Sunday, 10 November 2013

Dear Mr Cameron

It feels wrong to be writing about someone in the third person when I obviously have such issues with them. Isn't there a saying somewhere about not saying behind someone's back what you wouldn't say to their face?

I've therefore decided to write this as an open letter to the Prime Minister. Prompted by seeing him/you on TV this evening, I don't think I will rest easy until I have got some of this off my chest.

And so - Dear Mr Cameron,

In a nutshell, I do not understand your policies, or to put it more simply, how you see this country and how it should be run.

Of course I do not have a degree in politics or economics. I didn't go to Eton or Oxbridge. So can you bear with me please and answer some of my questions. I genuinely want to understand what lies behind the decisions you make on a daily basis, and I worry that when you see the outcome of them you might be feeling a little ... bad?

As I write this I am watching the very end of the Festival of Remembrance. You look genuinely moved - who wouldn't? So you obviously care deeply about our service men and women and their families. I know that you lost a child with a severe disability, so you must understand the impact of such disability on family life.

My questions to you may well run into another blog post but for now I want to focus on two main issues - family life and disability benefits.

Disability benefits I know little of personally. But friends of mine who live with scoliosis - as I do - speak daily of the challenges they face. Working when you are in constant pain is difficult. Living allowances that enabled them to get out and about were a lifeline. Cutting these has diminished the life of many good people and prevented them from helping others - what is the good in that?

But don't get me started on family life! I am so very sick of hearing that women should be back at work after having a child. Childcare allowances encourage this. In other words - pay someone to look after your children. Oh - so looking after children is a job for which you can be paid? Why then is looking after your own children not considered a worthwhile occupation?

Of course if you are back in "the workplace" you may need to pay for a cleaner, or someone to do your ironing. These then are "jobs" - unless you are doing your own of course...

Working women have little time and may resort to ready meals - the regular consumption of which goes against government guidelines on healthy eating. But if you are to cook from scratch you need time, which if you are working at home is not paid for...

Children need to be hugged, touched, held, affirmed. But child minders and third parties are not permitted to do this. Surely there are benefits to mums - and dads - bringing up their own children, caring for and teaching them until they are old enough for school? Is it going too far to suggest that this might help with behavioural issues?

Has anyone ever thought that perhaps making it possible for mums to raise their own families - as a career choice - should be applauded and celebrated?

My children are older now, some having flown the nest. I am sure that you think I should be "out at work".

But my contribution to society, and to family life, is something I shall write about in my next letter to you. I would be interested in your response.

Yours sincerely

A M Other

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