Saturday 24 November 2012

“But…Parenting Isn’t Supposed To Be Hard Work, Surely..?”

The latest ‘Guardian’ attempt to whip up enthusiasm for a public-supported fight back against benefit cuts fails as miserably as the others:
Karen and Darren Millar live in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. They both work full-time, Karen as a family support worker and Darren as a computer programmer. They rent privately and have four children, aged between three and 16. Their gross family income is £44,000, including tax credits.
Ah. Right. And their beef?
Karen said:"People might think that four children is asking for trouble but we coped perfectly well until the coalition came in and began cutting away at the tax credit system at the same time as childcare costs increased."
Translation: ‘I could easily afford four kids when everyone else was paying, but now look what’s happened!’

Newsflash, Karen; that’s exactly why we’re cutting benefits!
"We don't have any disposable income any more. Every single penny we earn goes on the most basic necessities. If we're really lucky, we might have £20 left at the end of the month but that doesn't happen often. "
Oh, boo hoo! Hang on, where’s my tiny violin? I know it was around here somewhere…
"I try to make sure the children can have fresh fruit every day but there are occasions when I can't even afford that: they go without anything fresh at all maybe one week in four."
Really? I take it you don’t bother shopping around, or buying fruit that’s not absolutely perfect, then?

Still, as long as you aren't telling me you've got mobile phones and Sky t…

"We have the lowest possible tariffs on our phones, a no-frills Sky package so the children have a little bit to watch because we can't afford to take them out."
Blood pressure….RISING!
"It's very difficult to eat healthily if you don't have lots of money. There are loads of deals on ready meals and food high in fat but you very rarely see a deal with fresh or healthy food. We realised that our diet was making us all lethargic. The children were quieter and didn't have as much life in them. "
Well, hallelujah! They've seen the light!
"So last year, Darren and I completely changed the way we eat. We now cook everything from scratch. The change in our health is amazing: our skin and hair has improved, the children wake up better in the mornings and don't seem as grumpy or agitated. It's changed their attitude to school: they're making more of an effort with their work. Their attitude to their health has improved too: the 14-year-old has started doing exercise. The 16-year-old has started asking for fruit and vegetables. "
Amazing! But….wait. This is supposed to be a typical ‘Guardian’ whingefest, isn't it?
"But healthy eating carries a cost: our food bills have gone up by about £50 to £100 a month, although that's also due to food prices spiralling. "
Ah. Right. They want more money so they can parent their brood in the style to which they've become newly accustomed.
"It definitely makes us tempted to return to our old diet: when you can spend £4 on a deal that gives you a week of meals for one person, you wonder if it's worth all the effort. But then you see the health impact and you see that it is. "
Good. Get on with it then. No, you can’t have more money.

And no, it doesn't matter that you seem like a nice well educated family, with non-feral children with sensible names, rather than the usual demanding underclass feckless wasters with children whose names look like a particularly difficult to use handful of Scrabble tiles (some of these are coming up later today, though).

The simple fact is...I don't want to have to pay for you to breed. You want kids? Fine. Pay for them yourself.


Anonymous said...

What an unpleasant character you are!

John Tee said...

children with sensible names

You sure 'bout that? "Tia Gee and Yvie"?

John Tee said...

New definition of unpleasant: being unhappy about paying for other people to have Sky.

Umbongo said...

In a spirit of genuine inquiry, could somebody tell us exactly what "family support" (in the job description "family support worker") entails. I assume - although I might be mistaken - that, whatever it is, a "family support worker" position is funded directly or indirectly by the taxpayer (at a local authority or a fake charity).

In the real world I've been a "family support worker" since Mrs U and I had children. It seemed to me at the time that this was indeed a full-time job and a job I voluntarily entered into. However, it wasn't one that I looked to anyone else to undertake on my behalf, let alone compel somebody else to cough up hard-earned money by force of law to fund.

Anonymous said...

Fact is, we can no longer procreate without serious poverty and massive hassle.

I don't really begrudge people their kids at all, nor their measly tax breaks either, but to me the real problem is that normal, working people with 4 kids no longer can make it on their own.

What do you think the future of that reality is going to be?

John Pickworth said...

For once this is something we can blame on the politicians... not the causes exactly but more correctly that they are failing abysmally to tell the folks precisely the mess we're in.

I don't have the figures to hand nor, frankly, the economists skills to put them together but we're ALL in for a rude shock.

For almost a generation we've lived on what the country earns plus a large additional sum comprised of straight borrowing and offset spending. Those additional sums are disappearing but with the added burden we're going to have to pay some of them back, plus we're not exactly earning that much either. My guess is, as a country, we're looking at a 25-30% reduction in our collective living standards (about the level Greece has had to suffer thus far) except we're only part way along this path. In other words, you think its bad now? Just wait.

Anonymous said...


I think Mr Pickworth has a good point, when I was a nipper my father who had a good job used to keep an allotment. We had fresh vegetables, not difficult really is it. Oh yes and my father would now be classed as disabled so if a man with one leg can do it, so can people with two and teenage children to help.

Jim said...

+100 on what John Pickworth said. And it will be even worse than he says, because as well as all the debts we will have to service (and attempt to pay off) the demographics of the next couple of decades virtually guarantees that the State will have increasingly less amount of money to spend on top of that.

So we really are going to have to get used to the fact we are considerably poorer than we think we are.

The blame should be attached to a) the politicians who got us here, and b)the idiots who voted for all the free stuff at someone else's expense.

JuliaM said...

"What an unpleasant character you are!"

Oh, anon, you must have loved the next two posts, eh?

"You sure 'bout that? "Tia Gee and Yvie"?"

Sadly yes. I've got ones coming up that'll make those look like 'David' and 'Susan'!

"However, it wasn't one that I looked to anyone else to undertake on my behalf..."

Well, indeed.

"... but we're ALL in for a rude shock."

I fear you're right. Just how rude is the question.

JuliaM said...

"Oh yes and my father would now be classed as disabled so if a man with one leg can do it, so can people with two and teenage children to help."

*whines* But it's too hard !!