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 | 43 Comments



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    ". I sense that increasing the tax threshold may have been the most important and popular." Doubtless the VAT hike that paid for it is...
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    The qualification for legislator should be election not how pleasant their company is. Nor should our elected representatives be undermined by an unelected, often deliberately...
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    @ George Potter, So, having lodged an ad hominem attack on Tony Greaves - you are either brave or foolhardy, I can't tell which -...
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    @Stevan Rose That would achieve nothing, it would keep on as it ever has as neither Labour or the Tories would seek to change it...