Sunday, 10 May 2015

NEW New Labour

Tony Blair is saying the new New Labour must be for "ambition and aspiration" - but if the majority of people wish they were somewhere else, somewhere better, its like EVERYONE trying to get out via one small exit. There is going to be a big crushing problem.
The other words he uses are "compassion and care" - that's more like it, and is the USP for Labour supporters, as many Tories simply don't understand or indeed have either.
In general I don't imagine, like me, many Labour supporters are people driven by power, money, materialism and consumerism. That doesn't mean we don't appreciate good things, or that we are (all) on our uppers - it means that 'stuff' is not the be- all-and-end-all. Some of us may have plenty, it is just that we tend to be generous rather than greedy. Generous of mind, and money. Not money-grabbing, 'me, me, me!' types, who because of what we have, feel absolutely entitled to keep it ALL.
The impression I get is that for your average Tory, it doesn't matter whether their money was made through hard work by themselves, or inherited from others, back down the line, - it is THEIR BLOODY MONEY and they don't want to share it with 'scum like them' who (in their eyes) are a bunch of losers, lazy scroungers, who deserve to just stay down, and out. They are blind to vulnerability, misfortune, family breakdown, illness; difference from them.  If that is where ambition and aspiration lead, I most definitely don't want to go there. And if this is why all those people voted Tory, then I think that new New Labour need to make them see how damaging that sort of ambition is. The aspiration everyone is talking about new New Labour 'needing', needs to be turned into something that is about the many, and not the individual. Aspiration for a civilized and harmonious society. Aspiration for sharp intellect, and improved innovative education for young people. Aspiration for family values, where we stick together, and look after our nearest and dearest. An approach to life where people have a sense of generosity, a spirit of kindness, which amounts to holding out a hand to others to help them up, when they are down. Letting them in, when they are out.
I for one don't want to be part of a society in which a 'them and us' division is encouraged, based on stuff and money, power and success; where spending and 'getting more' is seen as the right and only way. Where global corporates dominate our every decision. And that is NOT meant to be anti business to all you Tories I can hear shouting 'FOUL!' - it is pro opportunity for ALL - a fair chance for individuals, groups of people, and businesses. How many small shops, and business ventures do you know who have been successfully able to rise above the relentless and ever present crashing waves of the 'big boys' - who have the power and money to biff anyone else off the agenda, if they so choose? How many can really survive to trade and make a proper living - one which can support a family? Yes, there will be some, and that is very good and totally positive. But there are certainly not enough.
So I hope that new New Labour will consider very carefully how they package and sell their new shiny version of 'ambition and aspiration'. And they don't forget their unique selling points - 'care and compassion' - otherwise the 'big boys' will have 'em again, and again and ...

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Tory peer offends as the press seize on the chance to spin another distraction to reality!

What a wonderful exercise in spin, obfuscation, and distraction. Some thoughtless woman who is a Tory peer opens her mouth about people not knowing how to cook - in the same week the Lords refuse to join forces with the Commons 'canteen', in case the Champagne isn't up to scratch. ...Oh dear, you really couldn't make it up, and even worse - she used to work in - yes, you've guessed it - PR.
The mischievous right wing press - who are actually a bit pissed off with the right wing - seize on their chance to be 'bitchy' as hell; and in the process wind up their left wing friends about 'how the poor can't cook'
Right, so - here is the truth of the matter, in my view. Very few people - rich, poor, (and if you still believe in that awful old thing called 'class') or of any 'class' still bother to cook. Because for over a generation we have all been seduced into buying expensive high profit 'convenience' foods from corporations who can make a much better margin on the pre-packaged 'shove it in the oven, and heat' sort of food, than they can by selling you a celeriac for a pound with which you have the basis for a wonderful tasty and nutritious soup, which will feed many, and with some fresh bread and butter, will also fill them up!
When you are busy, and working long hours - and haven't a clue about how to make a celeriac soup (look, my Microsoft dictionary doesn't even have the spelling of celeriac in it's bank of words and is underlining it red, as 'wrong'!!); you are hungry, the kids are hungry - you are probably going to buy something ten times more expensive, and ten times less nutritious from the supermarket. Fact.
Come the revolution - I want everyone to learn to make a decent stew; some tasty dumplings. Be reminded how to peel potatoes, chop veg; and do interesting things with fruit - I'll even be happy for them to add a bit of cream! Whip up some batter for a good old 'toad in the hole'. Learn to make a sauce - if I can, anyone can. Heck, to be encouraged to take up the challenge of buying the best, cheapest and more nutritious foods, or better still - grow them! As with many things which are sad and wrong today, Capitalism, Corporations and profit have an awful lot to answer for.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Probation in the new world of NPS and CRC

