Passionate about Health & Education (and feidup with the deficit)

Missed a blog post last night because I was trying to finish off my part-time work before I embark on a new full-time job, so another £1 in the Unicef pot.

I just spent an hour or so of my life watching Paxman’s interview with both Miliband and Cameron. I will be voting Labour in the elections so I found myself rooting for Ed and hoping Cameron’s rhetoric would be dismissed. While I believe Paxman gave Ed a far tougher ride than David, I believe Ed came across as genuinely passionate about making lives better in Britain, whereas David was tired, staid and maybe a bit too relaxed considering all his promises made at the last election were not met, in fact with some of them he did the complete opposite.

But aside from the EU, immigration and the bloomin deficit (I’m sure it’s always been there but it’s the new buzzword in the press and a good way for Tories to sugar up the bitter medicine of public sector cuts) I think that Labour’s pledge to protect spending in health and education is absolutely right. The Tories offer no such protection and that is not good enough.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

The battle of education…..and other passions

Emotions have been brewing in me all day. What is it about education that makes you want to drive your fist into a breeze block wall? I am beyond frustrated with my daughter’s school which is why my hand is sore and bruised! My husband does not want to launch into the problem when he returns from home. For me, currently at home, it is all I can think about.

Then, in the evening, a frustrating parish council meeting for all concerned raises tempers and emotions further on various issues relating to the village, both major and minor.

But if there is one thing that can be taken from stressful situations, its the reason why they are stressful in the first place, because you care. 

If care did not exist, passion would not be needed to drive through change. It is  the passion behind a cause that makes the world go round. 

This is often no consolation for those suffering the stress of an injustice, or frustration at a poor decision.

The test of an issue’s importance is to wait awhile, after tempers are subdued and if it still matters in the cold, harsh, sober light of day. Then do something about it.

In my case, I want to look at the possibility of changing schools. At least I have the luxury to do so because of our area and the schools on offer. It is about choosing a school where teachers truly believe in the phrase ‘Every Child Matters’. Is that possible under Gove’s hideous new curriculum?

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

The power of 1

My hubby and I (every time I begin a blog post in this way I feel like the Queen) were invited to our neighbour’s for a meal. This is a rare occurrence for us as we don’t consider ourselves to be the ‘dinner party type’ and tend to give off that vibe. It turned out to be really good, despite the age gap of the other neighbour’s who joined us. We got back late so hence the lack of blog post (£1 in the pot to UNICEF).

However, the conversation did stray onto politics and the older couple proudly announced they would be voting UKIP. I had my concerns when a few headlines from The Daily Mail were mentioned.

I have seen UKIP double decker buses twice in this area but nothing from The other parties. We live in a ‘blue’ area and the power of our vote is virtually useless. It is worrying that I feel like the minority wanting to shake my fist at the UKIP bus.

I said to my husband, ‘If UKIP get in we are getting out’. He asks, ‘But where would we go? I didn’t have a clue because at our age it is so difficult to move to another country. So after a while I opted for the Outer Hebrides, because at least up there Government would be diluted.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that……

This blog is for UNICEF.
Thanks for reading.

Politically driven voter apathy

The problem with local politics is that there is no-one under the age of 68 who is willing to be a councillor. I quote this from a district councillor. As a result some crazy decisions and utterances are heard, which often exclude the potential wishes of the younger generation and may lead to planning decisions that allow a higher than average number of John Lewis Stores to pop up in a small area. He believes the solution is for councillors to be paid to do their job then younger people may be interested. I am interested in local politics but I am paid a very small amount to fill a time of my life that will require more substantial compensation for my time once my son is old enough to go to School.

However, if you look around you (and you are under the age of 68) think what could have been achieved if people in power were more representative of the age group of the current and next generations? When you start to think about it, it is actually quite frightening.

The party politics system is flawed too. Those who have worked in local Government will ask you, come polling day, to vote for the person you believe has the right approach to tackling problems and creating new initiatives in your local area rather than the person who represents your favourite party – because chances are your favourite party may be represented locally by a complete muppet.

So when the politicians start moaning about voter apathy – is it any wonder?

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

Work not working out.

I spent 30 minutes of my life this morning listening to HMRC’s ‘on hold’ music. I’m a Mum so of course I was doing other things while the music was crackling through the phone’s loudspeaker, tipping poos out of a potty, answering the door to a courier, cleaning the kitchen. Typically when they finally answered I was speaking to someone else on the other line.

I dont know why I bothered. We are desperate to get into a circumstance where we qualify for help with childcare costs so that things arent so tight, particularly now hubby has had to take a paycut. However, nothing can be amended in advance of a change in income and, for some reason, because my new job is inly 10 hours a week, I dont qualify for help with childcare at all – I have to be working 16 hours. So thankfully I have a second job lined up although this is on a casual contract with no guarantee of hours. So I need to work out the ‘average’ hours over a four week period for the HMRC to take a decision.

So basically it is very difficult to earn and have children on low to average earnings. Would they rather I stayed at home and claimed JSA?

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

For the love of….

I love Oxfam’s ‘For the love of’ campaign to raise awareness of the need to take action now against climate change.

The flooding in India and Pakistan is the most recent example of the freak weather climate change can produce and the people that are most affected. Not only have the countries experienced significant loss of life, they have no land to farm, which is crucial to their livelihood and survival.

