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A Motherly Red Mist

Posted by Deborah Courtnell

In Which Beloved Sister puts Vince Cable & The  Coalition Government on the Naughty Step

    Here is the News. The news today is that Beloved Sister made the news.
Beloved Sister put Vince Cable on the naughty step
Seeing Red

      In a series of social network moves so agile they would make a chess master's eyes water, Beloved Sister has taken the Business Secretary Vince Cable and the Coalition government to task. Well. Just a little bit.

     Yesterday, under her registered name of 'alfie2blue,' Beloved Sister took part in a question and answer session with Vince, hosted by the all powerful mumsnet website as a result of which she made it into the pages of The Daily Telegraph and The Daily Mail.

     Yes, Beloved Sister sent the Coalition government to the naughty step, for what she sees as cavalier and discriminatory policies towards mothers who opt to stay at home to raise their young children rather than go back to work and put the children into day care.

     Beloved Sister, mother of The Nephew and the Little Niece, had already written to her local MP Sir George Young to voice her displeasure about the removal of her child benefit.

     'He wrote right back and he fobbed me off but I accepted that,' she says, 'because I accept that we earn above the average family income of £25,000. What made  me see red was that David Cameron, having taken my child benefit money  away now plans on giving it to people earning £300,000 'because they want to get on.' '

     Beloved Sister is referring to government proposals in the recent budget to offer parents on joint incomes of up £300,000, tax free child care support worth £1,200 a year.

     As Beloved Sister made clear to Vince Cable, it was Prime Minister David Cameron's use of language which incensed her. Appearing on mumsnet as contributor 'alfie2blue', Beloved Sister wrote:

     'I am one of those 'stay at home mothers' the government seems to dislike so much. Do you think the government has been wise in their choice of language, talking about people who 'want to get on', with the implication that we have taken some easier option? You have turned off many of us stay at home mothers who feel they are doing the right thing for their families and have already suffered financially in giving up a salary to do so. I for one won't be voting for either of you at the next election.'

     As The Daily Telegraph reported, Vince Cable appeared to be in sympathy with ‘alfie2blue’ - aka The Beloved Sister. He offered no defence of the government's child care policies and attacked 'prejudice' against stay at home mothers:
      'I certainly don't share the prejudice against stay at home mums. I have married two. My late wife was an extremely talented historian with a PHD and a professional pianist who made a conscious decision to stay at home and work part time so she could spend more time with our children. It was difficult for her. Lots of frustrations, but she felt this was the right thing to do, and I tried to support her with childcare as best I could.'

     I've been well aware for some time now that mine is a family staffed by indomitable matriarchs and that, while I loiter and hide in my attic eyrie and daydream out of my deluxe Velux  Cabrio Balcony window, they are out there, marching about and writing to MP's and generally giving it stick.

     And I know that any one of the women in my extended family and there are plenty,  should she come face-to-face with a ducking-and-diving politician would give even the Rochdale pensioner Mrs Gillian Duffy a run for her money.
     The difficulty is finding the politicians in the first place. Because they’re a bit sneaky in a sort of rarefied ivory tower kind of a way. Oh, they like to put it about that they're out and about, but the truth is that most MP's prefer the closed staged environs of Westminster or the equally rarefied razzmatazz of the world stage.

     Even a set-to on a BBC sound stage with Jeremy Paxman or a reality TV show with maggots and passed over Radio 2 disc jockeys, can be preferable to the real world, where real people lurk, unrehearsed and unpredictable.

     With 35 local elections taking place across England today, David Cameron and his chums with their increasingly rum, back-of-a-postcard policies, seem  more out of touch than ever. Thank God and especially Tim Berners-Lee for the internet, for providing a platform from which the rest of us can be heard.



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