Thursday, 6 July 2017

Socialism learned in childhood.

I have been asked for clarification several times lately on my statement that I am a socialist.
People seem puzzled by this and by my explanation that I learned socialism as a child on my grandad's knee.
It is mostly true though I don't think he set out to determine my politics for the rest of my life!
As a small girl I was sent to live with my grandparents whilst my mum and dad were involved in the war effort.
Grandad was a Christian socialist and a Baptist. Every meal time I brought the big bible to the table where he read from it before we could eat!
He was also Welsh and retired. I spent much of my time being nursed by him as a very small girl.
He had a good voice and used to sing gently to me to lull me to sleep but he also told me stories.
The stories often were about his youth.
He had joined the general strike as a young man working in the mines.
During the strike the people in his village went hungry. It was hardest on the women he told me...with no money to buy food they had to forage....people died of starvation and individual stories of starving women and children broke his voice as he talked. I'm not sure he realised how much I was taking in....he just needed to talk.
When the strike was over the miners were locked out. Their jobs were no longer there for them. Once again the village starved.
Grandad walked to look for work along with several others...he walked from South Wales to Lancashire where he finally found work, married and had children. He was a happy man but but the memories were harsh and emotional.
As a very small girl I listened, sitting on his knee, his mole skin trousers.
The stories in detail have gone now but the anger, the sorrow, the injustice remains with me still.
I loved my grandad...and yes he taught me socialism but I don't for one moment believe that he knew
how much of his stories I understood.
The Christianity remains as well as the socialism! It's all his fault!

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