My latest Touching Base column is now online at the Wardman Wire. It deals with those creatures of political myth, the 'hard working family', and why the term doesn't do families any favours. Here's a snippet:
the ‘hard working families’ rhetoric is always used in economic debates. Outside this, families seem to barely exist, except when they’re trying to get their children into a local school. But what both of these are about is money: the better the child does at school, the more they’ll earn and the more tax they’ll pay, and Labour has been very keen to gear schools to the modern economy. At one level, that’s great, but at another you do have to wonder whether it’s being driven by childrens well-being (at an all-time low), or by £££££ signs.
Likewise the hard working family (lets call it the HWF) is first and foremost an economic unit. It’s not about love, companionship, raising children, building community, or any of that stuff, it’s about the money.
We had a government leaflet through our door a few months ago, which basically said ‘why stay at home looking after your kids when you could be out working - look at all the different people who are queueing up to take the little darlings off your hands!’ The overall message of the thing was ‘work = good, parenting your own children = bad’.
for the rest go here.