Letter sent to the Daily Telegraph (unpublished on this occasion)
Sent to MAHM – 5th August – from a grandfather from Dorset.
Once again today we have heard George Osborne trying to defend his child care policy, which discriminates against mothers who decide to stay at home to look after their children. The fundamental flaw in this policy is that it concerns the role or decision of the mother rather than what is best for the children.
Only the parents are in a position to establish the standards of behaviour, spot and encourage special talents, skills or interest and nurture the developing individual character of the children at a crucial formative stage of their lives. There is no ‘child-care’ arrangement that can provide a subsitute for this important contribution to our sociey, even with a taxpayer subsidy.
The spurious argument that getting mothers back into work will somehow ‘benefit the economy’ is pretty illogical when there are so many unemployed. The real long term benefits to the UK economy will come from improving the way we bring up and educate our children.
Where is the promised Conservative support for the traditional family and recognition of the sacrifices made by mothers who choose to stay at home to bring up their children and the value they bring to this vital work.
Mr P K
Letter to The Guardian
11th August 2013
Parenting is not just a lifetyle choice (published)
I couldn’t believe it when I eventually learned what the government has proposed for parents of under-fives (Report, 5th August). At first, I believed they were proposing a blanket voucher scheme to all parents to help with the not inconsiderable financial burdens of having a family – £5,464 in the bank before you even start, we are told. But no: it appears that this subsidy will only apply to working parents. Mothers who stay at home are told that this is their choice – a ‘lifetyle choice’ , like drinking or smoking.
Many studies have demonstrated that children who spend long hours in substitute care may develop behavioural problems and become more difficult to teach in school later on. The campaign group Mothers At Home Matter has argued strongly that most children are emotionally better off when cared for by a sensible parent or close relative. And why shouldn’t parents be free to exercise their choice of childcare – home or away – without this heavy social engineering? We have other freedoms in this country: freedom to worship (or not), freedom to educate our children as we see fit, freedom of speech etc. But the freedom to raise one’s own offspring is denied to all but the extremely wealthy.
People on modest to middle incomes have no option but to toe the party line and farm out what is most precious to them to strangers. I sincerely hope the Tories are trounced at the next election and that a fairer political party emerges. I have heard that in Germany – a more successful economy than ours, I gather – children stay at home till they are six, when they start school, and mothers by and large stay at home to raise them. If Germany manages it, why can’t we?
Letter to The Sunday Times (published)
6th June 2013
Minister has forgotten the value of caring
It is too simple for politicians and journalists to view work through the prism of gender equality and stark GDP figures (”Motherland”, News Review, last week). Does it not occur to Maria Miller, the equalities minister, that not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted?
Unfortunately the time and energy that a mother invests in her young family, than an active pensioner devotes to the community and that the middle-aged spend caring for elderly parents are of enormous value, but their contributions to society are overlooked because they are invisible to the exchequer.
If all these people were to be replaced by state-subsidised carers, more money would change hands, so GDP figures would be boosted, but it would not necessarily make society wealthier and happier.