Thursday, 5 March 2015

Equality

A great many people in this country must have been appalled at the interview with the Indian rapist. It showed a complete disregard of women and place in society. At first the reaction would have been that in this country women have found their place alongside men. They are no longer seen as second class citizens.
This might be the case among certain parts of UK society but it is prevalent in all layers of society. I have heard from a few men especially those that see themselves as working class that a woman's place is in the home. They should leave school as soon as possible, work to provide income into the family home before getting married.

I approach this subject in my novel AN ORDINARY LIFE. At sixteen Tom mets Pat who is with his friend Derek and his girl friend. They discuss what takes place on the council estate close to where Tom lives.
 ' “ Look Tom, you are very naive when it comes to what goes on in the wider world,” Derek said with a grimace but with friendship in his voice. “ No don’t take offence, Tom. I am saying this as a friend. You live in a world where there is laughter and love. Your parents have tried to protect you from what happens out in the world outside your home. You and your brother both passed the eleven plus and went off to grammar school leaving this neighbourhood behind. Yes, I know you have kept friendly with me, Ray and Joe since going to school the other side of town but we do not see as much of each other as we used to when we went to the same school together. Lets face it, you live in a different world from the rest of us round here most of the time. Don’t get me wrong. I am not jealous of you but in some ways proud that somebody living on the wrong side of the tracks, like they say in American movies, is making a success of their lives.”
“ Me, I have to live with a father who beats his wife senseless every Friday night when he comes home drunk from the pub. A father who uses a strap on his children whenever he thinks they have been what he regards as disobedient. For as long as I can remember, he spends a lot of his dole money when he is not working on beer. Not only that but he has his way with his daughters. Why do you think Martha left home when she was sixteen and became a prostitute? To get away from my dad and what he was doing to her younger sisters. She challenged him to stop and all he did was laugh and beat her up.” Derek stopped speaking and stared off across the stream. Mavis was looking at him with concern while Pat showed no emotion.
“ Why didn’t you go to the police?” Tom asked innocently. He imagined that is what would happen in similar circumstances at his home or among his parent’s friends.
         Derek, and surprisingly to Tom, Pat laughed bitterly. It was Pat who answered. “Nobody goes to the police from where we come from. It is against the custom of the people living on our estate. Most people who live round where I live in the middle of that estate up there, hate the police. Well hate is too strong a word but they are suspicious of the police. They’re scared that if they call the police in for a small matter, the police will use that as an excuse to look further at what is happening on the estate and its surrounding area. As far as I know there are a lot of rogues living on our estate. Oh, not everybody is bent but a lot of people living there are. With the poverty and all, what else are they supposed to do? Most of those who are not bent will stick up for the other people on the estate, trying to sort out their problems between themselves. That is the obstacle to anything being done about family violence. Just like Derek’s, my dad used to beat us at the least little thing which upset him. We were lucky in that he did not try to interfere with my sister or me. He only stopped beating us last year when my uncle threatened to smash his head in if he did not show some regard for his family. Uncle Harry is even bigger and tougher than my dad. Dad has always worked so we have plenty of money to live on unlike some of the people. Did you know, I passed the eleven plus? My dad told me not to get ideas above my station. I would not go to grammar school because he could not afford to send me and, anyway, girls should leave school as soon as they were fifteen and go out to work to contribute to the household. It was not for girls to go to grammar school. One of these days, I will be free and then I will go to college."

AN ORDINARY LIFE by Edmund Gubbins available through Amazon. Money laundering is illegal. Even Tom Houseman knows that. He, as an academic, makes a distinction between helping somebody to set up legitimate business and the source of the money.
The novel follows the life of Tom Houseman. From his early childhood on the edge of a hard council estate to eminent Professor with a worldwide reputation and great wealth. The story explores the manner in which most people regard themselves as honest and law abiding although there are times and circumstances when they ignore the rules of behaviour or of some moral code. These people justify their actions by ignoring their conscience or making excuses for their behaviour. In extreme cases they give the impression that morality is not an issue in their case.
Tom Houseman has a boyhood friend called Derek from the council estate and, though their paths diverge after junior school, he stays loyal to his friend. Derek becomes the right hand man of the criminal Mr. Big and introduces Edward. During his life, Edward accepts opportunities presented by his friends and his brother. These enhance both his standing in society and his wealth. All the time, he ignores and denies the moral and legal implications of taking advantage of these offers. As time passes, he has to accept the implications of his choices.
Will he finally have to face these hard decisions or will he sail serenely on living, to him, this ordinary life?