With the current government’s tendency to want to divide people into sheep and goats – the ‘hardworking family’ or the ‘shirker’ (the latter previously known as the ‘undeserving poor’) – I find myself wondering which category I fit into, as a freelance writer and writing consultant who lives alone. Last night, for instance, I had a book review to finish for the FT. I duly finished it and sent it off to the editor at 3.00 a.m. Consequently, being tired and with no one else’s routines to consider, I decided not to set my alarm for (later) this morning, and didn’t get up until 9.00 a.m.
So, now, having had six hours’ sleep and filed my piece on time, can I claim the mantle of ‘hard-working family’? I feel as though I’ve been working fairly hard, but have to pass on the ‘family’ bit, as there’s only me. Or, as someone who wasn’t up with the lark, am I a ‘shirker’ in comparison with that hypothetical neighbour who ‘does the right thing’ and who will apparently be offended by my drawn curtains when s/he sets off for work at 7.00 a.m. (according to I-forget-which Tory chump a few months ago)? Fortunately my basement windows are not overlooked by anyone, and few of my Hoxton neighbours fit too easily into a government stereotype. So I don’t think I’ll worry about it too much.