Sent: Tuesday, 29 November 2011, 10:30
Subject: George Osborne: Mother’s Ruin?
As we face the onset of a new and undoubtedly more serious recession, with the Euro in crisis, and with industry and consumers facing soaring energy costs, readers will struggle to understand how, as part of his “long-awaited Autumn Statement”, Chancellor George Osborne hopes to lift us out of the economic doldrums by providing mothers of two-year-olds with free nursery places (‘Children aged two to get free place at nursery: Osborne unveils £650m plan to help young mothers back to work’, Telegraph, November 29, 2011).
You rightly describe Mr Osborne’s response to the crisis as “footling and irrelevant”; one might add, baffling. Are we to believe that what has been holding us back all these years is the fact that mothers of very young children have been prevented from doing paid work? Perhaps, then, we might see an even bigger economic miracle were the taxpayer to fund nursery care for newborn infants. Come to think of it, wasn’t Britain really great when women worked down the mine, carrying their babies on their backs? In these more enlightened times, perhaps such will probably be paid for looking after each other’s children, subsidised by the taxpayer. The Chancellor’s sums do not add up; there is no proof that subsidising nursery education so that mothers can perform low-paid part-time work will do anything other than subsidise employers looking for cheap flexible labour, while consigning their children to organised neglect by strangers.
These measures will not help men provide for their families, but the implication is that these children do not have fathers. Here we stray from economics into politics and social engineering; you point out that Mr Osborne is keen to appeal to the neglected women’s vote, while adding sotto voce something about this summer’s riots. We have had several years of New Labour hoeing the line – in a caring, sharing way of course – that preventing the poor and non-white from caring for their own children – if they insist on having them – will be better for them and for society; at the same time their economic and cultural policies undermined the traditional family, leading to the very disorder and lack of respect that they claimed to be trying to prevent. George Osborne should be trying to appeal to the neglected votes of the majority by priming the pump to create real jobs that will create real prosperity, not pursuing the failed policies of yesterday.
Sent by Ann Farmer