Unicef and Oxfam both state the biggest change we can make to those living in poverty is to preserve the environment. Bad or extreme weather directly hits families struggling to live off the land so if political leaders can wake up to this reality that we need to make significant changes now – then just imagine the effect world-wide on child mortality, health, food and getting people out of poverty?

So in this campaign, Oxfam is hoping to convince world-leaders when they meet later this month to make serious commitments to climate change through changes in policy.

To lend your support, Visit Oxfam and vote for what you love and why it is so important.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

Women and children first? Not under this Government

Kirstie Allsopp does know what she is talking about when it comes to women’s choices. Her advice about having children in your twenties (assuming you are in the right relationship) makes sense when we live in a society where women assume the role of the primary carer of children.

I went to university, got an education, then had children. I could arguably earn more money than my husband but it is very difficult for him to work his job around childcare – so whose job has to adjust? Mine of course. I have had to decline interviews for good jobs because it is  not possible for me to balance childcare, commuting and full-time working hours.

But what job exists that makes use of an education but fits in around school hours and term-time? Not many. So I would go a step further than Kirstie and say what is the point of University for women who intend to have children when they are older? There is of course another option, where both of us work full-time hours and we enjoy our children at weekends but neither of us earn enough to make those sacrifices worthwhile.

But even though I am lucky enough to have two healthy children, why do I feel cheated out of a career? Is it really that important? Why is the onus on us all to achieve and achieve (if Gove’s new KS1and KS2 curriculum is anything to go by). Why do all children need to count to 100 by 5 years? Why do Year 6 children have to know long division using traditional methods? What is the Government really trying to achieve by all this? You dont have to be brain of Britain to get on in life and you dont have to be intelligent to be happy or to be a good global and community citizen.

I heard my daughters school headmaster use the word ‘cramming’ when describing preparation of Year 5 pupils for their end of KS2 tests – tell me Mr Gove are you pleased your legacy is a stressed out 10 year old, trying to learn an equation in order to meet objectives and improve pisa rankings?

I worry our 5 -11 year olds are being set-up to fail in this new system and the failure will be that they never got the chance to enjoy the process of learning for fear of missing attainment targets.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

Need for Speed/escapism

Dont get me wrong, i like my ‘chick flicks’, but my favourite movie genre is action and, more specifically films with plenty of car chases and explosions…..and a big dose of vengeance….and maybe a political point made too.

I am a big fan of the Bourne films, I also like the Fast and Furious franchise and classics such as Bullitt.

So I was quite excited at the prospect of watching ‘Need for Speed’. It would have been a brilliant film, had they not used a woman with a fake English accent to play the damsel in distress (why do all Americans think we all sound like members of the Royal family) and a man with an uncontrollable eyebrow and a sore throat (deep husky voice) to play the wheelman.

It was a classic example of how poor casting can wreck a film.  

However what they lost in bad acting, they made up for in amaaazing cars.

It was a very welcome distraction from the mundane trials of life (such as the tax man, the f***** tax man, an even worse Government and the fact that despite weeks of good weather, the one weekend we choose to camp at a music festival the mother of all thunderstorms is forecast).

If we pretend we are a family of mud loving hippos, it might  still be an enjoyable experience.

This blog is for Unicef, a charity that exists to protect vulnerable children world-wide, including those in warzones such as Gaza.

Thanks for reading.  

An unproportionate reaction from Cameron and Obama

I cant think of any other conflict in history where the word ‘proportionate’ is used to justify a massacre.

Palestinian people are being oppressed and they are using terrorism as a final ditch attempt to buy freedom. It tends to happen (South Africa apartheid…..World War 2). Obama and Cameron seem to be chained into this illogical thinking that is at odds with mainstream public opinion. The answer is to free Palestine. Why have the Israelis got Cameron and Obama by the balls? Even the British media seem to work hard to ensure ‘balanced’ reporting, which appears to be more in favour of promoting the Israeli PR machine.

The Israeli bombardment is barbaric and wrong, international support (from people with brains and a conscience) is waning and pretty soon Cameron and Obama will be swimming 7up the river of political suicide floating on palestinian blood.

In contrast to the political lunatics, I was heartened to hear of the protests in London reported on the Huffington Post. Lets hope fighting stops and a peace deal is arranged before more vulnerable and innocent civilians lose their lives.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

The careers race – who will win?

My husband and I are engaging in a careers race. His body is broken and he needs to switch into the slow lane, my career has ground to a halt as most of you know thanks to the HMRC. But to get a job that makes childcare worthwhile, i need an experience level that i havent had the chance to attain. No wonder most women leave it til their forties before they have children, because then they at least stand half a chance of earning enough after childcare to make it worth their while (assuming they spent their twenties and thirties climbing the ladder). I spent my twenties and thirties in labour/toddler groups and voluntary roles  sandwiched between two dead-end jobs.

So when my husband eggs me on to go for the ‘big roles’ that I know i dont have a cat in hell’s chance of even getting to interview, i start to get frustrated by what is expected – Mum and career woman – aahh! I give it my best shot while cursing i wasnt born with a willy.

Then i moan at my husband for not focusing enough on his career change because of the continued effort to bring the pennies in – you cant really blame him for that can you?

All the while i wonder how many couples are going through the exact same issues and what, if anything, can be done about it?

At the moment we are taking the machine gun approach to job applications – a fast-track route to feeling rather shit about yourself rather quickly.

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.