Posts Tagged ‘Julianne Marriott’

Don’t judge my family

05/02/2013, 01:49:34 PM

by Julianne Marriott

It is a truth universally acknowledged by troublesome elements of the Conservative party that men and women should get married, especially if children are involved, and that same sex couples should not.

In an attempt to appease those resisting (and in some cases resigning from) the party’s direction of travel, the Tory leadership has pulled a marriage tax allowance out of the hat. They are, they say, sending a signal that they understand the value of commitment by recognising marriage (and civil partnershps) in the tax system.

However, Cameron and Osborne, while finding the image of a land of fantasy fifties families alluring, are not actually as out of touch with the public as many on the left like to think. They have no ideological commitment to a marriage tax allowance. They know that it is not the job of the government to judge commitment. They also know that this policy will not help those families that most need it. But they need to be seen to go through the motions to keep their party together to fight the next election.

So the rhetoric begins. (more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

The Sunday Review on Monday: the Olympic park

06/08/2012, 07:00:55 AM

by Julianne Marriot

A day out in the Olympic park is a bit like being at a brilliant blockbuster exhibition, but with a niggling feeling that you forgot to pick up the guide.

The 2.5 sq km (about the size of 350 football pitches) Olympic park is the backdrop for the business of the day; watching 15,000 people become Olympians and Paralympians. The legacy plan (or is that sustainability?) is that the athletes “inspire a generation” and the park grows into a world-class visitor destination.

In a reversal of history, à la Boyle, the turf here was laid, rather than rolled away. The dark satanic scrap yards were junked and pylons demolished. Meadows, waterways, frolicking ticket holders and “art and culture” were created.

For a park there’s a lot of hard surfacing, but the greenery goes a long way. It neutralises the functional concrete flyovers and the goods trains, cutting through the park, seem congruent, like being in the countryside and spotting a steam train in the distance. Near the Orbit, people bend down to touch the perfectly tousled luxurious grass and admire the regimented randomness of the banks of yellow gold flowers.

Massive screens are anchored into the de-canalised river Lea, watched by people sunbathing or sheltering under umbrellas on the sloping manicured lawns. In the far north of the park the “culture” on offer at the bandstand goes largely ignored. It could be because people aren’t here to see musicians, or these particular musicians, but many probably don’t know it exists. It’s a really secluded spot.

The determination to create a relaxed atmosphere, with a lack of officious “keep off the grass” signs and corridor monitors, allowed people to make little shortcuts through the wild flowers to reach the elevated Olympic rings. Crowd control barriers now corral the wild flowers. The non-interventionist approach is laudable, but trusting people to go the long way round seems naïve. A few extra paths and some gentle reminders may have stopped the destruction.

The narrow, but exuberant, strip of the 2012 gardens, opposite the aquatics centre, is divided into temperate regions. The signs are discreet, so discreet it’s unlikely that most people notice them or the concept.

Looming behind Gary’s shoulder, the blowsy, Marmite, 115m tall Orbit doesn’t need signposting, although it could perhaps do with explaining. RUN, by Monica Bonvicini is less ambiguous. The chunky, nine metre tall, mirrored letters can be seen across the park. But up close they’re subtle, with unexpected reflections that just a handful of people are playing with and capturing for prosperity.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Time for Labour to stand up for the hardest hit

11/05/2011, 11:30:38 AM

by Julianne Marriott

10,000 people are marching past Parliament now. If you were here, though, it would not be the march’s size that would catch your attention. Nor the distance; it will only really be a few hundred metres. Yet for many of those marching today, that short journey is more like a marathon.

And this march looks different too. It is slow. It includes lots of wheelchair users, people walking with sticks and others with guide dogs. Many are living with constant pain, on gruelling medication regimes, distressed by being in a crowd.

Scores of the walkers have fluctuating conditions, including cancer, dementia, arthritis and MS. Which means that many marchers can only be here because they are “having a good day”. Lots of people have a carer with them and wouldn’t have been able to come alone. They may have had to pay their carer, or they may be a family member, who’s had to take a day off work.

These 10,000 people are the hardest hit. Their incomes, independence and integrity are being systematically undermined. And today, a year to the day since that seven page initial agreement was signed, they have made a difficult and exhausting journey to Westminster to tell their story.

After the march, over a thousand people will queue for two hours to make their way into Westminster Hall. They hope that their MP will give them 15 minutes. And in that quarter of an hour they need to paint a picture of their lives now, and what effect of the welfare bill will have on them.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

The attack on DLA is part of a wider assault on the disabled

18/02/2011, 04:54:34 PM

by Julianne Marriott

23 people had left comments on Sally Bercow’s article about DLA by the time Uncut’s moderator went to bed last night. Far more than on any article on AV or even any of Dan Hodges’ controversial pronouncements. This is a real issue that will affect real people. Not other, far away people, but people sat right now at their computers (some using access technology) reading Uncut. People currently living with a disability, and the many more who will become disabled. And it’s an issue that Labour is totally ignoring.

Being disabled is an expensive business. Day in. Day out. Everyday tasks can cost money. Take the kinds of things that non-disabled people see as a minor chore: changing a light bulb, sorting out the junk mail from your bills and doing the shopping. Or, more fundamentally, getting dressed, washing yourself, feeding yourself. For many people with disabilities these are not tasks you can do without help. And often that help has to be paid for.

That’s what disability living allowance (DLA) is for: helping with the costs of being disabled. It certainly doesn’t meet all of the costs and, as Sally Bercow’s article states, it’s not means-tested, and you get it whether or not you work. There is no financial disincentive to work. (more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon