Author Archives: Rachel Coleman Finch

Opinion: what living on benefits really means

Rachel writes:

Every time I hear the phrase “a life on benefits”, it’s like a slap in the face to my brother, who lives in my spare room while looking for a job. He’s not lazy or a scrounger, he just can’t find a job. As Sarah Teather said two weeks ago

the term “scroungers” has become so pervasive in social consciousness that even those on benefits do not attempt to debunk the entire category, only to excuse themselves from the label.

I asked my brother if he was willing to share what his life on benefits was like:

Jonny writes:

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 91 Comments

Opinion: Conference crèche keeps parent activists

A baby in a sling makes an amazing Conference icebreaker. Over the five days I lost count of the number of people who stopped to admire my darling and ask questions, to the point where occasionally I gave the answers without being asked (“11 weeks”, “Nicholas”, “no, not after the Leader, after his father’s uncle). During the day, when I wasn’t carrying him, I frequently got stopped and asked “where’s your baby?”

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Tagged | 5 Comments

Opinion: Schools should suit working parents

Like many parents of four-year-olds right now, I’m preparing for the big move to primary school this September. Our new school is doing a great job of easing the transition from nursery for our son; but as full-time working parents the difference between nursery and school is deeply stressful.

Nursery is run for working parents: open 8-6, three meals a day provided, flexible arrival and departure time, and one itemised monthly bill. School is very different: closed 14 weeks of the year, and finishing around 3pm the other 38. A whole mini-industry of breakfast clubs, after-school clubs, holiday clubs and summer schools has grown up to fill the gap for families who can’t have an adult at home so much of the time. Each one has its own waiting list, hours, costs, payment methods and reputation for quality … or not. Even school dinners are paid for separately. With less than 2 months to go, we’ve a lot of arrangements still to sort out.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 44 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMalcolm Todd 23rd Dec - 12:45am
    Stephen W I think you are confusing promises with predictions -- understandable, since both are usually expressed with the same tense. But the difference can...
  • User AvatarRichard Dean 23rd Dec - 12:28am
    Tim Hill, I'm glad you agree with my comment. The pictures could have come from a bygone age. Well pre-suffragette. It's almost Whitechapel (the series)....
  • User AvatarLittle Jackie Paper 23rd Dec - 12:14am
    Hugh - As you say, given the present fee arrangements an extended course is pretty unattractive now (even with a paid year), that applies across...
  • User Avatarmalc 22nd Dec - 11:57pm
    Tim Hill Your on! I think it's one of the hardest seats to call, but I fancy the Tories to take it. The RSPCA is...
  • User AvatarShaun Whitfield 22nd Dec - 11:55pm
    Nothing 'normal' about Sutton's schools - it appears to retain a selective grammar school system.
  • User AvatarTim Hill 22nd Dec - 11:37pm
    Malc - £ 50 donation to our chosen charity on the Sutton result ? I say Burstow will win. You don't . Whoever's wrong donates...
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