and footballer Wayne Rooney has just signed a contract that will pay him £300,000 a week.
In 1811-16 this country came the closest it had ever come to revolution. A Tory government was crippling the country by paying for foreign wars and the excesses of those at the top of society.
Below is a section from my novel about preparation for a protest in Nottingham's Market Square about the plight of the stockingknitters, who were starving due to unemployment.
'Can we sacrifice one of our sheets?' Robert called from the bedroom. 'What should we use for the letters? Blacking?'
Lizzie considered for a moment. 'We could sew them, with pieces of waste cloth. The words might be clearer.'
Robert brought a sheet to the kitchen. He spread it out over the table.
'It's too big. Let's cut it lengthways, then a few of us can hold it in front.' He took a pair of shears, slit the sheet and tore it in half. Lizzie took one end and they laid it on the floor.
'This isn't how you usually spend Saturday night, is it?' She looked at Robert. He shook his head. Lizzie fetched the basket of discarded cloth. 'I'm glad you're not out gambling or drinking.'
Robert's face was serious. 'This is more worthwhile,' he said, drawing a deep breath. 'What's it to be then, God protect the trade?'
'No,' Lizzie decided, 'I can think of something that will be easier to sew in capitals.'
She found pieces of dark fabric and arranged letters on the sheet to spell out the slogan. Pinning them to the cloth, the twins took needles and thread and began to sew them from one side to the other.
G I V E U S B R E A D!
Once they had finished, they stepped away to admire their work. 'It's to the point,' she stated. Robert agreed.
'Rain before seven, fine before eleven. I've never believed that. How can it be? It can't be the same weather every time, can it?' Robert munched his porridge as a shower spattered against the window.
'I suppose not,' Lizzie said as she sliced the last of the loaf. She had to saw at it; the stale crust resisted the knife.
'Is there any cheese?' Robert asked with a look of doubt in his eyes.
'A tiny bit… I'll cut it fine so we can both have some.'
Lizzie placed the wafer thin slices of cheese between the bread, wrapped them in a cloth and tied string around the parcel. 'At least we'll have something to eat this afternoon,' she told him. 'Only parsnips left for supper.'
Robert groaned, 'Not again.'
'It's all we can afford,' Lizzie sighed.
'Is there no more garlic?'
'I had a look around in the churchyard, but all I could find was nettles.'
Robert grimaced: 'I keep dreaming about cakes and pastries, roast duck and green beans.' He leaned on his hands, resting his palms on his forehead. 'How is it fair? We work all the hours God sends and we have to survive on crusts and roots. It's like we're being punished for being alive.'
Lizzie sat next to him. She stroked his hair.
'That's what today is about. We shall make sure we are heard,' she sighed. 'Although, it'll mean missing Mass.'
Robert took Lizzie's hand. 'This is more important,' he said. 'Fraternité!'
'Fraternité!' Lizzie repeated.
Excerpt from 'Framed' by Christy Fearn. www.open-bks.com