So it seems that shoppers are abandoning Tesco in their droves. Which makes me a little sad, as I still remember the feeling of awe when I first visited their first Superstore in Essex in the 1980s. With a demanding job, life was busy, and the idea of being able to buy everything in the one place was very seductive.
For me it still is. The prices are still pretty good, and my local Tesco superstore has almost everything, including a pharmacy, which we seem to need regularly. I still shop there every week. But I go to other places too. And they all drive me demented me in different ways.
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I am one of those people that everyone loves to hate. A middle class pinko, a champagne socialist, a supporter of basic income. Yet I also believe in rewarding the talented, the hard workers, the entrepreneurs who take the risks, but without dismantling the safety net that should give everyone the chance to live a worthwhile life, no matter what happens to them and their loved ones.
I’m also a carer, but I don’t fit the public’s image of what a carer should be like, so there’s no group or party that represents me, or seems to care about the interests of my children. All we want now is a bit of support and the chance to live our lives quietly and free of fear. Fear of the future and what the Government will do next.
When you become a carer, everything changes. Not just your own life, but society’s expectations too. No matter what you were like before, you are immediately obliged to take on saintly qualities and become endlessly patient, loving, energetic, unselfish, undemanding and uncomplaining, with a beatific smile permanently plastered on your face. Don’t believe me? Look at the Carers of the Year Awards. Now obviously I have huge admiration for the winners, they really are saints, they manage the most challenging situations and care for the longest number of years. But what do these awards say to the rest of us?
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Do you have a parent in hospital?
A child in school?
A nephew with special needs?
An aunt with depression?
A friend who was burgled?
A neighbour who is homeless?
Tax cuts for you will reduce the help they desperately need. But apparently voters would prefer income tax cuts to improved public services. If you are currently choosing between putting food on the table or heating your home, then I can understand why that would be your priority, even though any increase in your income is likely to be quite small. But 44% of you?
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We’ll give you a pound for every mile you run, they said. With a slight snigger. After all I was far better known for partying than athletics. So it was with great satisfaction that I collected £13 from each of them. And handed a large cheque to a long forgotten charity.
Now there are requests for money every single day it seems. Some more successful than others. And the massive success of the Ice Bucket Challenge got me thinking about what makes me want to give to charity.
And what makes me vow never to donate:
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