J.K.Rowling Writes “Single Mother’s Manifesto,” Criticizes British Conservative Party in The Times


Apr 14, 2010

Posted by John Admin

With the British General Election approaching on the 6th of May in the United Kingdom, J.K. Rowling has written an article in today’s Times relating her options on the British Conservative Party’s stance on single-parent families. In a critical look at some of the positions held by party leaders, the Harry Potter author asks whether the “nasty party” has really changed, as Conservative Party leader David Cameron says it has. In the article, Rowling particularly addresses the Conservative Party’s plans to give married couples and civil partners a £150 annual tax break and Cameron’s insistence that “it’s not the money, it’s the message.” Rowling writes:

Nobody who has ever experienced the reality of poverty could say “it’s not the
money, it’s the message”. When your flat has been broken into, and you
cannot afford a locksmith, it is the money. When you are two pence short of
a tin of baked beans, and your child is hungry, it is the money. When you
find yourself contemplating shoplifting to get nappies, it is the money. If
Mr Cameron’s only practical advice to women living in poverty, the sole
carers of their children, is “get married, and we’ll give you £150″, he
reveals himself to be completely ignorant of their true situation.

Rowling writes of how, following the 1993 break up of her first marriage, she “became a hate figure to a certain section of the
press, and a bogeyman to the Tory Government” for the supposed “easy life” she subsequently received along with state benefits and state-funded accommodation.

Whilst conceding that “[there] remains much more to be done” by the governing Labour party, Rowling stands firmly against the assumption that having “long since left single parenthood
for marriage and a nuclear family” she is a natural voter for the Tory (Conservative) party:

The 2010 election campaign, more than any other, has
underscored the continuing gulf between Tory values and my own. It is not
only that the renewed marginalisation of the single, the divorced and the
widowed brings back very bad memories. There has also been the revelation,
after ten years of prevarication on the subject, that Lord Ashcroft, deputy
chairman of the Conservatives, is non-domiciled for tax purposes.

Rowling goes on to discuss her reasons for remaining a domiciled taxpayer, centred on a sense of indebtedness to the British welfare state and a feeling that “it would have been contemptible to scarper for
the West Indies at the first sniff of a seven-figure royalty cheque.” The author finishes by directly countering the widespread Conservative advertising campaign: “I’ve never voted Tory before … and they keep on reminding me why.” You can read the article in full on the Times website at this link.

