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Letters / Sharing is caring

THE OTHER day someone asked me why did I keep putting ‘sharing is caring’ on my posts? Someone else asked what was driving me to keep plugging away at austerity measures and pension injustice… about my going on about there being a ‘hostile environment towards those most vulnerable in our society’, about why I keep telling folk to get a pension forecast, and why I want better services for young and older alike in all quarters of the UK? (Pension protestors build up momentum at Tesco roundabout; SN, 17/02/2019).

Here’s why:

Imagine it’s nearly a hundred years ago. You are a little girl and you’re hungry and as we say ‘up north… it’s tea time..’ You’re given an egg, a boiled egg, and you sit down to enjoy your egg.  Your little sister is sat beside you and your little brother is there too.

Another egg is put on the table directly in front of your brother. You’re told to share the egg with your sister, you are hungry and you know your little sister is hungry too. You would like the whole egg, but you decide to share the egg … you don’t cut it in half, you cut off the top, the white bit and you eat that, and you give the rest of the egg to your little sister. Your brother has his egg to himself.

That little girl was my mum.

Fast-forward and you are a mum or a dad. You are a young person or an older person, and for one reason or another you have come to a point in your life where you have no egg…nothing. There is nothing for you to eat.

You may be ‘lucky’ and have a relative/friend or a neighbour who is kind and is able to help you, if they know of your situation. You may not have that sort of support, or indeed they are in a similar position as yourself. If you’re lucky there is a food bank near to where you live. You may get a food parcel as a result of the generosity of those folk who have ‘eggs to share’…

Here in Shetland we live in an amazingly beautiful place, and whilst there are folk with enough and more than enough – who are kind and generous and compassionate… we have a food bank and we have folk here who do not have an egg.

So for those who are bored with me going on about inequality, about austerity, about sharing and caring… I make no apologies. That ‘boiled egg’ is a reminder to me of that little girl all those years ago, who knew that sharing is caring.

Janet Ainsworth