As anyone who works in a Probation Office will know, life has been pretty dire since the flotation of the idea - Transforming Rehabilitation. During 2013 the new world of Probation did indeed start to transform, at quite an alarming rate, with the sort of passion and verve of someone on a serious mission.
It felt to me like it was all definitely going to happen - regardless - under the very noses of the professionals who were frantically working flat out to keep their heads above water with the demanding workload, in the face of the funding cuts of recent times.
So here we are now. Imminently to be carved up into two brand new Probation services - NPS (National Probation Service), and CRC (Community Rehabilitation Companies). The staff from the old Probation Trusts have been assigned and 'sifted' to one side or the other, with some being given the chance to express a preference. My understanding is that like the cats' whiskers, around 8 out of 10 staff with a choice, went for the new Civil Service option - NPS. A relatively 'known quantity' from day one - a central-government run organisation, where all the most serious, notorious, and high risk offenders will be managed, along with the kudos of advising Courts on appropriate sentencing. And that left everyone else either assigned or sifted into the CRC - a temporary offering while the bids were submitted from a variety of prime providers to take on the newly 'privatised' Probation Contracts from the Ministry of Justice. Here, those big and mad enough to take them on, will be paid by results. Which I believe means that they get some of the money up front to manage the low and medium risk offenders inherited from the old trusts - along with all the newbies, ie. those offenders being released from prison, having served sentences of under 12 months. But that they only get the balance of the wonga, if that lot keep on the straight and narrow, and keep their noses clean for a certain period of time.
Explaining all this to my very clear-thinking husband this morning I rather feel he nailed it. "So, the NPS are going to be like 'community prison warders' monitoring serious and notorious offenders, not to mention, having to carry the can if things go badly wrong?". "And the CRC brigade, well, they are going to be the ones doing the original work of professionally trained probation officers and staff; working with people to rehabilitate them, to meet the requirement to stay out of trouble, so that the outfit they work for get paid in full?".
Put like that, and the fact that these changes now feel like they are a 'done deal - it does make me think, that the CRCs are going to be where more of the traditionally- understood probation work will be needed, along with the necessary professionally-trained staff to carry out the work.
I am not sure that accords with how anyone else is viewing this transformation - whatever their position and point of view in all this.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Parenting - to work, or not to work (outside the home)

Two years ago, I wrote the blog below, about looking after children - the costs, the choices, the attitudes, the issues. The recent budget made financial concessions, but only to those who have NOT chosen to stay home, and do the job themselves.

I have never been able to understand a woman who feels happy to argue that she needs to be able to continue with her 'career' outside the home, but thinks it fine to expect other woman to look after her child/ren, at a bargain-basement price.  OK, I know that is a controversial way of putting it, and it is a deliberately provocative way of describing a complex issue. Also, I don't think it matters whether it is a man or a woman (mother or father), or any other suitable adult who looks after a child, but the point is looking after a baby and/or young children (especially when yours!) is surely the most important job in the world? Some parents may even want to do it for themselves, given the choice.  I realise that is NOT every parent's choice, it is tremendously hard and demanding work done well; some would even admit, it can be quite boring - but I would hope that all parents at least recognise the patience, skill, not to mention endurance necessary to carry out the job well.

If you have a child, it is your responsibility to provide good care for him/her. If you choose to work, that is your choice, and it may, not surprisingly, cost a lot of money.  Also, some parents may not be the best people to care for their children for a whole variety of reasons, and in those cases good quality adequate support (whether financial or practical) should be available for the sake of the child.

Tax breaks and benefits should be accessible to enable one parent to choose full time parenting if they wish to. Shamefully the recent budget did NOT take account of those people. If both parents choose to work then my feeling is that they have to accept that good quality childcare is going to be expensive, after all it is a very important job, extremely hard work, doing what those parents have elected not to carry out themselves.

And finally, if people don't want to look after their own children, or pay for the price for someone else to take on that hugely important task, maybe best to choose not to go down the parenting route at all's a thought.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


Oh dear! Just when we all thought there was a chink of hope that the Banks were at last going to get it in the neck for a change - they get off scott-free! They really do seem to be untouchable.

Free banking (ie. no charges for current accounts) is an 'illusion' the banks like us to believe, but of course they have the use of our money - so they are benefiting hugely from their account holders who keep in the black. They aren't just being kind, and 'not charging' us anything for their services - indeed they are using our money all the time to their own ends!

At this rate people are going to end up putting their money under the mattress on a point of principle!

What people want is FAIRNESS.

Jane Andrews Absconds From Open Prison

It would seem that columnist Libby Brooks has been in contact with the murderer Jane Andrews. I am amazed that anyone would think it OK to write an article making unsubstantiated claims about a murder victim, those claims having been made by the murderer herself, who Libby Brooks, the article writer describes as borderline personality disorder.
Here is Libby Brook's article:

My Loudhayley comment to the article starting with a quote from Libby Brook's article is as follows:
"At the time of her trial, the headlines were unequivocal. Dubbed the "Fatal Attraction killer", she was portrayed as an unstable and emotionally manipulative individual"

Looks like she has manipulated you pretty well Libby!
I think your treatment of the deceased victim in your article is outrageous. Surely this man's family and friends have, and are still, suffering enough. Whatever Andrews' mental state - then or now - Cressman should be left to rest in peace.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Men should stay away from childbirth

The father of my children was present at their births. It was fine. He was fine. I was (relatively!) fine. But more important was that the same community midwife cared for me through both pregnancies, and turned up at the hospital to deliver my children at the crucial moment. If I had to rewind and choose between her and my husband being at the births - the midwife would win every time, she was brilliant, and most importantly gave me confidence!
There should be an increase in the community midwife programme, not cuts!