73 Responses to J.K.Rowling Writes “Single Mother’s Manifesto,” Criticizes British Conservative Party in The Times

Avatar ImageBrad Ausrotas says: Good for her. It's so much to her credit that even after the money she's pulled in, she still hasn't forgotten about her past, and where she was before she became as successful as she is. Kudos to her for continuing to take the right stance on the subject, rather than the stance that would most benefit her situation now.Avatar ImageMoose_Starr says: Way to go JKR standing up for what she believes in ... not that that's anything new with her. She is always speaking up for what she believes and, she does something about it. She is just so awesome.Avatar ImageJessSnape says: I am glad to hear that JKR still feels that she owes the state when they took care of her and Jessica. I wish more celebrities were like that, giving back more now that they can. It's not just single mothers who benefit from the state, it's the children (who didn't ask to be born into their situations) that need to help too!!Avatar ImageAvelina_Went says: Major credit to Jo for sticking her neck out for something important. Nice to hear from her again, especially on such a personal and politically urgent issue!Avatar Imageowanalilypotter says: I am so proud right now to call JK Rowling my favourtie author. The way she still stands out for what she believes in regardless of how rich and famous she is now is amazing. Good for you Jo! You're amazing!Avatar ImageToNkS_rip says: well im glad she cares. good for her. personally i was never into politics, but recently iv had no choice other than get a tiny, tiny bit into it. its great that she really stands for what she believes. thats wat its all about, after allAvatar ImageNumeroUnoFan says: Jo is too strong a woman to compromise her values GO JOAvatar ImageLucida says: Woo! Go JKR!Avatar Imagerosepug says: She speaks with such authority, clarity, intelligence, wit... I'm always overwhelmed by her awesomeness. She rocks.Avatar Imagemew5645 says: She rocks Avatar ImageWar Wizard says: Typical Liberal/socialistic views. If you are a hard working person, yes you will have up and downs. But that doesn't mean that someone else has to pay for you. I say BS. Most of you people here are liberals or want social programs anyways. Avatar Imagekatherine102678 says: She is entitled to her own opinion, but what they do in England is the same that they do in the US. People who are married get more tax breaks and benefits than single people. That is how the government is. Avatar ImageEvagirl says: You tell 'em JKR... as a social democrat I totally agree ;)Avatar ImageRoseann says: I totally agree with everything she is saying. Been there done that had to go days without eating so my kids could. things are better now that I am older and have a stale job and a good husband who even though can not work right now still keeps up with house hold chores and big part in raising the children 2 mine 2 his. But like Jo said it is not that easy and no one Parent or child should have to go hungry because the government can not get there headout of there butts and do something better for the country they help lead. I am all for helping other countries out that need it but when you have a homeless rate and proverty rate as high as the U.S. then matbe we should spend some of the money in our own countries before sending so much in others. Sorry about all that but I feel better. Boy I could go for a BUTTERBEER right now lol. ROARAvatar ImageDiamondWings says: i agree!!! Cool news!Avatar ImageBringItVoldy1222 says: Okay, I'm American, and the politics here are a little different, but... wow. My Uncle is a single dad. If he lived in the UK, I'd hate to see how he fared. That's awful. I'm raised in a mainly Conservative Christian family, but I'm what my family calls an Equalist Christian -- I'm a middle-of-the-roader when it comes to the political parties -- and I HATE when a party, any party, makes a completely unfair decision "in the interest of the people". Yeah. Right. Whatever. Not that they have to ask my opinion, I mean, I'm not even old enough to vote, but still... Just thought I'd make my opinion clear.Avatar ImageKimberlyZ says: Good! I agree to how she didnt forget what happened to her in the past and is putting it out there for people to get the message. and they make £150 look like it's a chance. Avatar ImageFilmGirl27 says: :D Go Jo Go!Avatar ImageI Heart Harry Potter says: JKR always standing for what's right. I love that woman <3Avatar ImageRhiannon da crazygirl says: I think she's totaly right, i can't vote but my Mother can't change her vote because she's a single parent and the government in charge at the moment gives her a certain amount of money and if the government changed to a certain different one, that would stop and we can't afford to not get that money - it's okay for the party leaders to give out messages when they live on so much more than minimum wage. I'll have to read all of her article.Avatar ImageFGFG says: Lol. Somebody over on MuggleNet "So this is what she's been writing!" :P I'm so glad Jo stands up for what she beleives in like this! Though, I don't know much about British politics Jo's writng still captivated me. JK Rowling is truly amazing! :D Avatar ImageGiant Squid says: Good for her to speak her mind!Avatar ImageSaskiaM says: This was brilliant. I wouldn't be surprised if she changed the outcome of the whole election.Avatar ImageNoble Birth Descending says: Bravo!Avatar ImageRhiannon da crazygirl says: I just read the article and it was really good but there were LOADS of hate comments afterwards! The people writing them seem to have decided that because she's now rich she has no right to comment on Party policy about single parent families - how wrong i think they are! She is a prime example of someone who our current system saved from rock bottom and allowed her to achieve the height of success! They are just jealous. GO JKR!Avatar ImageCatherine says: Most of what i want to say is GO JO!!!!!! because im so happy and proud that even though she has become who she is now, and the hard times have past, she still uses her experience to help those who are still in troubled times! and shes a strong woman with a lot of voice now who can help those with out one, and she uses that voice of hers!!!!Avatar