On Women and Work again

Having read my dad’s comments on the previous blog I think I need to clarify things a bit.

I have done both types of child rearing and I have to admit that I preferred the first one, going out to work; and I suppose that my remarks about the disparity in the manners of my two daughters implies that yes, Mavis’s social skills would have benefitted from her being raise by the same child minder Horace. Can you imagine though, how it would be if all children were effectively raised in the same way? For a start think of the beaurocracy necessary to lay down and enforce rules about how our children should behave. Should they keep their elbows in at the table, ask to be passed the ketchup, ask to leave the table? Should they pass the orange juice to the left or the right? Should they say ‘pardon me’ or should it be ‘excuse me’ when they burp, or should they be told off? There are so many individual rules in families.

Can you imagine OFSTED inspecting the environments of these little ones: are they colourful enough, are the toys politically correct and so on? This happens now but with all those extra small people – more pressure on public spending. Would we turn out a bunch of ‘behaviour clones’?

Just to explain the remarks in the previous blog, my arguments against most parents being expected to work are as follows:

1. We need people at home to help in the community (I thought this was the idea of the Big Society)

2. People should have the freedom to choose what is best for their circumstances

3. We already have thousands of free child minders – they’re called parents. Why put them into paid employment and train and pay others to do their job?

4. We don’t have enough jobs for those who want them. You could argue that all that extra childcare, legislative and beaurocratic work would provide employment for those getting their kids looked after. I don’t know, but I suspect the unemployment figures are not a simple as they look. Releasing so many people, unskilled or with out of date skills, onto the job market would not necessarily fill the new jobs created by the scheme. I wonder what the demographics of the dole queue are, the age, qualifications, gender, location and so on of the unemployed. Mostly unskilled and older, living in rural or former manufacturing areas I suspect, and the Danish minister wants to introduce a system that will very likely add to their numbers.

5. The individual nature of each family produces individual children. We may not always agree with the way others behave but the very fact that we all see things slightly differently encourages creativity, tolerance and individuality, and those are some of the mainstays of the British way of life.

6. Childcare provision, like public transport, hospitals and doctor services, would necessarily be provided according to the need of the many. I think that, as happens with the above services, people living in rural areas would end up driving miles to get their children to nursery. This would add to wear and tear on the roads, traffic congestion and (allegedly) global warming.

So no, I don’t agree with the Danish Minister for childcare.


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