BESTSELLING AUTHOR | COLUMNIST | TEACHER
Born and raised in Scotland - and still a Scot at heart - Manda has been, variously, a veterinary surgeon, veterinary anaesthetist, acupuncturist (people and animals), crime writer, columnist, blogger, economist - and author. In between, she teaches shamanic dreaming, creative writing and concept-based dog training.
COLUMNIST & TEACHER
Young ladies didn’t make relationships with each other.
I always hated being lied to. I hated it at school when we were told that young ladies didn’t cross their legs, or whistle, or get decent jobs… and certainly didn’t make relationships with each other. Screw being a young lady, then. I hated it in college when we were told that it was pointless to try to take care of farm animals because they were never worth the cost to the farmer. Screw farm practice. I’m not playing that kind of game. And recently, I have discovered how much I really, really hate it when politicians stand on platforms, on television, on talk shows and tell us a) that it’s all someone else’s fault and b) only they can fix it. Screw that.
Austerity is a con. It’s always been a con. And the suits selling it to us know it.
Particularly screw that when you’re telling me that government spending is the problem and that stopping it will fix everything. Honestly, do you think we’re made of gullible? Austerity is a con. It’s always been a con. If you read the awesome ‘Adults in the Room’ by Yanis Varoufakis, you’ll know that even the suits peddling it know it’s a con. So when smooth-faced liars like George Osborne or, more recently, Phillip Spread-Sheet Hammond, tell us that reducing the deficit is the only thing that matters in the economy… it does really bad things to my blood pressure.
But the personal is political. If I’m going to sit at home swearing, I may as well check out now, and I’m not planning to do that. Thing is that there are people who swallow the lies, which is almost as upsetting as hearing them in the first place. So two years ago, I set out to educate the entire country. I set up a conference in our local market town called ‘Breaking the Austerity Myth’ and thought that if I could only persuade the good denizens of England that they were being comprehensively sold a whopper, then the news would spread.
Kate Raworth’s book ‘Doughnut Economics’ will change the world.
What I didn’t take into account was that I’d become so completely impassioned by countering the massed fibbery, that I’d end up taking a masters degree in Sustainable Economics. Which was really one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever done. It was good to spend a year with a couple of dozen people who were committed to change. It was even more good to be at a college where the degree took as its starting point that the current system is broken and we need to find ways to fix it (we found lots: in a nutshell, local community action, when practiced as a mass movement, can change the world) – and what was completely beyond good was meeting Kate Raworth, who has to be one of the brightest people I’ve ever met, and whose book, Doughnut Economics takes apart all the old models of the economy and shows up the flaws that led to ‘austerity-think’ in the first place. If she doesn’t get a Nobel Prize for this, it’s because the neoliberals ganged up to stop it. But she will. Kate’s made it her life’s mission to educate the world. So if you do nothing else after you read this, go find her TED talk, or her talk to the Royal Society of Arts, or the panel discussion with Positive Money or anything else you can get to – and listen to her speak. Then get out, and change your part of the world.
I joined Momentum: because it can create a new politics for a new age.
Me, I joined the local Labour party. And Momentum. Because in these, we have vehicles for modern, lively, emotionally literate, engaged and engaging activism that also sees through the lies – of left and right – and that can create a new politics for the new millennium: a politics fit for a digital age, with the digital economy and the digital workplace: a politics for people as if they matter, not simply to enrich the tiny minority who pull the strings. It’s a bumpy ride and there’s a lot of projection going on – but when you see the difference between the truth on the ground and the lies that are spun in the press… it makes the work seem monumentally important. Truly, the world is at a crossroads and where we stand, each of us, may be all it takes to move the ship of state to a new trajectory.
Enough of the mixed metaphors. Politics matters now more than ever. If you care about anything, get involved.
Writing is an incredibly solitary occupation. It's always good to connect with people who share the same realities. So go on, get in touch...