Imagecheeserpleaser says: Yet again I am proud of J.K. Rowling for giving a voice, standing up for, and representing the voices of single-parent families and is able to speak from experience with regard to these families with both authority and wit. I hope that she does succeed in informing the public about the true nature of single-parent families and prevent any abusive or unjust laws from being passed in addition to those already in place.Avatar ImageShinyPineapple says: wow... she is truly amazing. not just an author, but a brilliant woman inside out:)Avatar ImageParkinsonpansy says: See this is why i like J.K Rowling she has a good head on her shoulders and even though she has accumlated a vast amount of money in the past few years she still doesnt forget what its like to be broke. Today it seems people have the idea that it is someone choice to be broke and that since it is their "choice" they can deal with it on their own and with politics in the US it seems more are making choices based on themselves vs. the people who are in need of this ex. the health care bill.Avatar Imagecghambright says: This article was brilliantly written. I'm not British, so I'm not up to date on UK politics, but I agree with JKR. No child should have to live in poverty. It makes no sense for a single mother to only be able to get a tax break if she's married. That needs to be changed ASAP. I grew up in a single parent home and it is not fun. No mother should have to struggle to feed her child.Avatar Imagenealiezealbie says: so, im from the US--and i dont really get a lot of the conservative (the tory party?) vs. um...the labour party? wow, um those names are a bit...odd, but okay--so i dont really get all of the UK political stuff, but i heartily agree with Jo's stance on single-parenting. i am a child (well, really im 18 but, anyway) of a single parent home. my parents divorced when i was eight years old, so for the greater part of my childhood i have lived under a single-mom home. i am very lucky in that my mom has held down a stable job all of my life. however, we are not living like kings, it seems like every government tax break or anything that could help us, cant. we seem to make literally just enough money to not qualify for most of government aid, so either we'd have to be poorer or my mom would have had to of stayed in an abusive relationship with my father. hmm. i dont like those options, government. like jo said, it is the money. this is, "for the greater good" all. over. again.Avatar Imageaccio_salmon says: She is awesome and so eloquent while sticking it to the Tories. Good on her!Avatar Imagekbicprez says: I’m a proud American liberal and I’m very happy to see JKR once again speaking out for those with so little power. LOVE YOU JKR! Avatar ImageRavenwing says: Its great that she cares still. I hope that never changes about her. Avatar ImageI love my Spectra Specs says: Way to go, Jo! :)Avatar Imageharrypotterfreak101 says: It is great that she finally spoke out against what she thought about the governement. I mean it's like the same in U.S.A, there they only give healthcare insurance to whoever can afford, in other words to the rich. Here it's the same in London, they only give you a break fron taxes if you can afford it or live in a civil family. They don't understand that there are other people that are starving and struggling to support their family.Avatar Imageharrypotterfreak101 says: It is great that she finally spoke out against what she thought about the governement. I mean it's like the same in U.S.A, there they only give healthcare insurance to whoever can afford, in other words to the rich. Here it's the same in London, they only give you a break fron taxes if you can afford it or live in a civil family. They don't understand that there are other people that are starving and struggling to support their family.Avatar Imagelunarmage says: Wow, JKR is really grounded and down-to-earth. I've always had a high opinion of her, but my respect for her has increased.Avatar ImageCatherine says: "Rowlinginit" i can see why she loved the simple surname potter so much, that must be annoying to be the raw end of a pun all the time....it was an excellent article!Avatar ImageCatherine says: i agree with you lunarmage!Avatar ImageFresca says: Jk Rowling is not only a great writer, she is an astute woman who has not forgotten her roots, and who has not caved in to expediency. She neatly exposed the hypocrisy of the Conservatives in Britain. There will always be poeple who need help through no fault of their own, and governments are there to help care for them, in my opinion. Charities can help too, but there needs to be centers where people can get job counselling, help with child care, and health care. No one has the right to complain about single parents unless they have walked in their footsteps. JK Rowling told it like it is, and very eloquently too.Avatar ImageGloria says: Well said, Jo! xAvatar Imagetinagin says: JK is not only eloquent but logical. What better person to represent this perspective than someone with her personal experience. Her experience is exceptional, but it is also a great example of why a government and society that has a system to support those who have fallen on hard times to help them pick themselves up again. Not only is it just so that they can survive, but in end be a contributing member of society. That is what extremist conservative who think of welfare as a "waste" because it just goes to people who don't contribute don't get. It is not just an idealogical issue, it is one of common decency. Good on ya Jo!!!Avatar ImageTassana Burrfoot says: You go, Jo! Avatar ImageHermione Elizabeth says: I agree with Jo! Glad she is speaking out on what she believes is right! Glad to hear from her too on such a personal level.Avatar ImageA Chocolate Frog says: This is why Jo Rowling is my greatest role model (aside from my parents and grandparents). It's not even the fact that I tend to lean towards the liberal side of politics, it's that she continues to care about the world around her when she could so easily slip into a little celebrity-bubble, that she cares about national politics for the good of the country even though it's at her own expense, and that she expresses herself so graciously and eloquently. Brava, Ms. Rowling, brava!Avatar ImageOh