found he could achieve about 80% of his lifestyle without having to lift a finger, and decided the lost 20% was enough.

  70. I have friends who have learnt to program and got jobs in the field. Self taught, found work themselves and progressed into full time decent pay jobs that they love.
    And people pay them for doing their hobby!

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