Posts Tagged ‘Liberal Democrats’

I was quite impressed with Nick Clegg’s showing on Woman’s Hour this lunchtime (listen on iplayer here). [Full disclosure: I am a life long Labour supporter, although they have been trying my patience for some time now, and have also failed to pay a whole lot of attention to party politics for the past few years.] Is he just telling me what I want to hear though? I am such a cynic.

Of interest to me as a primary school teacher, was the plan to divert monies from the Child Trust Fund (which gives every newborn £250 to invest until they are 18 ) to what the Lib Dems are calling the ‘pupil premium’ which would allow class sizes in infants school to be reduced to 20 (and possibly later to 15) or to increase the levels of 1:1 tuition. I think he is entirely correct when he says that the earliest years of a child’s education are the most crucial in determining their later success, both in terms of developing their basic skills but also their sense of self worth and confidence within school. As he says, ‘If you get [their early education] wrong, then you spend a lot of time trying to pick up the pieces later’.

Another part of his spiel was the Lib Dems’ declaration that they wish to change parental leave so that it may be shared by both parents, something that we were discussing on Laptop Mums here. It makes so much more sense that parents be able to choose which of them would take time off during the first 12 months of a child’s life and it pleased me greatly to hear him talking about this. He raised an interesting point that I had not considered which was that if it was the norm for parents of either gender to take portions of parental leave, it would lead to an erosion of the ‘stain of prejudice’ against working women by employers regarding their dual roles as parent and employee. It would certainly give families more flexibility to make childcare arrangements based on their individual circumstances without regard to gender. I do wish one of the parties would suggest tax breaks (or some other financial incentives) for parents who wish to quit working to stay home with their kids instead of forcing us back into the work place, but obviously asking too much there.

On a personal level, I liked Nick Clegg. I didn’t know much about him really although he did endear himself to me a few weeks ago by speaking out against Gina Ford’s childcare methods. In this interview he seemed eminently sensible and I liked the way he dealt with the usual badgering by the interviewer [How can you comment on state education when you were privately educated? Would you deny your own children a private education since you are so enamoured with the state system? FFS!]. How politicians don’t end up telling stupid journos to F off never ceases to amaze me.


Read Full Post »