Neville says: What a brilliant editorial. Thank you for being so eloquent, Jo, and having the force of experience in your words! Avatar ImageFleur-de- Lily says: Cool news! Avatar Imagealicia00 says: coolAvatar Imagehereward says: I'm always interested to hear JKRs view on politics, and I know she is a strong supporter of the Labour party having made some large donations in the past. I am glad she makes the point about child poverty in the UK being shameful. After over 10 years of Labour, child poverty is on the INCREASE at the present time. And the gap between the rich and the poor is as great as it has ever been. If Labour has failed to deliver on its most basic principles in over ten years in government how does that bode for the future? It sill needs to do a lot more in my opinion. Avatar ImageSmitch says: She is a strong voice and advocate for people who struggle on the poverty line - especially single mothers and parents. So, she's a strong voice for MOST people. She is an articulate and intelligent voice for women, and I love that she challenges her government. Someone with her sway should take an active role in her society, and I love that she always has. She's got an influence over there. People listen to her, and I hope that really rocks the boat for positive change (or preventative measures, in their case). Way to go, Jo. We need more celebrities like you who are honest, forthcoming, genuine, and REAL. Avatar ImageWeetzie says: Rowling really is a great person!Avatar Imagejeannemcl says: Here in America the politics may be "a little different" but the message from conservatives is still the same. They believe that people who are getting government assistance are scum. Wake up, Britons!! Two words for you...George Bush! Don't let the likes of him happen to you!!Avatar Imagespiritbound says: Didn't think i could respect JK anymore but shows i was wrong. Proper genius. So proud to be such a huge fan of JK. Avatar ImageBeazle says: Love her books - detest her politics. If she wishes to make party political comments in support of one of the most incompetent and corrupt parties in western politics- so be it. I am a registered voter in the UK and as much as it is her right to express her political views, it is also mine to criticise them.Avatar Imagebluesox4113 says: Wow. Great op-ed piece by Jo, but the comments on it are getting pretty nasty.Avatar Imagegirlatty1 says: It's great that she still cares!Avatar ImageAlice Weasley says: Go Jo!! Even though I don't live in the UK, I was raised in a single-parent household, and I know how tough it is. I strongly applaud her efforts to fight for the rights of single parents in her country :)Avatar ImageLucia Meadows says: Jo eloquently presents her stance against the Tories, who apparently think that everyone who has money wants to keep it all to themselves. She has shown time and time again that her life is not all about money, but about how to use it.Avatar Imageskafkas says: This may not be a newsflash, but Jo Rowling can write!Avatar ImageMischief.Managed says: Way to go Jo!Avatar Imagex_Potter_Lover_Forever_x says: Yes!! I completed agree, with all she says and it is nice to see that just because she now has money, she hasn't forgotten what it is like to be poor. I really hate the idea of getting money, if you get maried. That is completely foolish, as if there isn't enough marriage breakdown's already. A lot of the time due to unhelpful circumstances. However, if you are really desperate for money you are going to marry somebody, who you might not of otherwise? And you're saying this is in the best interest of the people? Yeah. Right! Has anyone thought of the effects this might have on children in them twisted relationship. No, probably not, but the Tory's children live in a middle-class bubble. And the idea of poverty to them is a malnourised baby in the heart of Africa. Well, I'd look a bit closee to home. Sorry for my long rant. As you can tell I am a full Labour supporter, even if they have work to do. And I'm not even old enough to vote! Haha! :) Avatar Imagejhangelgurl says: Go Jo! I'm from America so I don't know much about about British politics, but I have known people that have come from single-parent familes and how hard it is. Goverment just suxs in my opinion. Avatar ImageLove is the greatest magic says: It's really nice to see that fame and money doesn't seem to have changed her. She knows what it was like to be poor and is sticking up for people who are still in that situation. God help us if the Tories get in. Good for you JKR!!!Avatar ImageProfessorCharms says: Go Jo!! :) I love to see that she is so passionate about these issues. Not only are there good messages in her books...she is fighting for equality and what is right in the "real world," too.Avatar ImageCatherine_R_Williams says: I feel this issue is most important and understand all too well. I am still a single parent myself and what Jo mentioned in her article touched my heart.Avatar ImageHelenaHogwarts says: Well done JK! You tell those MPs. I'm from England and I know what frauds those freaking tories are!Avatar ImageMadam Snape says: She's a brilliant writter and a person who's been through a lot on her life. She's very much aware of the stuff she's writting about and I admire her very much for that. It's great that she's choosing to be a part in this fight and that she's not afraid of putting a word out there, even if it's propably going to bring her a lot of "bad press" and headaches... 'cause as sure as hell it is going to. Way to go, J.K.!Avatar ImageLittle Light says: Jo, you rock.Avatar Imagereadthroughthenight says: Horay for the socialists!Avatar Imagethundermountain7 says: go jo, though i live in america, and BringItVoldyROAR is right politics are different my aunt is a newly single mother of two little kids i hate to see anything like that happenAvatar Imagethundermountain7 says: go jo, though i live in america, and BringItVoldyROAR is right politics are different my aunt is a newly single mother of two little kids i hate to see anything like that happenAvatar Imagethundermountain7 says: go jo, though i live in america, and BringItVoldyROAR is right politics are different my aunt is a newly single mother of two little kids i hate to see anything like that happen

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