Below I describe my family with whom I shared the poverty of 1990s Britain. I commend all my children who, despite having had to do without so much, have maintained a determination to exist in this reprehensible society as best they can.
I met my wife at college. She is the daughter of a farmer. She is intelligent and well educated. She has kept house, raised a family and worked with me in my business. For most of our life together she has suffered from an illness which has made her unable to hold a job outside the home, and placed a difficult burden on the rest of the family. She has kept me going both when I was doing well and now in the depths of unemployment and deprivation.
Our daughter was born in 1971. She left school with 9 O-levels and took a secretarial course. She then worked for four years in the accounts departments of a well-known multinational and a merchant bank in the City of London. She saved her money to finance her 3-year degree course in History & English at the University of Surrey, Roehampton as a mature student. During her course, she spent a semester at the University of Lyon in France studying English Literature from the French point of view. Despite her degree, the only job she could get was as an accounts clerk at a small firm of architects. She stayed there for many years, saving her money. Then she moved to Spain to take a TEFL course. This, together with her degree, opened the doors for her to teach English just about anywhere in the world.
Our elder son was born in 1980. He is intelligent and scores well above average in most subjects including Maths and Science. But he has what are termed moderate learning difficulties, so he attended a special needs school. On leaving his special needs school he was accepted into the sixth form of one of the top high schools. There he progressed from having no educational certificates at all to GCSE Maths and English + an Intermediate level GNVQ in Business all within 2½ years. Then his troubles began.
Our younger son was born in 1982. He is academically gifted and hard-working. Throughout his schooling he regularly received merits and brought home letters of commendation from his prestigious high school. He got 9 GCSEs — an A*, 2 As, 3 Bs and 3 Cs followed by Maths, History and Geography at A-level. Then, despite the inevitable financial hardship of a poor student in early 21st century Britain, he went on to study Politics & Economics at University of London, Goldsmith's College.