It was twenty years ago today…

January 30, 2011 § 2 Comments

Later this year it’ll be twenty years since my Mum and Dad split up and, subsequently, divorced.

I’ll never forget that late Summer’s day, just a fortnight before I was due to start high school (great timing, dad) when my father came home late from a night shift, went upstairs to pack his things, came downstairs to where me and my Mum were sitting in the living room and told my mother he was leaving her.

He’d met someone else.

Though I tried to remain strong for my mum-as, by default, I was now ‘The Man’ of the house, and though I never let on to anyone at school what had happened (neither did my Mum-she later told me-until the first parent’s evening when she informed my Tutor, Mrs Boobyer…no sniggering, please…that she and my dad had split up…I’m chuffed to say my Tutor informed her that she would never have known and that I was a pleasant child and doing well in my school work), the split up was chewing me up deep inside.

I started wetting the bed due to my anxiety at what the future held for me and my family.

With Dad only paying the most basic maintenance and Mum not earning very much from her factory work, we also didn’t have much money.

But Mum wouldn’t let that stop me from following my dreams.

She encouraged me to go to the Church Lads’ and Church Girls’ Brigade twice a week and Hinckley Swimming Club twice a week (I was fit once, you know!?)

I did alright at school; not a star pupil, but not an underachiever either. I guess I was average.

I went to FE College and then on to Nottingham Trent University, from where I graduated in 2002 with a BA (Honours) in Broadcast Journalism.

This is a very truncated version of what happened to my family in the 90’s and early 00’s.

Back when Dad and Mum split up, separations let alone divorce-were not to be discussed in polite society.

Divorce, especially, was still pretty rare…well, compared with today anyway.

Though I always stayed in contact with my Dad, often more at my request than his, Mum was my rock and my guide.

A few years ago my Dad’s second wife sadly passed away and, at his time of greatest need, I felt it important to be there for him even though-to be frank-I felt like he hadn’t always been there for me.

Now, as my Mum and Dad are shortly to enter their 70’s, I realise just how much I love and owe them both, especially my Mum.

Me and Dad are now closer than ever before and he recently told me how proud he was that I was a Lib Dem Candidate in the up-coming local elections.

That meant a lot to me.

I never thought I’d write such a personal blogpost, even one which just skims the surface of the myriad of emotions I’ve felt down the years, but I felt it needed to be written.

Some people have levelled at me that, as a Lib Dem in 2011, I must be a yellow-Tory; a right-winger hiding in left-wing clothing.

That I, somehow, don’t know what it feels like to be struggling in modern Britain.

The truth is, I know too well. From my parents separation and divorce, to years of struggle, to finding some success as a radio reporter, to then being made redundant (in 2009) and facing a period of unemployment, before re-inventing myself as a community organiser and aspirant politician.

In many ways, despite the hardships, my life has been blessed.

For whatever has happened in my life,  my Mum has always been there…offering love and support and providing a safe, warm and (for the most part) happy home.

So, people, who use clichés and stereotypes to attack Lib Dems such as me need to realise, we know all too well what it’s like in the ‘real world,’ we live in it each day of our lives.

That is why I, for one, support a socially liberal agenda, that aids social mobility, that makes work pay, and that helps the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.

That is why, even with the tough choices and compromises, I support this Coalition Government.

I’ve come along way since that shy eleven year old, whose family faced an uncertain future, back in 1991.

I made it through the rain.

I believe this Government will help others walk from rain to sunshine too.

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